The holidays have arrived, and the stress is on. In between the shopping, cooking, cleaning, I say we plan some holiday escapes to combat the all the craziness. This year I’d love to take a magical adventure. Here are 8 of my bucketlist destinations to consider for a holiday vacation or a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Hokkaido, Japan Skiing
credit: Perfect Zero

Hokkaido, Japan 

In the Abuta District, Mount Niseko is one of the top 5 resort destinations in Japan and a major attraction for international skiers.Asahidake is the highest of the mountains in Hokkaido and is famous for it’s steam vents. Air currents over the Sea of Japan form some of the lightest and driest powder in the world which makes for perfect conditions for hitting the slopes. An extensive lift system with many covered gondolas and chairlifts offers comfort and ease even during the frequent heavy snowfall. Five resorts sit upon the mountain and offer a variety of vacation options. There are ski options for all skill levels, and it is a wonderful option for a family friendly vacation. 

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                                                                                     Credit Sarah Woodall

Greenland

Notorious for its breathtaking glaciers and icebergs, Greenland visitors can tour these serene sights by land, water, and air. In Western Greenland, the Illulissat is known as “The Iceberg Capital of the World.” The Illulissat Icefjord is home to thousands of icebergs, and it is guaranteed to be nothing like you have ever seen. These goliath sized walls of ice rocket skyward and loom over the icy waters. This is a must see heaven on Earth.

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                                                                                       Credit Sarah Geldart

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland, and while it is full of Viking history as well as an attractive nightlife, it is the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa that draws many visitors each year. It is considered one of the 25 wonders of the world, and it is a spa experience unlike most others. First discovered in 1976, people began bathing in the lagoon and using the silica mud as a skin treatment with noticeably improved skin especially for those suffering from psoriasis. Now, the resort welcomes visitors from around the world to immerse themselves in the geothermal seawater and enjoy a variety of unique spa treatments designed to use the natural elements from the lagoon. The peaceful scenery and the soothing effects from the spa will be just what you need after the stress of the holidays. It’s also listed as #4 on KAYAK’s Top 10 New Year’s Eve Trending Destinations!

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winter escapes
Credit: Moyan Brenn

Svalbard Islands, Norway

The majesty of the Northern Lights is a must see on any travel list. While the lights can be seen all over Norway, the best views are in northern Norway or the Svalbard Islands during late autumn or winter and early spring. The spectacular light show is due to the collision between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere and the charged particles from the sun’s atmosphere. It is a glimpse into the miraculous wonders of our world.

Whitehaven
Credit: Whitehaven Beach Images

Whitsunday Island, Australia

There is nothing better than a beach getaway to escape the stress of the holidays, and Australia has some of the worlds best beaches. Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island is a white sand (98% pure white silica) beach unblemished by overflowing resorts and throngs of people. All you will see is the sapphire blue waves and the endless skies. Located along the Great Barrier Reef, it has been voted the World’s most eco-friendly beach and it can be accessed by a 30 minute catamaran ride or a scenic sailboat ride. The beach is also available for tour by helicopter and seaplane.

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Credit: Anna Andres

Austral Andes, Argentina

In Argentina, the Los Glaciares National Park was made a World Heritage site in 1981, and it remains a place of wonder and beauty. As the second largest National Park in the country it houses massive glaciers. These mountains of ice stem from the South Patagonian Ice Field which remains from glacial processes during the Quaternary Period. In addition to the glaciers, visitors can explore the Andean-Patagonian Forest and neighboring mountain peaks.

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Credit: Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

Manila, Philippines

Did you know that Manila has the world’s longest Christmas Season? Located on the island of Luzon, Manila is a city rich in history and culture. Starting in September, Manila features spectacular displays of holiday lights as well as festivals celebrating the season. The mostly Christian population is owed to the influence of Spanish colonization, and an important part of the holiday season also includes large masses at one of the many historic and beautiful churches. Food also plays a large role in the holidays and there is a variety of rare, mouth-watering dishes. These cheerful celebrations stretch into January and offer visitors a holiday they will never forget.

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Credit: Lehtikuva/Martti Kainilainen

North Pole

Take a trip to visit Santa and his workshop! Journey to the mystical North Pole where Santa and his helpers are busily preparing for the holiday season. Get a sneak peak of the magic and maybe pet a reindeer or two.

The most important part of travel is having great resources and KAYAK now has the Travel Hacker Guide to give those of us with a desire for adventure, the best tips and resources to take on the world… and helpful hints for those that have to travel for the holidays. 

This guide features:

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I use KAYAK to make dream destinations a reality, and I love that you can use Trips, your very own Free Travel Assistant, to plan every detail of your getaway. I use Trips to plan my adventures so I can track prices before I purchase tickets and find only the best deals. With Trips I can also manage and share my itinerary with friends and family and even track flight status in real-time. Long gone are the days of vacation frustration. 

Even though this post is written on behalf of KAYAK, all opinions remain mine, all mine.

12 comments

  1. All of those recommendations look amazing and I’ve not been to any of them. My friend just planned a group trip to Iceland for her 40th birthday and I was gutted that I couldn’t join them. By all accounts, it was a magical trip!

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