Lisa Wakefield, Lecturer in Tourism and Spa looks at the pros and cons of staying at home or going on vacation during the Christmas holidays.
For many of us, there really is nowhere like home when Christmas comes around; decorating the Christmas tree, putting up home-made paper chains criss-crossing the living room ceiling and watching ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (again). The fairy lights twinkling a rainbow of colours and cuddling up with family in front of a real roaring fire, with a tin of, not a plastic box of, Quality Street. Ah the nostalgia.
Staycation or vacation?
It was time to spend Christmas somewhere new and so we spent several years holidaying at Centre Parcs at Whinfell Forest in Penrith, and the old fashioned Christmas magic returned. Although this time the film playing was The Polar Express and the crackling fire was in a modern fireplace. This was our home for the holidays, surrounded by hundreds of snow covered trees in the middle of the forest. We met the ‘real’ Father Christmas in a log cabin and watched the stars sparkling from our hot tub. Ah the escapism… but then our friends and family found us and discovered day passes. There was no escape.
Time for a change?
What could we do? Let’s go away next year …further away. A cruise? The Caribbean? Surely no-one will travel that far to see us for a couple of hours and, as far as we were aware, ‘Royal Caribbean’ didn’t do day passes. So we left the Christmas chaos at home and set off for Atlanta and then Costa Rica where we joined the ‘Adventure of the Seas’ and set sail.
Packing will be easy, all of your summer gear is already clean and waiting to be thrown in your suitcase. You won’t be needing that ridiculous Christmas jumper in the Caribbean. Swap the big freeze for a perfect warm, dry and breezy climate. You can’t beat some winter sunshine to totally unwind, relax and soak up some well deprived vitamin D. With more than 7,000 Caribbean islands to choose from, there’s one for every traveller. Whether you’re a thrill seeker, a romantic, or a history lover, those powdery white sandy beaches and turquoise waters provide a paradise island of adventure or tranquillity.
So the glossy travel magazines and papers may not tell you some of the cons, but why would they?
It is likely that there will be chaos at the airport with all those people rushing home for the holidays and delayed flights due to fog or snow. You could get bitten by mosquitos and I suppose there is the chance of hurricanes…
Hurricane Maria passed by in September shortly after Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Irma had wreaked havoc and destroyed many buildings; leaving complete devastation to many Caribbean islands.
The Caribbean locals are strong, resilient and they are used to hurricanes. Hurricane season can occur every year between June and November. It’s nothing new to the locals and while there may still be some cleaning up to do the best way to support and help the Caribbean get back on its feet is to continue to visit. There’s no better way to contribute to the health of an economy than by spending money where it’s needed most. After all it is the season for giving.
And so maybe travel delays can bring a little chaos to the airport but just think of all those shops at the airport to spend your hard earned Christmas bonus whilst you wait for the weather conditions to improve. Pick up some mosquito spray, have a little patience and you’ll soon be flying high and heading for that winter sunshine.
No place like home
So maybe there really is no place like home at Christmas. This year it’s definitely a staycation at home for me. Bring on the chaos, the family and friends, the last minute shopping and running around like a headless chicken!
I only have this stress up until Boxing Day and then I’m away to Scotland for New Year to celebrate Hogmanay in true Scottish style… now that will be a story worth telling.
Merry Christmas everyone!