Destinations

12 Last-Minute Holiday Destinations

Can’t decide where to go for the holidays? Let this be your guide.
IMAGE PIXABAY/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ MAX PIXEL
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If you haven’t booked that ticket or decided on a place to escape for the holidays yet, here's our list to guide you in choosing where to spend the long Christmas break. We’ve scoured through countless travel guides, our notes from our previous trips, and the best Instagram travel tips to bring you a list with your choice of a picture-perfect white Christmas, fantastic tropical getaway, quiet and serene getaway, and more. We also checked out the websites of various airlines to see which ones offer the best travel deals.

London


London’s weather perfectly fits the holidays. 45 Park Lane and The Dorchester even offer Christmas packages so you can celebrate with ease. There are Christmas markets, a stunning array of trees and decorations, and of course, legendary shopping excursions at Harrods.

Book Now: Emirates

Paris


As Sabrina Fairchild once said, “Paris is always a good idea.” It is even more so during December, where the city turns into a magical wonderland. If the city’s shining Eiffel Tower isn’t enough to get you into the Christmas season then the opulent store displays around will. Grab some treats through the adorable SugarPlum Cake Shop, while the kids and kids at heart will surely enjoy Disneyland Paris. The streets of Paris are worth exploring with chestnut vendors straight out of a classic tale. Stay at the newly renovated historical hotel The Ritz.

Book Now: Qatar Airways

New York


Planning a last-minute trip to New York is so easy, you could do it with your eyes closed. There are numerous attractions and activities at your disposal, after all, it is referred to as the city that never sleeps. The hotel lobbies, festive windows, winter village at Bryant Park are enough to make any Scrooge festive. This year, the iconic Plaza Hotel is offering a full Home Alone 2 experience where you can recreate the Christmas classic. There's also Isaac Mizrahi's Peter and the Wolf at the Guggenheim or if you're looking for something more traditional, The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center.

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Book Now: Delta Air Lines

Tokyo


Spend the season absorbing as much as Tokyo has to offer. From fresh sushi to contemporary art, Tokyo has it all. Have a fuss-free stay at the ever-reliable Park Hyatt. Stroll through Tokyo's lively areas and streets such as Ginza, Harajuku, and Omotesando. Any of Tokyo's eateries don't disappoint, but make sure you get a taste of the finest Japanese cuisine and hospitality through Ise Sueyoshi.

Book Now: All Nippon Airways

Osaka


The second largest metropolis in Japan, Osaka is home to a wide variety of street food and a record number of Michelin star restaurants. Take a trip down the Dotonbori-Shinsaibashi area where you can find items ranging from cosmetics, clothing, and of course, the food. The bright lights and chilly weather will make you feel the Christmas spirit. Stay at the nearby Ritz-Carlton for its annual countdown party and other holiday packages. Make sure you go down to The National Museum of Art for Michio Fukuoka and Anzaï Shigeo's exhibitions.

Book Now: Delta Air Lines

Hong Kong


Spending the holidays in Hong Kong is practically a Filipino tradition. Not only is it a short two-hour flight away, but there’s an endless list of things to check out whether it be dining, shopping, or arts and culture. Stay at everyone’s favorite, the festive Peninsula Hong Kong—whose decorations and events will surely put you in the holiday mood. Aside from the numerous Michelin-starred restaurants, give the contemporary favorites a try: Howard’s Gourmet, known for its pan-fried fish filet with herbs and crispy sea cucumber. As for holiday festivities, the Galaxy Wind Ensemble will perform its much anticipated annual concert on Christmas day.

Book Now: Cathay Pacific

Singapore


Spend the holiday season in Singapore, where you can enjoy the best in art and culture, dining, and shopping. Christmas markets have become all the rage in this city-state, from the annual market at Gardens by the Bay to the ones at Orchard Road. You may also kick off the celebrations with a festive lunch at the Michelin-starred Saint Pierre restaurant. Choosing a luxury hotel to stay for the period will be a challenge with all the Christmas packages they offer: Ritz-Carlton's Taste of Christmas and Regent Singapore's Chocolate Christmas.

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Book Now: Singapore Airlines

Australia


Australia may not be the first place you think of as a destination for the holidays, but recent attractions have made this dry continent a must-visit. For food, there’s always Mr Wong, Sydney’s hottest restaurant, just make sure you make a reservation. In Melbourne, get ready to be greeted by Park Hyatt Melbourne’s famous canine concierge Mr. Walker. Drop by The National Gallery of Victoria and view its ongoing exhibition of design ornaments for your art and culture fill.

Book Now: Philippine Airlines

Cebu


Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and head to Cebu's Mactan Island. There are several luxury hotels to choose from: Two favorites are Shangri-La Mactan and Mövenpick Resort. Both are in the same area and have five-star ratings. Being seaside resorts, you can choose from sea-oriented activities including sailing, jet skiing, kayaking, parasailing, private boat charter, water ski, monoski, wake and kneeboard, windsurfing. Visit Chi, The Spa at Shangri-La Mactan for a much-needed pampering for the holidays. Check each resort for promotions and offers for the holiday season.

Book Now: Philippine Airlines

Palawan


A holiday spent at the beach? Look no further than Palawan. There are, of course, El Nido Resorts' Apulit Island, Miniloc Island, Lagen Island, and Pangulasian Island. Each has its own set of recreational activities like snorkeling, paddling, and jet skiing to make sure you see and experience the best of Palawan. If private's what you're looking for, then Club Paradise will deliver just that. Located in Coron, Palawan, the resort describes itself as, "an exclusive 19-hectare island resort hotel dotted on a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve."

Book Now: Philippine Airlines

Balesin


Trust Balesin to deliver the best and most relaxing holiday experience. The island club is home to a lot of recreational activities such as trekking, fishing, horseback riding, as well as sports, beach, and lifestyle amenities. Aside from Balesin's usual activities, the club will have Christmas celebrations that are soon-to-be-announced. To give you an overview of what to expect: Last year, Balesin had a Christmas concert series, festive holiday drinks, food and beverage specials, kiteboarding, special spa offerings, and more.

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Reserve Now: Balesin Island Club

Baguio


A Baguio Christmas is a staple for many Filipinos. The road trip to the mountain resort city adds to the fun of it all. Log cabins, tall trees, and chilly weather will surely make you feel the Christmas spirit. There are classics such as Camp John Hay and Baguio Country Club or you can opt for more homey alternatives like cozy bed and breakfasts or vacation homes for rent through Airbnb.

Book Now: Airbnb

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Paolo Chua
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