New Zealander’s aren’t good at thinking outside of the box when it comes to their summer holidays. Most Kiwis choose to spend their Christmas vacation camping or renting a bach at a spot near the beach. A few might jump across the ditch and soak up the sun on the Gold Coast but rarely do we travel much further. Well, my Kiwi friends, I’m here to encourage you to think of something different. Here are six summer holiday options to get you started!
Let’s face it – for the last few years summer in New Zealand has been a bit of a let down. We might get the odd scorcher but generally it’s four seasons in one day. Unreliable weather can ruin your summer holiday so if you’ve only got a few short weeks and you want to spend them sunny yourself, you need to head to Mexico. You can find plenty of cheap holidays to Mexico if you know where to look. Pick up a flight to LAX and then scoot down to Cancun, Cozumel, Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta. Not only will you get guaranteed sunshine but you’ll also find delicious food, Mayan ruins and diverse landscapes.
Now is the time for an affordable Las Vegas vacation! The Christmas period is the quietest time for tourism in Sin City. There are deals to be had. Where else in the world can you stay in a 4-star hotel for $60 a night? The New Zealand dollar is super strong against the US so your money will go a lot further. In fact, there are lot of free things to do in Las Vegas especially with kids. If you like to indulge, Las Vegas is the place for you. It’s not all about gambling – there are wonderful restaurants, decadent buffets, affordable shopping, relaxing spas and phenomenal shows. The only catch, it’s winter in Las Vegas so temperatures will only be in the teens but it’s the desert so Vegas is always sunny.
Vietnam is becoming an increasingly popular spot in South East Asia. Travel is relatively straight-forward as the country is long and narrow – start at one end and work your way up or down. I much prefer the steamy southern part of Vietnam. It’s warm but not too hot between December and February. Saigon is a buzzing metropolis with more motorbikes that you will have ever seen in your life. Explore the waterways, cottage industries and floating markets of the Mekong Delta. Grab some beach time on Phu Quoc island, Mui Ne or Nha Trang. Heading north you can have clothes tailormade in Hoi An, explore the ancient ruins of Hue and cruise the majestic waters of Halong Bay. Pack some warm clothes as the north will be considerably cooler at this time of year.
If you’re a snow-bunny and the New Zealand winter didn’t quite cut it for you, take a trip to the winter wonderland of Northern Japan. You may not think of Japan as an inexpensive destination but skiing in Japan is very reasonable. While the flight may seem long, at around 12 hours, the time difference is only four hours which is a manageable change for a short trip. Check out the resorts at Niseko, Rusutsu, Furano and Hakuba,
Now is the time to go to Burma (or Myanmar). Recent political changes have lead to increasing tourism and westernisation. Burma is becoming the next “it” country so get their while you can. December to February are the coolest months to visit so now is a perfect time to travel. With Thailand on one side, India on the other and China to the North, Burma is a fascinating country, literally at a crossroads of cuisine, culture and history. Crumbling colonial ruins, busy Asian markets and temples dotting the landscape, there is plenty to see in Burma but the people are the star of the show. Warm, friendly, welcoming and not jaded by tourism like it’s other South East Asian neighbours, the people of Burma will welcome you into their country and sometimes their homes. Strike up a conversation with a local and you’ll be greatly rewarded.
Say, what? That’s right – why not spend Christmas and New Year cruising the waters of the Southern Ocean? December and January are the only months of the year when cruise ships from New Zealand can head to Antarctica. Departing from Bluff these cruises take you down through some of New Zealand’s southern islands and see you cruising through the Antarctic waters for two weeks. You don’t even need to get on a plane to see a whole new continent!
Where are you spending your summer holiday? Are you headed somewhere exotic?