Winter breaks may be colder than your standard holiday in the sun, but they just have so much to offer. You can surprise that special someone with a pre-Christmas trip, catch up on your Christmas shopping, or even take to the slopes – so here’s everything you need to know about planning that perfect winter weekend away.
Consider How Long You Plan To Go For
Before you start planning your winter getaway you need to consider how long you can take off. Perhaps your holiday allowance runs out at the end of the year and you can only travel over the weekend. If that’s the case, then you may want to look closer to home; perhaps a shopping trip in Cardiff or a visit to Edinburgh’s Christmas? If, however, you can stretch your weekend into a four-day trip you could easily consider travelling to New York and hitting the department stores of the Big Apple.
Do Your Research
When planning the perfect weekend away it’s important to make sure you do your research. Lots of people travel to Paris each year to hit the winter sales, but if you were thinking of rocking up on Boxing Day expecting to find a bargain you’d be in for a shock. The sales in Paris are government regulated and shops are only allowed to discount their items twice a year within set periods. The winter period usually falls on the second Wednesday of January, but it changes every year which is why it’s important to research before you go.
Proper planning can also help to avoid any bank holidays, or periods when shops may be closed. Many Catholic countries have a bank holiday on December 8th for the Immaculate Conception, so if shopping is important, you may want to avoid trips to Italy, Malta, Spain and Switzerland that fall on this date. Likewise, we’ll leave it up to you to decide if shops in America should be braved or avoided on Black Friday!
Finally, European Christmas markets often have a whole host of events that can be enjoyed alongside the shopping and glühwein. A quick glance of the program can alert you to anything of interest should you not have a set weekend to travel.
Change Your Days Around
A weekend away doesn’t necessarily have to be over a weekend. If you want to find some bargains on hotel accommodation, consider travelling Thursday to Saturday or Sunday to Tuesday instead. This avoids the popular days when most people book hotels. You could even take it a step further and plan a mid-week break instead.
Make Sure You’re Properly Packed
If you’re going Christmas shopping, you’ll want to utilise your suitcase space so that you have plenty of room to pack all the gifts and gadgets that you’ll be returning with. Our suggestion is to pack a holdall that can be folded up and then used as carry-on luggage when returning from your trip. To get the most from your suitcase space, take a look at our top packing hacks.
Ask For Recommendations
If you have friends that have visited the area before ask them for recommendations on where to eat. Better yet, ask your taxi driver or hotel busboy. Recommendations from locals are ideal if you want to take yourself off the tourist trail and try some authentic local fare.
Leave Room For Adventure
Setting yourself an itinerary can be a great help if you’re on a short break, as it allows you to ensure that you have time to see everything that you want to see. Whether that’s just setting a certain day to visit a particular attraction or a more structured timed affair. However, in both cases it’s important that you leave a little time for adventure. You never know just what the day may throw at you, or what you may stumble across down a side street. Leave time to explore and you won’t regret it.
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