Traveling and Spending Christmas Alone? 5 Ideas to Keep Your Christmas Spirit Alive!

by Gabby Beckford
Reading Time: 6 minutes

There are a lot of reasons you might be spending Christmas alone this year. Maybe you’re like me (a digital nomad who loves to travel) and you see the holidays as a perfect solo travel opportunity! Or, maybe you’re facing some unique circumstances, and spending Christmas alone makes you feel sad and stressed.

So what should you do if you’re celebrating Christmas solo? How can you have a good time if you are alone for Christmas? Where should you travel for Christmas as a digital nomad?

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How to enjoy Christmas if you’re alone

The holiday season can be hectic for a million reasons. Family get-togethers, gift shopping, scheduling conflicts, the list goes on. 

You may be choosing to spend Christmas alone to avoid all that stress. Or, you might not celebrate Christmas at all and you want something exciting to do while everyone is out of the office.

Either way, you're probably looking for a way to make December feel special.

How does a solo trip sound?

As a digital nomad, I’ve had my fair share of solo Christmas mornings and I’ve learned that the best way to enjoy the experience is to travel solo and embrace your independence. 

Why solo travel is the best cure for any holiday blues

While it may sound unconventional, traveling is an amazing way to spend Christmas alone. 

There are so many benefits to solo travel, like having the freedom to make your perfect itinerary and gaining confidence in yourself while exploring the world. 

Traveling solo during Christmas is no different! I’ve actually found it even more empowering to make the holidays my own and treat myself to a little extra self-love during this season. 

Celebrating Christmas alone doesn’t have to be a depressing experience at all. Embrace your inner digital nomad and plan that dream trip you've been meaning to take, but couldn't find any friends to go with you.

Are you looking to visit a super merry city full of holiday cheer? Or do you want to escape the glitter and twinkly lights?

Decide how you want to celebrate the holiday, then find a destination that matches your energy and embark on your perfect solo travel escape.

spending christmas alone

Go to a magical Christmas destination in Norway

Being alone doesn't mean you have to ignore the festivities at all. As a matter of fact, if you love traditions like decorating the tree or making gingerbread, you might feel worse if you just completely avoid Christmas.   

Instead of running away from the cheesy Hallmark vibes, go somewhere that matches your holiday energy!

There are so many places around the world with unique Christmas traditions that feel extra magical. You can find a whole roundup of the best cheery adventures in this blog post and get some inspiration for where to go during December.

From exploring frozen ice domes in Norway to visiting the famous Santa Claus village in Finland, there are tons of cities to visit that provide storybook holiday experiences for the tradition-loving traveler. 

Visit Morocco and trade the snow for a desert safari

Another great way to enjoy a 100% stress-free Christmas is by traveling somewhere the holiday isn’t even celebrated. 

Not everyone needs to do the holidays traditionally.

If you’re not vibing with Rudolph’s energy this year, choose a destination where you can appreciate completely different cultural traditions instead of forcing yourself to have a holly-jolly vacation.

Here's how to spend Christmas alone and make everyone jealous while doing it 😎✈️ Click To Tweet

Morocco is one of the most beautiful places to go in December when you're craving a getaway. It's warm, the skies are clear, and the tourist season just ended which means less crowded streets. Plus, since the country has a majority Muslim population Christmas isn't typically celebrated. 

Trade in old traditions for bucket-list adventures.

Connect with one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes and embark on a Sahara Desert safari, full of stargazing and sand dunes as far as the eye can see. Replace the reindeer with camels for the most incredible expedition.

For your Christmas dinner, head to Marrakech where you can take a cooking class with locals, learning about traditional culinary dishes before digging into a homemade feast. Trust me, anything you cook here will be tastier than the dry holiday ham most people will be eating back home.

Travel to Turkey to escape the Christmas vibes all together

Turkey is another dreamy destination for experienced digital nomads and solo travelers. After living here for a few weeks, I have some 10/10 recommendations for things to do during your trip.

Instead of unwrapping gifts from under a Christmas tree, head out to the stunning Turkish markets throughout Istanbul! The most famous shopping destination here is the Grand Bazaar, but I found plenty of smaller markets that offered amazing deals, too. 

You can find anything and everything in these markets: lamps, rugs, and my favorite – clothes as far as the eye can see. I'd take a holiday shopping spree over a weird sweater from that one distant relative any day of the week.

Turkey is also home to exceptional food, so your Christmas dinner is sure to be extra delicious. And, if you want an unforgettable end-of-year excursion, take flight in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia.

alone for christmas

Make your own holiday traditions!

No matter where you go, you can always find a creative way to celebrate the holidays. 

Get together with other digital nomads and solo travelers and make this season your own with some unique activities!

  • Throw your own little holiday party with friends who feel like family. 
  • Focus on giving back by volunteering during the season.  
  • Do a digital nomad gift exchange with people from around the world. 

These are just a few ideas to help you feel less lonely on Christmas while traveling. Even though it's a little unconventional, it can still be a joyful time of year.

Feeling lonely during the holidays anyways? Do this…

Even if you’re having an amazing solo travel adventure, you might start feeling sad or lonely on Christmas, and that’s 100% okay. 

A lot of people feel a little lonely during the holidays, even if they’re surrounded by friends and family. Remember that loneliness is a perfectly normal feeling to have.

Plan a few fun activities to do if you start feeling a little sad while solo traveling during the holidays:

  • Facetime your best friend
  • Call your family and spend Christmas morning with them virtually
  • Talk a walk through your new city and grab your favorite breakfast
  • Connect with other travelers in the Young Travelers Network on Facebook

And use this as a chance to make some new traditions for yourself! This time of year is perfect for doing some self-reflection, setting new goals, and celebrating your personal victories. 

How I spent Christmas solo in Dubai!

Spending Christmas solo is nothing new for me. When I decided to become a full-time digital nomad, I knew my life would look different than most people's. That includes how I spend the holidays.

Some of my favorite memories from this time of year actually took place during my solo trips. Meeting new people and engaging with other cultural traditions are some of the things I love most about travel, and the experiences I've had during the holidays are extra special. 

I spent Christmas in Dubai a few years ago, and it was unforgettable. Since Dubai’s population is so diverse, I took this opportunity to learn about other holiday traditions.

One group of friends invited me to learn about Eid with them and I was beyond thankful. This is a holiday many Americans don’t get to learn about, and might not even know exists, so celebrating it with locals was easily one of my favorite Dubai memories.

The city also has a relatively high population of Jewish residents, so I got to celebrate a traditional Hannukah with another group of friends.

I even found a community of Black travelers from the states who were celebrating both Qwanza and Christmas! Since both of those holidays are American, I was able to enjoy a little home away from home.

Mexico showed me a whole different side of Christmas

Last year, I spent the holidays in Mexico City. I was solo traveling here for about 2 months and it didn’t make sense to go home for just one day. 

So instead, I decided to embrace the chance to learn about the Christmas traditions in Mexico, a predominantly Catholic and Christian country. Even though we share the same holiday, I knew my customs would be very different from theirs.

Usually, I don’t observe many religious practices, so this was a great chance to learn about the spiritual rituals around Christmas. By learning about their religion, I also got a deeper understanding of their culture, which is the best gift I could ask for. 

Mexico City at christmas
Mexico City travel

Mexico celebrates in a more serious and intimate way than we do in the U.S. Americans are usually focused on more commercial elements of the season. Here – Christmas is a time of reverence and exaltation. It was much less focused on materialistic things and much more observant of the peace and joy at the core of the Biblical story.

I got to have dinner with a Mexican family who taught me all about what they eat during the season, their religious ceremonies, and what they love most about the holiday. 

Culturally immersive experiences like these are something I recommend no matter where you are in the world. Celebrating other winter holidays not only distracts you from the fact that it's Christmas back home, but it also teaches you about other traditions in a very special way.

Spending Christmas alone doesn't have to be some big scary event. Make it an opportunity to try something new and boost your confidence with a solo travel adventure that you may end up loving even more than a traditional holiday!


What should I do if I'm spending Christmas alone?

No plans this holiday season? Well, then it's time to seize the day and travel solo! Why not take this opportunity when everyone's out of the office to go visit a dream destination? You can learn all about solo travel here to prepare for your holiday adventure.

What is solo travel?

Solo travel is the art of going somewhere new 100% alone. There are a lot of reasons you might do this, like avoiding flaky friends or seeing some bucket list destinations. If you want to learn everything about traveling solo, read this blog post!

Are you traveling solo this Christmas? Where are you headed?
Share your plans in the comments below!

spend christmas alone
Gabby Beckford

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