Fountain with colored lights with surrounding buildings and trees covered in lights.
The public square in San Juan at Christmastime.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

5 Budget-Friendly Destinations for a Memorable Christmas Vacation

Don’t Break the Bank This Christmas

Taking a vacation at Christmas can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a pricey time of year to travel. Not only are flights more in demand and therefore more expensive, hotels and other travel expenses can cost more as well.

You might assume that hotels at Christmastime are cheaper in countries where Christmas isn’t celebrated. But this isn’t necessarily true. Hotels in beautiful travel destinations are priced according to demand, not local customs. The majority of people who are well off enough to travel internationally are the ones who live in countries with a Christmas holiday.

That’s why hotel prices around the world rise during this time of year.

However, there are a few affordable places you can go during the Christmas season that will offer you great value for money. Here are a few ideas for cheap Christmas vacations that are sure to be a magical time without destroying your budget.

Puerto Rico

Why not spend your Christmas basking in the sunshine, snorkeling in the clear water or walking along the pink sands of Isla Verde? Puerto Rico is a very affordable destination and US citizens don’t even need a passport to visit. Plus, you can wake yourself up on Christmas morning with some superbly delicious Puerto Rican coffee.

Christmas is quite a celebration in Puerto Rico, with festivities that begin in November and last all the way until mid-January. You can attend a dawn mass at the church and listen to heavenly folk singing, or watch the parranda which is a group of carolers who parade through their neighborhood singing.

Two kids snorkeling in ocean.The islands of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye are the perfect places to take things slow.Photo Credit: Getty Images


If you are looking for a completely chilled out budget-friendly Christmas vacation where you can relax on a quiet beach, check out Belize. On the islands of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye there aren’t a lot of huge chain hotels or even paved roads — golf carts serve as taxis taking guests around the small, long and thin islands.

The sand is pristine and white and there are plenty of laid back guesthouses where you can lie back in a hammock while sipping a cold beer. The snorkeling is amazing and the second largest coral reef system in the world is located just off shore.

Christmas is a lot of fun in Belize and you will hear drummers on the street playing Christmas tunes and locals feasting and partying throughout the season.

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Chalets at bottom of ski hill.Ski vacations can get quite expensive, but Andermatt is a cheaper option for spending Christmas slopeside.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Andermatt, Switzerland

Winter ski vacations in Switzerland are mostly reserved for the wealthy and glamorous, but Andermatt is the much less crowded and more affordable option. You can spend your Christmas zooming down the snowy slopes or taking skiing lessons from a local instructor.

When you aren’t on the ski hill, you can immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit at the traditional Christmas markets. Charming vendors sell unique handicrafts and festive food and drink, including yummy baked goods and mulled wine.

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