We did a Christmas away from home! Is Christmas fun away from home? Is Christmas worth doing as a holiday? It’s cold! It’s so expensive! We had to try it to answer these questions. We came back and all I can say is that we loved it!
I don’t know if I’d travel for actual Christmas day but, if expectations are low and all you want is a peaceful holiday and good quality time with the family then I think the answer will be positive to the questions above. We went to England for our Christmas holiday but most places in Europe celebrate Christmas in style.
England is always our favourite and this was a long holiday for Little Big Explorers as normally we do short breaks. People told us we are crazy to leave exactly when school is out and go back when school starts. I must admit I don’t think I’d do it again this way. Winter holidays people tend to get sick and for us it was an everyday issue. Check out the European Health Insurance Card. First, Andrew had fever, then I had no voice as I had a throat problem, then I got chesty and the boys got diarrhoea as well as the common cold. Still, it was the best family holiday so far!
Christmas is nice to spend with family and sometimes family are friends too. This year we had the pleasure of spending Christmas day with another Maltese family that live in the UK. It was a great day, with preparations starting from a day before as the big boys did most of the cooking. So, we still had a traditional homely Christmas lunch and I think this was the best part of it all. If you can have a Christmas lunch around family or friends why do it differently? It’s not always possible and some friends of mine spent Christmas lunch in a restaurant among strangers and although it was different they still felt that the spirit of Christmas was there as there were animators and live music too. The children could get up and dance if they were ready from the food and everything was relaxed. I suggest finding a good hotel that has a package deal that includes kids something like Luxury Family Hotels. It might be pricey but it will be worth it in the long run. You don’t need to stay there all the time. We changed 5 accommodations in this trip check out my review on all of them here.
Some research is needed if you are to spend Christmas away from home, in fact research must be done from very early as prices of air tickets get higher and higher by the day. A friend of mine left his ticket to the last minute and had to buy a ticket to Bristol instead of any London airport because it was just tooooooo expensive to accept. I had booked our tickets from at least 3 months in advance and got a good rate for the whole family including suitcases and hand luggage.
We left Malta with 2 large suitcases, 1 hand luggage and 4 backpacks. When we got to England one of our suitcases’ zips got torn and we couldn’t close it well. We were in a dilemma of buying another suitcase. I was so happy to have placed an extra duffle bag in one of my large ones (in the chance of doing a good shopping spree) this came in really handy. I don’t really like these type of suitcases but this time it really was a money saver. These type of suitcases are only some €40 – €100(depending on where you buy it from). I had two other large suitcases at home so buying another large suitcase just sounded useless and a waste of money really. To make things more complicated Santa Claus had the bright idea of delivering the kids’ Christmas presents to England instead of back home. Not much luck for my wish for any January sales.
I had made myself promise to not get upset if something out of plan crops up and I reminded myself this so many times since the kids got sick so that many times. Shopping was the last thing on my mind. Still, if I had an extra suitcase, I’m sure, it would have been filled. In the end we bought a cheap hand luggage as we had paid family priority and had it included in our flight details. Cost of hand luggage was €15, and I made everything fit!
If you are flying at Christmas time and think you will be doing some shopping, always think about your flight ticket and what it includes. Travelling with Ryan air now is getting trickier; the priority boarding is getting busier than before, in fact the queue to priority boarding was larger than the normal one. Remember if you don’t pay for your hand luggage, you will be charged in full at the gate. Double check your tickets and make sure you have what you need. Today it is worth paying for a large suitcase then bulking everyone up with hand luggage and carrying it on board. I hate having to carry everything myself but then again a carryon Trunki does come in handy with little ones.
One tip I’d like to conclude this post with is taking some Christmas decorations with you. I’m not saying a full blown Christmas tree but some fairy lights or some Christmas garlands would be good enough. I took a cute paper garland that I got from Flying Tiger for some €2 and I had some old Christmas cards that lit up and played music. It helped brighten up our rooms and apartment especially since we spent so much time in them.
If you want to know what we did in our Christmas Holiday, keep in touch and keep reading…
If you want to share with us some tips of your Christmas Holidays or would just like to tell us where you went, contact us. We’d love to know the good and the bad. Or you could leave a comment below…I always answer!