The mid-winter Christmas holidays can be an ideal time for adventure travel tours. Adventure travelers thrive on being somewhere where few other people are, and certainly, few people are hiking trails,cycling bike routes, camping in wildernesses, or eating freeze-dried food in a tent when the rest of the world is singing holiday carols, and feasting on Christmas dinner.
Advantages of Christmas Holiday Adventure Travel
One advantage for planning holiday adventure travel tours is that it may be easier to reserve places on adventure packages that are otherwise fully booked far in advance. Some marquis adventure travel trips require making reservations many months, even a year or more, in advance. But such difficult-to-plan trips as hiking New Zealand’s Milford track, camping in the Grand Canyon, or staying in very popular national park hotels and campgrounds may be easier to book for the holidays, when the majority of travelers stay with friends and family. And there are often last-minute cancellations.
In some climates, the Christmas holidays are ideal for traveling. Certainly, it’s the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere. And in much of the American south, from Florida to southern California (not to mention all of Central America and the Caribbean), winter is the only comfortable season for active travel.
Other advantages include experiencing Christmas traditions in other cultures. “Trail magic” is the hiker’s word for serendipity: It involves finding hospitality and fellowship in surprising places, and at times when it is least expected. It is certainly not unheard of for a friendly traveler to be invited to join in with holiday festivities.
Challenges of Holiday Adventure Travel
There is, however, a flip side to holiday travel: While few people are actually hiking, cycling, or rafting, many people are traveling to see family, which means that flights and hotels may be fully booked…
Airplane prices are high during the holidays, and the skies these days are about as friendly as a subway station in a crowded city at rush hour. Adding insult to injury, frequent flier miles generally aren’t usable over peak holiday travel seasons. To get the best fares, start looking about three months ahead of time, and scour the various on-line flight reservation resources. The more flexible a traveler is regarding times, days, and even airports, the better. Just try to avoid having to change planes in potentially snowy northern hemisphere cities.
There may also be an emotional cost to holiday adventure travel. Justifying the decision to the family can be a difficult hurdle, especially in a family with tight-knit traditions. Loneliness.can set in during the holiday season far from home, especially if the adventure is arduous. Some travelers decide that those family Christmas traditions actually mean something personal and important.
Tips for Holiday Adventure Travel
Check plane fares about two to three months in advance, and be sure to use on-line comparison sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, Orrbitz, or Kayak. Compare the results with deals available at the airline’s own site, because sometimes there are differences. The more flexible the travel dates, the more likely the traveler is to find cheap plane tickets (if, that is, there are any over the holidays).
Travelers planning on being in towns or doing holiday-related activities (a formal Christmas dinner at a restaurant, a holiday dinner-dance, a holiday concert) should make reservations. Travelers on foot without reservations are likely to be forced to re-enact the original Christmas story of finding that there is no room at the inn.
In fact, make reservations for any service that accepts them This includes not only hotels, but refuges, hostels, and even campsites. Check to see that they are open, and book a spot early. Check for holiday transportation schedules, as well: Often, holiday schedules are different. If reservations can be made, make them.
Travelers active in social networking should announce their plans. It’s possible to meet someone interesting in person who has here-to-fore only been an e-mail or forum-thread acquaintance.
Finally, make special holiday plans. It could be as simple as exchanging small Christmas gifts with a hiking partner or taking a break from the adventure part of the trip in a nice hotel. Or bring the Christmas spirit into a tent site or an alpine refuge by cooking up a special trail meal with a few treats, slipping a bottle of wine into backpack, or wearing silly hats with reindeer horns.
A holiday adventure trip can be both a holiday and an adventure. A bit of pre-planning can ensure that travelers have plenty to celebrate.