Joy to the World is only part of what really happens over Holidays. Holiday times create nostalgia for past friends and families. So if you do not want to be swathed in emotion this Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s, think about taking a trip. Go it alone or with friends but follow a few rules to avoid Holiday Blues.
The most obvious solution is to take an activity themed trip: cooking, painting, hiking, crafting. Activity means interaction with others keen on the same subjects. Examples: www.frenchescapade.com advertises painting, cooking and writing trips each with small group guarantees. www.craftcruises.com promotes knitting, crocheting, beading lessons on board ships. Although this writer is not familiar with either of these companies, they both seem to offer a diversionary way to travel. And the internet have many other activity-bound travels.
Go to a spa! Did you know that Holidays are usually low season for spas? Spas are friendly; exercise classes are group oriented, and the fact that you are wandering around in a robe, makes for easy friendships. For an affordable and female oriented spa, check out www.spamexico.com., Ixtapan Spa Hotel and Golf Resort . This spa offers discounts not surcharges even during Thanksgiving and Christmas periods.
River cruises make for easy solo travel. Why? Because the ship layout is cozy, public rooms and decks make for comfortable conversation areas. And dining the first night might be awkward, but during sightseeing and cocktail parties, you will meet people. Up market is www.vikingrivercruises.com, www.uniworld.com and www.avalonwaterways.com more 4 star. Singles beware: prices can be high if you are alone in the cabin, or can vary depending on when you call. And calling the actual cruise company is de rigeur, don’t just depend on web or brochure prices. Finally you are docked in the middle of towns giving you freedom you do not always have on large cruise ships at remote ports.
Combine a trip with a visit to a charity or cause. Say you are involved with schools at home. Do some research and have a visit to a school be part of your itinerary. This is especially fulfilling if you are visiting a poor area, but only give gifts you bring to the head of the school, not to the children directly. Similarly, connect with Rotary, AAUW abroad, or one of the many organizations that help women and girls’ overseas. Ask ahead of time what to bring, and make a firm appointment to visit the office or a project it supports. Remember trips to the non-Christian world mean everything will be open over Christmas: Morocco, Jordan, Israel, Far East etc.
Stay at a family owned B&B for the actual Holiday dates. Many will have friendly ways to celebrate with their guests. Googling: ‘B&B Stays over Christmas’ brings up a variety of opportunities. Most of which looked like great fun. www.food-mag.co.uk had a list of spas, hotels and other locations to spend Christmas.
If you stay at a chain hotel, book the Executive Floor. Over holidays, executive floors are harder to fill but often offer free food and drinks. Guests gather in the executive rooms on days like December 25, when the city is shut down. Before you go sign up for the hotel’s frequent guest promotions, so you have a membership number to leverage if asking for an upgrade to the executive floor. Business cities like New York, London, Paris etc will be more likely to upgrade you as business clientele do not travel at this time.
Finally bring small gifts with you to give out to hotel personnel who have been especially nice, to fellow travelers on your river cruise or tour. On Valentine’s Day in West Africa on a group tour, this writer gave tiny heart candies from Brachs to each member of the group. Lots of laughs, lots of appreciation and another way to say friendship and isn’t that what Holidays are about anyway?