I’ve spent many Christmases away from home. The most memorial one’s probably include:
- spending most of the day on flights from New Zealand to India;
- to the first time I spent Christmas in Australia – in Sydney;
- many years later spending Christmas in the middle of the Nullabor Plain;
- Christmas Eve in Singapore before flying to Hanoi on Christmas Day
- snow in Ireland for Christmas – amazing to those of us who have Christmas in the summer!
Survival tips from someone who’s been there, down that
- don’t try to reproduce your Christmas with someone else’s – it’s a poor copy and it break your heart. As I worked in Australia as an undergraduate over the summer break, I often had well-meaning colleagues invite me to their homes for Christmas Day. The trouble is that Christmas in Australia and New Zealand are pretty similar and being with someone else’s family just made me miss mine more.
- don’t plan last minute travel, we nearly didn’t get to Ireland thanks to the flight disruptions across Europe in 2010. Plus it’s stressful and crowded and expensive.
- flying Xmas Day on the other hand is a delight, everyone is relaxed, there is often freebies to be had, and no one is worried about rushing anywhere for Christmas.
If you change hemispheres it’s lots easier. I was delighted to discover the Christmas lights and markets of Europe, I grew up with compulsory fake snow, so seeing outdoor manger scenes in the dark (it’s not dark until after 9pm at home), with real snow was an unexpected emotional moment. Equally I know Europeans find going to the beach on Christmas afternoon is strange, bizarre, but at least it doesn’t remind them of their own Christmas traditions!
The other thing to know about travelling at Christmas is, that flying is expensive. Flights normally go to full price early December and don’t drop again mid-January. The exception is sometimes flights that leave Christmas day.
Where would you like to see Christmas in next year? One of my dreams has been to make it to Vienna for Christmas. Although I enjoyed the Christmas markets in Berlin, I’ve heard that the Viennese Christmas markets are even better. Also accommodation is generally a lot cheaper than in the summer seasons, check out prices on sites like Venere you’ll find good deals compared to the warmer months.