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Why you should book your festive season getaway now

By Damien Martin

Sweating through another hot day longing for a cold drink in your favorite giant unicorn floatie, you may not have given much thought to your travel plans for the holiday season. There’s plenty of time for that, right? WRONG! Make no mistake, winter is coming. Before you know it, the leaves will be changing colors. Soon after, you’ll be looking back wistfully at those long summer days. If you start trying to plan a trip then, you could be frozen out.

The period around Christmas and New Year’s is absolutely the most in-demand time on the calendar. Everybody and their mother is tired of the stress of cooking, cleaning and accommodating guests. They’d rather head to the beach, let someone else do all the work and actually enjoy that time with loved ones.

The trouble is, there’s a limited number of places where the weather can be counted on. The people who were lucky enough to find rooms last year got the right of first refusal for this year. Many others have had their space booked since spring. Truthfully, you should have already started planning too. But if you act now, there are a few gems left in Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean.

If you’re out of luck on land, or prefer hitting the high seas, a cruise could be your answer. Again, though, you need to act quickly, especially if you’re bringing the whole family and need multiple cabins. Virtuoso-preferred partners offer some great itineraries to celebrate in style.

If all else fails, think outside the box. There’s a whole other hemisphere where it’s warm when we’re cold. South America, Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, they all have nice weather as one year turns into the next.

It’s not especially warm in Europe’s heartland, though the jetstream does keep things milder than many parts of the U.S., but a river cruise can let you catch the end of the beautiful Christmas markets along the Rhine and Danube. If you haven’t seen a European Christmas market before, they are a sight to behold. Plus, there’s plenty of mulled wine to help you keep warm, there are great Christmas dinners served on the river and you can ring in the new year a few hours ahead of your friends.

Whatever you do, start planning now. Otherwise, you may have to settle for what’s available rather than what you want. Or, you could be left out in the cold.

By Damien Martin

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