by Jessica Bisesto
Some people live for the holidays and can't get enough pumpkin pie, holiday cheer, festive music, and colorful lights. There are also those who prefer escaping the hustle and bustle that comes with the holidays at the end of the year. Luckily, there are plenty of places around the world that offer a break for those seeking a refuge between the months of November and December. We've created a list of excellent options where you'll be hard pressed to find signs of Saint Nick, dreidels, or Kwanza cakes.
Morocco is a primarily Muslim country that provides very few signs of Christmas cheer. Offering tourists incredible mountain and desert experiences, ancient cities, fantastic food and an incredible culture, Morocco is a great country for those looking to avoid the holiday season. Head to Marrakech if you’re looking to experience a lively city, or kick those winter blues with a trip to Chefchaouen, the famous blue-painted town.
If you're looking to Grinch out, get outside of the cities and explore the beautiful islands in the south or the highlands in the north of the country. Spend time at Railay Beach, an isolated peninsula that offers stunning waters, limestone cliffs, sea caves, and rock climbing. If you prefer tranquility and solitude, head north to Chiang Dao and explore the highest mountain in Thailand before soaking in the natural hot springs.
America's National Parks
Grab your hiking boots and a tent, and spend some time in the great outdoors. Whether you prefer camping near a river, or waking up next to the mountains, there are plenty of national parks to enjoy while others are frantically shopping in concrete jungles. Spend a few days hiking the Appalachian Trail, take advantage of the beautiful scenery of Bryce Canyon National Park, or warm up a bit in Joshua Tree National Park.
Budget travelers with holiday allergies should consider Goa, India, for a warm and beachy destination. Temples, historical architecture, waterfalls, and casinos can be found nearby for those who’ve had their fill of the sun. Travelers who prefer more culture, and cooler weather should head to northern India and spend time in jaw-dropping Jaipur admiring the palaces and landscapes before heading a few hours away to the Taj Mahal.
Travelers looking for a warm and luxurious escape from the holidays should head to Dubai or Abu Dhabi. The United Arab Emirates is known for glitz and glamour, and while tourists may see some Christmas lights (possibly strung up on palm trees), the holiday cheer will be less obvious than that found in Western destinations. Admire the mosques, enjoy a shopping spree, or explore the nearby desert dunes while you don't celebrate the holidays.
Skip the turkey and pumpkin pie, and chow down on a kangaroo burger or enjoy some shrimps on the barbie in Australia this holiday season. Get out of the major cities, and explore the outback by car or go diving in the Great Barrier Reef for an unforgettable experience. Although travelers during the holiday season might spot some festive cheer, it’s easy to get away from the celebrations and into Mother Nature for peace and quiet.