Increasingly, more Poles are spending Christmas away from their homes. And they aren’t visiting distant relatives. They’re jetting off to exotic countries and ski resorts alike.
The most popular motivation for spending Christmas away from home is to escape the stress related to shopping and the exhaustive preparations. This year isn’t favorable for those who wish to take off. This is due to both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve landing on Saturdays this year. Consequently, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are on a Sunday. Therefore, more official vacation days are required in order to organize a one week vacation. However, this has not discouraged Poles. Travel agencies are bustling with customers and approximately 30% more people have decided to leave home for Christmas this year, in comparison to last year.
Flamenco as opposed to dumplings
Something that was unthinkable only a few short years ago is now becoming a new custom. Those who are fed up with Christmas preparations can find multiple offers from hotels, resorts and guesthouses. All it takes is to search “Christmas trip” in your browser, and you will find hundreds of offers to either spend Christmas in Poland or in some exotic location.
Monika Pirtań, teacher from Zielona Góra, will spend her Christmas Eve in Sicily. She has been leaving Poland on Christmas for a few years now. For example, instead of cooking at home last year, she went to Spain to visit museums, attend theater shows and admired flamenco dancers.
“At a certain point, I’d gotten tired with all this Christmas madness regarding cooking, planning, buying gifts and having arguments with relatives. This consumed too much of my energy,” said Monika. And she added, “I have nothing against family meetings, but trips enrich me by getting to know different cultures. Moreover, I find them very relaxing.”
Christmas Eve in Canary Islands
According to the data from Travelplanet.pl, the Canary Islands have been the most popular destination for Christmas for the last two holiday seasons. Every fourth customer of this travel agency spent Christmas Eve in this archipelago. Egypt’s popularity has been decreasing significantly for two years. This destination used to be the choice of about half of the travelers booking through the above mentioned travel agency - currently, only 19% have decided to go there. The surprising second runner-up is Cuba, despite the fact that it’s one of the top ten of the most expensive destinations in 2016.
Only 14% of customers are planning on spending their Christmas holiday at ski resorts. “However, we estimate this amount to increase to approximately 20%. Reservations regarding ski resorts are determined by weather forecasts. For the time being, there isn’t a guarantee of snow in ski resorts during December,” said Radosław Damasiewicz, Travelplanet.pl marketing director.
Book sooner and exchange currency on better conditions
Many people know that they will be traveling earlier than two weeks in advance. If you’re not traveling with a travel agency, you should book your transport and accommodations as soon as possible.
“I’ve calculated this multiple times, and it appeared that buying gifts and food for Christmas will cost me more than a trip will. I search for accommodations on Airbnb, which makes it a possibility to pay less when booking a longer stay for longer,” adds Monika Pirtań from Zielona Góra.
However, customers of travel agencies need to be prepared to spend more. According to Travelplanet.pl, a trip to Canary Islands (including transport and food) costs approximately 3854 PLN for a single person. This means that a family of three (parents and a child), would need to spend approximately 11k PLN for the entire trip. Many travel agencies give discounted rates to families that travel with children. “You can create additional savings by exchanging currency online. If you exchange 11k PLN for euro with our company, you can save up to 530 PLN,” said Piotr Kiciński, Vice-president of the Board of Cinkciarz.pl, which is a Polish online currency exchange office (exchange rate as given by Cinkciarz.pl on 28.11.2016).
Pay and demand
Why are people increasingly often deciding to spend Christmas away from home and relatives? It appears that a period of intensive activity for psychotherapists is prior to the Christmas season. They even hold patient appointments on Christmas Eve. According to Natalia Grzebyk, who is a psychologist, Christmas trips may be a conscious decision or a subconscious form of escape. “Christmas is uniquely a time for family. However, not every family functions as the families in advertisements or colorful catalogs do. Christmas Eve is a time of conversations among family members, which are difficult if the family ties are shallow. Christmas trips have become popular, because they don’t require that type of effort. You pay and you demand. It is more likely to be perfect, and not every family is,” she said.