For many group travel leaders, the end of year holidays are something to look forward to every year. Be it Christmas, Hanukkah or New Years, to them it is a time for festivity and family togetherness. But for many of your travelers, the holidays can be lonely, a time of nostalgia, perhaps a time of heartache. And it might also be a time of exhaustion and frustration, when some say I do not want to go through all this again next year; I would like to get away from it all, all this shopping and commercialism.
So here is where you come in. Perhaps your tour program can provide not only a wonderful travel experience but can fill an emotional need, giving those folks who want a “family” to travel with at this important time of year. And for those who would love to experience the holiday scene but who don’t necessarily want to go away on the holiday itself, why not consider a pre-holiday trip, perhaps with shopping, or, consider a post-holiday New Year trip.
Southern California Holiday Travel
Certainly one of the most popular holiday trips is to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on New Years Day. Most such trips include, in addition to hotel accommodations and breakfasts, an introductory city tour of Los Angeles, Hollywood Walk of Fame, a New Years Eve party, perhaps a holiday show at one of the big theater playhouses and reserved seating along the parade route.
Mexico for the Holidays
A country that knows how to celebrate Christmas in a big way is Mexico! Nine days of it. Known as “Las Posadas”, the nine days before Christmas represent Mary and Joseph search for a room in Bethlehem. Local families and many hotels feature re-enactment of the search. No country decorates its streets and buildings for the holidays as does Mexico with canopies of lights on principal streets and with huge building and displays.
San Antonio Holiday Trips
If you have not taken your group to San Antonio, Texas recently, the holidays are a wonderful time to consider it. A riverside city, one of the highlights is the “Fiesta de las Luminarias” when Christmas carolers sing from barges and the Paseo del Rio (Riverwalk) is illuminated by thousands of candles. These festivities can be combined with visits to The Alamo, the colorful Mexican Marketplace, and the LBJ Ranch. Adding Fredericksburg, a nearby German settlement, can round out an interesting five-day package.
New York Christmas Vacation
If your group has not been to New York to see the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall with the world-famous Rockettes, perhaps now is the time to think of a future trip to the Big Apple. Browsing Fifth Avenue with its fabulous Christmas windows, watching the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center, and taking in a first run Broadway show can make for a fabulous package. Add an educational component like a visit to one of the city’s renowned museums and some of the best food in the world is found here.
Europe’s Romantic Christmas Markets
Certainly the “biggie” in terms of pre-Christmas holiday trips is the Romantic Road of Germany to visit the Christ kindle markets. These local outdoor markets go back to the Middle Ages in towns such at Rothenburg, Nuremberg, Augsburg, Munich and others. Operating only in December up to the 24th, the citizens throng to them in the evenings after work, shopping for local arts and crafts such as wooden toys, angels, gingerbread figures and more. Often caroling groups sing from the town hall balconies overlooking the square and merchants sell mugs of steaming hot mulled wine to ward off freezing winter temperatures.
Other ideas might include French (Eastern) Canada, a Lake Louise and Banff snowy package, or a London visit when the winter West End theatre season is at its best. In England you get an extra day, as the British celebrate Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) when it is customary to give boxes of food and goodies to the poor or to go visiting friends and family.