Reader submitted question: where to spend the winter holiday?

Reader submitted question:

We are an Australian family of 3. Our teenage son (17) will be finishing high school late November 2012. We are hoping to travel overseas for approx. 3 weeks into December, possibly including Christmas. We are assuming that it will be the last time he will want to travel with ‘the oldies’!

It goes without saying that it is very hot at this time of year in Australia, and we are looking for a cooler end of year celebration for a change.

My questions are:

1. Can you suggest an affordable itinerary? We can all ski, but don’t want to make this the focus of entire holiday.

2. Perhaps Hawaii, then onto west coast USA/Cananda?

3. Hong Kong /China?

4. We have travelled Australia/New Zealand fairly intensively.

Sorry to be vague, just hoping you could recommend something wonderful at this time of year! I’m really not expecting anything really specific, just a quideline would be fantastic.

My answer:

If you enjoy celebrating Christmas, the Christmas markets in Germany (I went to the one in Munich) and elsewhere in Europe are pretty great. They are expensive but then so are the places you mentioned like Hawaii and Hong Kong. You’re also looking at a very long flight. And it won’t be cool, it’ll be freezing. We do have some winter in Germany stuff on the blog.

China could be a lot less expensive but I’ve only been there once and can’t recommend anything specific. I went for a hike but it would be terrible in December / January.

It’s hard to go wrong with Hawaii but you won’t have a white Christmas I don’t think. My wife really liked Kauai so you could read about her experiences here on this site. We also have this travel plan and possibly others.

I’ve been to Hong Kong only once as well. I don’t know how cool it gets there either. Also I would go back to Hong Kong but not for 3 weeks. I think I was there for 4 days and that seemed fine for me. Certainly it could be part of an Asian trip.

I found Tokyo surprisingly cheap except for the hotels. It gets cool or cold but not bad compared to a lot of other places. If you want to explore Asia, Korea is cold in the winter. While we have nothing as cool as the German Christmas markets, one advantage is that unlike Germany on Christmas day you can actually go out and do stuff. It’s kind of a date day so all the young couples go out shopping and such.

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  1. Sharon says:

    If you decide on the U.S., maybe fly into San Francisco for a few days, drive on to Sacramento about 1 1/2 hours away. Next, to Lake Tahoe for the scenery, some skiing, etc. Tahoe to Vancouver. They have a German Christmas market there from 24 Nov-24 Dec, which looks great, reasonable admisson @ $5. There should be enough to do in each place without rushing it.

  2. Wendy says:

    Thanks so much to James for his suggestion, and thanks too Sharon for your comment!

    The plan is starting to formulate at the moment and we are now thinking along the lines of Hawaii and a touch of the west coast of US/Canada. Something similar to your comment Sharon, so thanks for that.

    Maybe Vancouver first? a touch of skiing, then a week or so travelling to SanFran, then to Hawaii. around 3 weeks total. It will be early Dec. All help appreciated! It’s a long way off, but we need to start planning now. regards Wendy

  3. Sharon says:

    Drive from Vancouver to San Fran on I-5 or Hwy 101 (more scenic). There’s the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in SF too,25 Nov-18 Dec, which might be fun. Sounds like a great trip.

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