But as it's a month full of festivities in many regions, not to mention Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations, you should book your trip early to make sure you'll have a place in the sun. Off the coast of the continent, Madagascar also offers pleasant temperatures even if it is the rainy season.
Those who do not want to go too far from Europe can book a hotel in Morocco to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Agadir, or in Tunisia, especially in Derby or Armament. Let yourself be tempted by the superb beaches of Cambodia, the idyllic islands of Thailand or the paradisaical scenery of the Maldives.
Sunshine, beautiful beaches, turquoise sea and fruity cocktails are the order of the day in the Bahamas, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Saint Martin. The setting is just as enchanting in the Dominican Republic, particularly in Puerto Plate and Junta Can, where water parks complete the range of attractions on offer.
Unless you want to experience the magic of winter and the enchantment of Christmas, it is best to avoid the countries of Europe that are beginning to put on their white coats. Catalonia and the city of Madrid, on the other hand, are not recommended due to the freezing.
From Gran Canaria to La Palma, each island is a surprising combination of nature, history and culture. Valletta, the Maltese capital, also shows itself in its best light in December, as do Cyprus, Madeira and the Algarve region of southern Portugal.
In Greece, people prefer the charm and sweetness of the islands: Crete, Santorini, Rhodes and Siphons. The weather is ideal for visiting Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi.
Israel is just as interesting, with its cities steeped in history such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Moreover, a true human experience awaits you in Asia, where tradition and modernity meet in harmony.
From Bangladesh to Pakistan, Burma and Laos, each region is like a colorful history book. Those who have always dreamed of going to India will prefer the month of December to undertake this trip.
The whole territory has a favorable climate, whether Bombay, Calcutta, Jaipur or New Delhi, except Kazakh. You'll also have plenty to see in Cambodia, especially in Said Reap where the Angkor temples are the main attraction not to be missed.
Nature is both soothing and enchanting, a good reason to focus your trip on hiking through lush vegetation and wild landscapes. Costa Rica is one of those destinations that offer several 100% nature tours in a preserved and multicolored environment.
The exuberant nature of Guadeloupe also places it among the best destinations for trekking or trail riding. Going off the beaten track and letting yourself be surprised is the real magic of travel.
As a trek worthy of the name does not only take place in the middle of a forest or in a green park, adventurers will certainly dare to walk in the desert to live a new experience. In Tunisia, Morocco or Egypt, the landscapes are of a rare beauty, and it is possible to camp and sleep under the stars.
In South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal, it is above all the encounter with the African fauna that makes the escapade so magical. New Zealand also offers great tours for the adventurous at heart, along Abel Tasman Bay, Kangaroo National Park and Abbey Caves.
Ski resorts open their doors to snow sports enthusiasts, a godsend for those who prefer to stay in Europe or go to the United States. But if for you, sports holidays in December must absolutely rhyme with sunshine, you will find your happiness in Mauritius or Madagascar where it is possible to learn to surf, dive, canyoning and climbing.
Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica offers a wide range of water sports, in addition to green escapes in the heart of the forest and trekking to the top of volcanoes. With their unknown planetary air, the Galápagos Islands are in reality a small paradise for nature lovers.
Hiking or biking is the best way to discover the attractions of each island, and underwater, divers will make unexpected encounters. You can also travel to other parts of Ecuador, but it is not recommended going to Oriented or Quito because of the very unfavorable climate.
Thanks to its generous climate at the end of the year, Uruguay is another stopover to consider for a great vacation. The country is a perfect combination of sports travel and cultural discoveries along its coastline.
In Australia, the land of surfing by excellence, the conditions are ideal to learn this sport which has become a real art of living for the inhabitants. Furthermore, in Asia, you can head for Laos, or go canoeing and mountain biking in Cambodia.
All over Europe, people are already preparing for the festivities, whether in Cyprus, Greece, Portugal or Spain. Children will also be won over by the splendid landscapes of the Canary Islands, and above all the possibility of riding a camel, a unique attraction in Europe.
In addition, there are several theme parks such as the Lord Marque in Tenerife, and splendid natural pools in La Palma. If you feel like spending Christmas under the coconut palms, this is the perfect destination, especially as many festivities are organized throughout the archipelago.
In this case, Sydney is the place to be, as the city abounds in original tourist attractions such as the Tonga Zoo, the Aquarium and Luna Park. Another region of Australia is worth the trip, the Gold Coast, which is home to several leisure venues, including SeaWorld and Warner Bros Movie World.
The final month of the year marks the time when people in northern climates start looking around for an escape to the sun. Most of the destinations below are in Latin America and Southeast Asia, so depending on where you are starting from it might be a rather long flight to get there.
Those looking for a winter getaway from the United States or Canada will be happy to know that they've got many great options for sunshine trips during the pandemic, including many of the destinations on the list below. A few parts of Latin America are still rainy in December, but most of it is clear and enjoying the best climate of the year.
Every single city on this list and in these regions will get more crowded and expensive just before Christmas, so visit earlier if you are looking for bargains. Just as with Cancun mentioned below, the rest of the Caribbean has excellent weather yet very moderate prices, until just before Christmas.
On the Friday before Christmas the region fills up and stays packed (at high prices) until mid January, but for those first 3 weeks you can get great deals, especially on the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. While Cancun has become the king of the Mexican beach resort towns in the few decades since it was formed, it's only one of many, and all of them on both coasts have very nice weather in December.
In fact, Cancun is probably the most expensive of them, so especially if you are coming from the west coast you are better off in Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, or Los Cabot instead. Once again, it's worth noting that the first half of December will be cheaper and far less crowded than the time around Christmas, so if it's possible you should come early for best value.
Still, compared to, say, Miami Beach, Cancun and the other Mexican resort towns are far cheaper and at least as fun as well. As December begins in the Caribbean, the hurricane season is officially over and the weather is pretty much perfect by any standard.
Junta Can is the Dominican Republic's most popular resort areas, especially for those who aren't particularly interested in absorbing the local culture. Unsurprisingly, the end of December is the beginning of the peak season for resort prices, so those who are able to come earlier in the month will be getting better deals.
Still, the all-inclusive resorts are locked in heavy competition all year so this area can be a great deal compared to the alternatives, even in high season. The weekend before Christmas is when peak season here starts, and if you book early enough you can still get a good deal then, but don't expect many last-minute bargains during that period.
Mont ego Bay's busy airport has cheap flights from most major hubs including many in Europe, so it's one of the easier places to reach as well. If Mont ego Bay itself doesn't sound perfect then you might instead consider Neil or Echo Rios, both of which are about 90 minutes from the same airport and each has a different feel.
Unlike many other tropical resort destinations, Puerto Vallarta is a real town with history and an interesting downtown area right on the beach. The December weather is pretty much perfect and dry, and airfares and hotel rates are very reasonable up until Christmas itself.
Costa Rica is known as the adventure travel capital of Central America, partly because a third of the country is national parks. But Costa Rica is also famous for beaches, and the best ones are mainly cluster along the northern Pacific coast in the Guanacaste region.
Costa Rica is obviously one of the hot countries in December in both temperature and popularity, so book early. Its elevation keeps it mild all year, but at least the rainy season is totally over by December, so it's an ideal month for a cheap cultural holiday, perhaps combined with a trip to one of Mexico's many beach resorts.
But even if you can't go before the last week of the month you'll still find Mexico City to be a tremendous bargain compared to pretty much anywhere else in North America. By early December the rainy season is pretty much over in Cartagena, and it cools down just a bit more than well, so the weather really doesn't get any better than this.
Cartagena is becoming a very popular winter beach destination for people from North America, and it's still a fantastic bargain compared to better known places, but it might not stay that way forever. While December is quite busy in Lima, as a very popular summer beach destination for South Americans, it's also still very reasonably priced so it's worth considering if you are exploring the continent.
The food, including its famous ceviche dishes, is a particular highlight here, and the tourist district of Miracles is packed with interesting and cheap restaurants. The weather during December is Santiago is pretty much perfect, with warm days and nights cool enough so that anyone can sleep without needing air conditioning.
It's true that Santiago is not considered a top-flight destination by everyone, but it's a fantastic base for a trip involving several stops in Chile, especially this time of year. Unlike most cities on South America's west coast, Buenos Aires has fairly consistent rainfall all year long, and you might see a bit of the wet stuff even during December.
Still, the temperatures should be ideal for being outdoors, and this is really mostly an indoor city anyway, so when it does rain you'll be able to pop into a shop or museum or café and have a great time. Hotel prices definitely go up in around Christmas so it's best to come early in the month if that's possible, but it's still a pretty good bargain even during the peak weeks.
Also consider a side trip to the Mendoza wine region, Patagonia, or the amazing water falls of Isuzu. As with most on this list, hotels get very full and more expensive just before the Christmas holidays, so it's better to come early in the month if possible.
From December through February there are literally no European cities that could qualify as having “great weather,” except for the Canary Islands, which is listed below. So during the winter Europe is all about cultural tourism, and lower hotel prices make it especially appealing for those who like to stretch their travel budgets and avoid crowds at the same time.
The largest and most English-speaking of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is no mystery to the hundreds of thousands of northern Europeans who spend a month or more here every year. Weekly and monthly apartment rentals here are very popular, but there are plenty of hotels and hundreds of restaurants for those coming for shorter periods.
If you want to be with the most English speakers you'll want to focus on the southwest area of the island around Los Cristiano and Playa de la America. In spite of its image of being blazing hot all the time, December in Cairo can actually be on the cool side, at least in the evenings.
Hotel prices do reach their peak in Cairo starting late in December, so it's best to go early in the month if possible. Cape Town obviously has its summer beginning in December, so temperatures should feel nice to anyone coming from a winter climate.
It's about as far from the equator as Los Angeles is, and it has a similar climate in reverse, meaning that it rarely gets too hot or cold, at least near the coast. This is a fairly cheap city compared to Europe or North America, so at least bargains are not hard to find on the ground once you get there.
Typical of the Tropics, the rain often hits in the afternoon, and is over 30 minutes later, leaving behind yet another amazing sunset as the clouds slowly disappear. You'll spend your days relaxing along White Beach or walking up and down the sandy paths that serve as the only real form of transport for most people.
There's a massive range of quality and prices when it comes to hotels in Bangkok, and the city is enormous as well, so you really want to do your research for this place. Most people are happier paying a bit more to stay near the river and all the tourist attractions, or even in the infamous Khoisan Road backpacker district, which is cheap and fun, if tacky.
This has become hugely popular with package tourists from Europe and Israel (and more recently Russia), and the facts that pretty much everyone speaks English and there aren't many cultural opportunities means that it's a perfect place to just vegetate in a beach chair for a week or two. If you are in the mood to tour around, Mumbai has great weather during December, and Delhi has warm days but cool evenings this time of year.
This is an outdoor city with an emphasis on hiking and exploring temples so the cooler temperatures will be welcome for most people. Hotels in Chiang Mai are among the world's greatest travel bargains, with decent private rooms available for under US$10 per night in the city center.
It's not the most famous city in Southeast Asia, but Lung Praying is incredibly popular among those who've visited, and fortunately the weather during December is pretty much perfect. Most people visit along with a trip to Bangkok and Said Reap, but other cities in Laos are worth a stop as well, especially Vang Vain (if you are a backpacker type) and Vientiane.
Phuket is incredibly popular among Europeans in December, especially the final week, of course, so it's critical to book early to get a good price at a beachfront hotel if that's your mission. It's also important to mention that Phuket is an island with more than a dozen different beach towns, each with its own personality and price range.
The prices given here are on the low side, especially during winter, so you are going to pay more unless you are willing to stay in one of the simple hotels in Phuket Town. It's actually a bit chilly in Hanoi in December, but generally very dry and exceedingly pleasant around the clock, so it's a very good time to visit.
Nearly everyone who visits Hanoi will be doing it as part of a larger tour of Vietnam or other countries in Southeast Asia, and this is one of the cooler cities this time of year, therefore a nice balance to some places that are still quite hot. Hanoi is actually the cheapest tourist city in the world according to our Backpacker Index, and that's partly due to beer and museums being incredibly cheap.
December is the coolest month of the year in Saigon (as it's locally known) and the rainy season is pretty much over by November, so this is an ideal time to come as part of a tour of Southeast Asia. HCC is not quite as cheap as Hanoi, and it's not as nice to look at either, but it's definitely worth a visit for a combination of history and culture.
December and January are the busiest two months in Dubai, primarily because it's one of the closest places to Europe that actually has warm weather this time of year and is also safe. Even though the UAE is a Muslim country, the Christmas weeks are the most expensive here because most visitors are from Europe anyway.
The December weather is actually warm enough to sit on the beach, but most people who come to Dubai tend to just relax and do a lot of shopping at one of the enormous and modern malls here. Auckland is where most international flights to New Zealand land, but most people get their fill of the crowded city within a day or two.
You can also rent a car and drive to the same places where you can stay in cabins in holiday parks/campgrounds, and small hotels and guest houses are reasonably priced as well. But renting a camper van is the classic way to see New Zealand and it can be surprisingly cheap since you'll only be paying a small fee to park for the night in the abundant campgrounds.