Craving a getaway but not quite sure where to go? Here are some wanderlust-worthy vacation ideas to put on your radar for December.
Monaci delle Terre Nere
Vacationing to Sicily during Italy’s traditional “off-season” has been trending in recent years, according to American Express Travel. What gives? Well, for starters there's Sicily's fabulous Mediterranean setting, as well as its rich baroque aesthetic and festive Catholic traditions. Plus, the crowds are more manageable than they are in the summer, which makes travel for families and large groups a breeze.
1 Hotel South Beach
From the Art Deco architecture to fabulous restaurants and nightlife, Miami is truly a city that appeals to every type of traveler. Art and culture lovers should plan a trip during Art Basel, which officially kicks off on December 6. The weeklong affair attracts celebrities, tastemakers, and bold-faced names, who come for the world-renowned art exhibitions, but stay for the swanky parties and events. Be sure to book a hotel well in advance, as prices skyrocket and availability becomes increasingly limited.
St. Regis Aspen
Perhaps we’re stating the obvious here, but heading to Aspen in December is a no-brainer. The Colorado ski town comes alive around the holidays—particularly from December 18th – 21st, when well-heeled spectators gather at the St. Regis’ annual Snow Polo competition. Visitors can buy tickets to the VIP tent through the hotel. Expect flowing champagne, lots of fur, and a fascinating match between some of the world’s best polo players.
Those who adore the holidays and don’t mind the cold (the average high is around 48 degrees) might consider an end-of-year trip across the pond. Arguably Europe’s most festive destination, December in London promises charming Christmas markets, show-stopping Christmas trees, and streets covered in twinkling lights. A number of posh hotels, like 45 Park Lane and The Dorchester even have Christmas-centric packages available to get you into the holiday spirit.
Le Meridien Grand Hotel
Visitors travel from around the world to experience Nuremberg's iconic Christmas Market. "Christkindlesmarkt," as it's called, is a tradition that dates back to 1628 and features more than 180 stalls. Though you could easily spend several days wandering the market, there are plenty of other things to see in the area, namely museums—Nuremberg is home to 43 of them.
On the hunt for a non-traditional ski vacation? Look no further than the Japanese Alps. According to American Express Travel, the region has seen an increase in bookings during the holidays in recent years. And while December has historically been less popular than Japan’s peak season—April-November—adventurous travelers are now intrigued by the wilderness of Japan in the winter. The Hida, Kiso, and Akaishi alps are home to indigenous snow monkeys, volcanoes, and lava plateaus, plus, visitors are drawn to the area for its pristine ski offerings, natural hot springs, and rural hiking.
Amanpulo Pamalican Island
The period between November and April is the Philippines’ “dry season,” which is generally considered the best time of year to visit. And while February and March can be unbearably hot, in December, you’ll find pleasant temperatures and sunny days. Start your trip in Manila (check out the funky Henry Hotel in Pasay City), then retreat to one of the country’s picturesque private islands. Our recommendation? Amanpulo on Pamalican Island, where there’s something for everyone: scuba diving, moonlit boat rides, tennis, yoga, and five-star service.
"The Maldives are glorious in December and January for visitors to enjoy the warm tropical weather," suggests Tamara Lohan, the founder and CTO of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. She specifically recommends booking a few nights at Soneva Jani, a posh property that, according to Mr. & Mrs. Smith, is home to the "World's Sexiest Bedroom."
Kangaroo Island, Australia
Southern Ocean Lodge
"KI, as it's known, is a nature-rich gem that has become renowned as an international hot spot for various kinds of wildlife intermingled with some stunning scenery," says Lohan. Book a stay at Southern Ocean Lodge, which offers a serene escape in a breathtakingly beautiful setting.
Located just 90 minutes from New York City, the quaint Caribbean island is home to fantastic beaches—like the famed Horseshoe Bay and Elbow Beach—plus a unique style all its own. A balanced mix of charming British heritage and laid-back tropical vibes, Bermuda has, in recent years, become a hotspot over the holidays. The weather is typically temperate (expect temperatures in the 70s) which makes it a perfect destination for golf-lovers, families, and anyone looking for a quick weekend escape.