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Best Places to Visit in December: Where to Travel This Winter

December may be the last month of the calendar, but it's certainly not last when it comes to great travel deals. December is the perfect time of year for a winter family vacation to Colorado or Switzerland, or a sunny escape to the Caribbean or beautiful Thailand. Here, you'll find cheap flights, hotels, vacations, and cruises that allow for travel during the month of December.

The Top 5 December Destinations

Whether you're looking for a break from the cold weather with a trip to the beach or leaning into it to hit the ski slopes, our top 5 picks for December destinations have something for you. Relax with a drink in hand on the beaches of Thailand, or browse for gifts at the Christmas markets of Berlin. Hike near Santa Barbara or head up to Burlington, Vermont for a chance to bust out your snowboard or skis.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin may have notoriously harsh winters, but the Christmas cheer and cozy indoor spots make it a great place to spend time in December. Bundle up and venture out to one of the many neighborhood Christmas markets for a steaming mug of mulled wine and a plate of Kaiserschmarrn, a type of German shredded pancake smothered in compote and sugar. After a brisk walk by the old graffitied border walls of the East Side Gallery, shed your coat (and the rest of your layers) and pop into one of the many saunas to warm up like a local.

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara is a perfect escape any time of the year, but when the winter blues are getting you down it’s hard to resist the dreamy, sun-kissed beaches of this seaside gem. One of the nicest things about Southern California in the winter is the clear skies that offer incredible views. Start your morning with a beachside breakfast, then grab a picnic lunch from a local farmer’s market and head out on a hike in one of the nearby nature parks.

Burlington, Vermont

Embrace the cold and snowy weather with a trip to Burlington. Perfect for ski bums, Burlington is close to major ski destinations like Stowe but with more of the laid-back, small town feel. You can spend the day racing down the slopes (ideal for parents, as many of the resorts offer ski school for young children) and relax at the end of the day in one of the many bars with local craft brews on tap.

Phuket, Thailand

For warm weather a bit further afield, head for the verdant greens and luxurious blues of Phuket. Lay on the beach getting some much-needed sun, or head into the surf for sea kayaking, kite-surfing, or snorkeling. For a different kind of unwinding, head into some of Phuket’s well-know party districts, like Patong Beach. If you have a good stretch of time in Thailand, book in a visit to some of Phuket's surrounding attractions, like the Phi Phi Islands.

Montevideo, Uruguay

Take advantage of the reversed seasons in South America to get a little slice of summer in the middle of December. Walk through the pastel streets of the old town, eat a choripán at the indoor market, and sip mate on the local beach. The Uruguayan capital is also a great place to start a trip down the coast, which is dotted with sleepy little beach towns perfect for spending a couple days lounging on the beach with that novel you’ve been meaning to finish.