If you are looking to spend the holidays away from home, there are cities all over the world that celebrate the holidays in their own special way - and in accordance with your budget! We rank these holiday locations in terms of cost, with the cost being an estimate for air travel and hotel accommodations (provided by orbitz.com) for a family of four, two adults and two children, flying out of Washington, DC, and spending five days and four nights with three-star or better lodging in the selected location. (To learn more, check out Travel Smart By Planning How You'll Pay.)
Las Vegas - $2,894
If you're looking for excitement, holidays in Vegas can provide some not-so traditional memories. The city known for its flashy lights and casino-lined streets, also has many holiday festivities with an international flare. Stop by the Venetian for a taste of Italy or Paris Las Vegas for a French-themed display. Las Vegas also has several malls and outlet centers which can come in handy for last-minute shopping.
New York City - $3,038The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and ice skating rink are some of the most famous holiday attractions in the world. New York City is also known for its department stores and their elaborate holiday window displays. If you visit New York City for the holidays, be sure to visit Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and Central Park for plenty of festive lights and celebrations.London - $4,372The city known around the world as "The Big Smoke," is sparking up for the holidays. Starting in early November, London's West End will host luminous displays of lights and decorations, as well as concerts and movie screenings. Caroling will also play a major part in this year's celebration. Londoners and the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir will band together in an attempt to set a new world record for the largest Christmas Carol sing-along.Amsterdam - $4,542If you would like to head to Europe, Amsterdam has plenty to offer holiday visitors. The Dutch holiday season traditionally spans from mid-November to early December, but several museums and businesses are open on Christmas Day, offering special concerts, meals and movie screenings. Some popular tourist attractions include the Christmas Square and Concertgebouw in the Museum quarter (Museumplein), as well as Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.Paris - $5,162Paris offers a fun-filled holiday backdrop for the family. In addition to the elaborate light displays, the city hosts several seasonal markets with specialty goods from all over France. Some well-known markets include the Christmas Market at Parvis de la Défense and Santa's Village at Saint-Sulpice.Rome - $5,290If you want more of a traditional Christmas celebration, then Rome may be an option for you. The Italian capital city's churches host a variety of Christmas celebrations, filled with beautiful decorations and religious ceremonies to commemorate the nativity. Points of interest in the "Eternal City" include the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum and St. Peter's Square.Sydney - $9,684 Looking to celebrate Christmas in the summer? Sydney, Australia can provide the warm weather and traditional celebrations. Due to the warm weather, many Australians celebrate the holiday outdoors, by camping or going to the beach. Sports fanatics can also enjoy the "Boxing Day Test" cricket match and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on December 26.
Tips for Planning
If you don't want to be home for Christmas, try to make your plans as early as possible. With international travel, give yourself plenty of time to make sure your travel documents are up to date. If they are not, you will need extra time and money to make them current. Not taking care of passports can cancel your trip before it gets off the ground.
Before you settle on a location, it is important to factor in other costs such as premiums for non-stop flights and extra luggage, as well as the cost of ground transportation, dining, entertainment, and last but not least, shopping! (Learn more in Vacation Savings Tips and Keep Holiday Debt From Snowballing.)