Family Christmas away from home is an excellent way to bond with your loved ones and spread the cheer of the festive season. However, family holidays can be quite expensive during this time of the year.
Regardless of whether you are spending time in snow or on a tropical beach, a well-planned trip can help you create fun memories with your family without burning a hole in your pocket.
Here are five effective tips for an economical and a fun-filled family Christmas away from home.
1. Set a Christmas Budget and Stick to It
Celebrating Christmas with your family in a foreign destination is fun and exciting. However, planning a family holiday around this time of the year is often stressful as it can break your bank, possibly landing you in debts.
Creating a holiday budget and sticking to it can help alleviate your stress, avoiding the likelihood of reckless spending. Sit with your family and make a note of the travel, the transport, the accommodation, the shopping, and the entertainment expenditures. Determine a spending limit for each of these categories and track your expenses with respect to the budget sheet.
For instance, Christmas gifts can account for a large portion of your expenditures. A recent poll by Gallop revealed that Americans spend more than $752 on Christmas gifts. Shopping online for gifts and getting it delivered to your hotel can save you money as e-commerce websites offer festive discounts and free shipping benefits.
Setting a Christmas budget and monitoring your expenses will help you enjoy the festive season with your family while keeping your spend in control.
2. Book Your Travel Tickets and Stay in Advance
Christmas is the best time of the year, but unfortunately the busiest, the costliest, and the most stressful season for domestic and international travelers.
Technology is enabling travelers to plan ahead of time to find the best deals, reducing the overall travel and stay expenditures. Several flight-booking websites and applications, help you adjust the destination, the travel dates, the time slots, and the number of stopovers to find the most suitable and economical travel deal.
Family Christmas away from home means you will probably require larger transport and accommodation options. Consequently, planning and booking your travel tickets and stay in advance can help you get the best out of your vacation on a shoe-string budget. The rule of thumb for stress-free and low-cost travel is to begin your trip mid-week (from Tuesday to Thursday) as these days are the cheapest to travel.
Booking a stay slightly away from the city center can save you money and get you good deals or upgrades. A quieter day of the week and a less-crowded location means lesser people competing to get a better room with a good view.
Services such as Airbnb offer comfortable holiday rental accommodations in almost every city across the globe, providing amenities and space at incredibly low rates compared to hotels.
3. Make Christmas Eve Extra-Special
Sticking with a few family traditions on Christmas Eve away from home can make the occasion special for you and your loved ones especially when homesickness is likely to set in. Though preparing a Christmas dinner when on a holiday is not a cakewalk, try to make the day special by making simple festive treats for your loved ones.
Family traditions such as enjoying the Christmas Eve together with mulled wine, a roasted turkey, and gift exchanges keep the spirit of the festive season alive. A holiday rental can offer you the basic amenities required to make a special meal for your loved ones. If your recipe demands unique ingredients that you suspect may not be available in the destination city, it is wise to carry them with you.
A traditional festive family dinner at your holiday resort or a local bistro near your hotel can prove to be expensive. If you wish to take your family out to a local restaurant that is offering a special Christmas menu, remember to book your table in advance to avoid last-minute anxiety. Look for discount coupons on meals and entertainment venues using deal-of-the-day websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial.
A few credit cards offer special perks such as discounts at selected airport lounges and eateries, priority boarding, waived extra-baggage fees, and low-priced medical and travel insurance. Talk to your credit card company for travel perks, helping you enjoy the Christmas holiday trip with your family.
4. Embrace the Local Traditions
Christmas is celebrated with a local twist in most places around the globe. For instance, Latin Americans celebrate it with vibrant street parades while Australians enjoy their beach-side barbeques. On the other hand, Icelanders exchange books on Christmas Eve and spend the night reading them and eating home-made chocolates.
Regardless of whether you are traveling to an international or a domestic destination, use this vacation as an opportunity to explore and learn how the locals celebrate Christmas. Participating in the local festivities, visiting a few Christmas fairs, and attending a neighborhood church service will enhance your travel experience, making it a truly memorable experience for you and your loved ones.
Wandering through Christmas fair stalls is fun and inexpensive as they offer a variety of merchandise and pocket-friendly meals for your entire family. For instance, if you and your family are planning to celebrate Christmas in Europe, visit a few festive trade fairs that will give you a peek into the local cuisine, the culture, and the traditions.
5. Plan a Few Christmas Activities for Kids
Regardless of the destination you choose many restaurants and tourist destinations are likely to remain closed on Christmas day. Engaging kids in various activities can keep them entertained while passing the tradition of Christmas to the next generation.
Unwrapping gifts can be quite thrilling for everyone. Ask your kids to wrap all small items such as candy sticks, chocolates, cookies, marshmallows, and mason jars filled with goodies. These activities do not cost much yet your family will love it when they open up little surprises throughout the Christmas week.
When living in your holiday accommodation invest in a few pocket-friendly activities that such as creating nativity scenes, decorating a gingerbread house, wearing Santa hats, and playing Christmas carols. If you are headed to a beach destination encourage kids to use shells to create colorful Christmas ornaments as substitutes for baubles and trinkets.
Celebrating Christmas with your family away from home on a shoestring budget isn’t easy, especially when you do not want to compromise on the quality. A little smart planning using the above-mentioned tips can go a long way in making this festive season special and memorable for you and your loved ones.