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Why not mix things up this Christmas and suggest you leave your snow boots behind and take your Christmas somewhere that requires sunscreen and sandals!? You can enjoy your Christmas in the Caribbean, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun or any other beach destination. The possibilities are ENDLESS! There are many lovely places that in December, boast sunny days, warm breezes and beautiful sandy beaches. I would pick these conditions over snow, sleet and ice any day! Ditch those parkas and start your journey to a Christmas in bathing suits.

 

Let's face it, the holiday season is expensive. I suggest you forgo gifts and suggest your family take a trip together instead. Then, no one has to be disappointed by a knitted sweater with a big puppy face on it from your Aunt Fannie. You can all enjoy the gift of each others company while lounging by a resort pool. You will make new Christmas memories and maybe even a new tradition or two.

 

Are there some things you cannot live without Christmas? Bring stockings and little treats to fill them with. My favorite idea is to write handwritten letters thanking your family for their special "gifts". For example, write a note thanking your father for his uncanny ability to help you out of any sticky situation or your mother's ever patient listening or your sister's love and positive energy when you are down. These letters and handmade gifts will be cherished forever!

 

Have I convinced you to make this one a tropical Christmas? Here are some tips to booking your travel without spending so much money that you have none left to buy coal for your little brother's stocking! Normally I would not recommend buying tickets on the weekend and have found that airline companies know this is when you have the most time to buy, so the prices will be higher. Generally, the best time to buy tickets is on Tuesday afternoons (after 3pm Eastern). This is when the airlines lower their prices from the weekend, and match each others sale prices. When you search for a departure date, you will normally find that the cheapest day to fly is Wednesday (this is because most people do not prefer to travel in the middle of the week), the second two cheapest days are typically Tuesday and Saturday. The most expensive days to travel are Friday and Sunday. (For more detailed information on how airlines price their flights, go here). Unfortunately, around Christmas, these rules are thrown out the window. I recommend booking AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The longer you wait, the higher the prices will be; no matter what day you choose to book.

 

If you have flexible travel dates and timing options, I like to use kayak.com, which lets you add 1-3 days on arrival and departure dates to find the best price, and hipmunk.com, which allows you to see all departing dates and flight times in a select time range in one screen with prices and "pain" of flight (high pain = 8 hour travel day with 3 connections).

 

It is advantageous to follow your airline/hotel/travel site of choice on Twitter, or "Like" them on Facebook. Many will announce deals and short sales, and you can be the first to know! Also, search for last minute travel deals. I like Travel Zoo's email notifications keeping you updated on the latest travel sales and deals. Here is a link to their last minute travel deal section.

 

Finally, when you do manage to book your flight and trip (and hopefully saved some money), sign up for the airline and hotel's rewards programs. Earning miles or points is usually free and you may get your seat/room upgraded. Additionally, after you travel a few times you can use those points for a free or discounted ticket!

 

Safe travels and Happy Holidays!!!