Travelling at Christmas

Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - December 8, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Christmas is mostly thought of as a time for the family to gather at home.

Traveling during the holidays is not a very popular idea.

The common ideal is that Christmas is one good chance in the year when people just stay put at home and relax and bond together.

Some families, though, choose to travel over the holidays, or they just need to.  For them, Christmastime looks like the perfect time to travel since most of the family is off from school and work. Well, some people also have to make the trip where the family is, to go back home where they come from.

All right, for families that have the means, travelling at Christmas for a vacation in a new place is a fun and merry way to celebrate the season.  Especially so if it’s a small family; say, the parents and three kids at the most. The cost of travelling for a family of five, no matter how much it amounts to, is sure to be really worth it – bonding together in unfamiliar environments can bring a different kind of closeness among family members.  

With Filipinos, going home for the long holidays is a widespread practice. People go home for their town fiesta or for an uncle’s birthday, or for anything.  More so at Christmas, Filipinos across the country or anywhere in the world try to beat the passenger congestion and the long trip just to be with dear family.

The trip home is not much of a challenge, since one is merely returning to familiar environment. In fact, that’s the main motivation – to be with warm, beloved company of hometown family and friends. On the other hand, going somewhere new to enjoy changed surroundings requires good preparation (apart from money for the expectable expenses).

The following ideas are sure to help the leisure travelers enjoy more of their trip:

Choice of Destination. The choice of destination is something to be decided on first. Almost everything else on the prospective trip depends on it – transportation, accommodation etc. The little children in the travelling group shall be involved in the choosing. For a family with kids, the trip is more for the little ones than for the grownups. The aim is for everyone to enjoy the trip.

Briefing the Kids. This is very important. Since the destination is going to be somewhere unfamiliar, the kids shall behave accordingly. They shall not wander too far away from their parents or be very trusting of strangers. Another thing, the little ones shall be made to understand that everything on the trip is budgeted and so they may have to be restrained with their demands. 

Desired Activities. The list of activities that the travelers want to experience where they are going shall be pre-decided, too; although there are sure to be some slight changes or additions when they get there. Desired activities can cost money, and are sure to have an impact on the trip budget.

Budget. As it is now known where the family (or even a solo traveler) wants to go, a budget can already be drawn more realistically. Possible expenses can now be figured out. Air, boat and bus fares can be factored in, along with other costs to be incurred along the way. Then, there’s the accommodation in the place of destination to add in. Costs like meals, sightseeing, souvenir shopping, tips to local guides etc. shall be considered as well.

Gift Shopping. A nice idea for Christmas vacationers to consider is shopping for gifts where they are, for loved ones back home. Better to have it mailed to the recipients while the givers are still on the vacation, for more impact. Mailing the gifts will also free them of tugging along a bulk of “pasalubong” items on their return.

Take Advantage of Technology. The experience of a trip may not have to be exclusive for the actual travelers alone. In this day and age of sophisticated communication technology, posting photos or videos of the trip can be shared with family and friends back home, in real time. The fun shall be shared with others – like the Christmas traditions in the place of destination, special delicacies, and other features peculiar to the place.  

Most of all, travelers shall not forget that attitude counts. There’s no place for kill-joys on a leisure trip. Little kids, especially, shall be told beforehand of the limitations (if any), so they may not go into a tantrum when not getting exactly what they want at times.

Travelling is meant to be fun. And at Christmas, it is meant to be merry too! A little preparation and organization can sure go a long way towards that goal.

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