How to make the most of your Christmas annual leave
Never been abroad for Christmas? You don't know what you're missing. With picture-perfect markets, breathtaking snowscapes or even the possibility of some hot weather to help you stave off the winter blues, there's plenty to like about a festive getaway.
Still not convinced? Let us twist your arm a little further. Did you know that this Christmas, you can take just four days of annual leave and get a truly joyous 11 days off work? All you need to do in order to level up your Christmas break is book off Christmas Eve, 27 December, 28 December and 31 December.
As to where to go, the Citybond team has compiled a shortlist of five fantastic locations to help you make your newfound extended break feel even longer.
Quite simply we can’t think of a more festive place than Lapland, the actual home of Father Christmas, to spend crimbo in. Lapland is so closely tied to the story of Christmas that you could be forgiven for thinking it doesn't really exist. But we promise it does, and you can even fly there - by plane, not sleigh - in three and a half hours from Heathrow. Once you're in Lapland, you simply have to visit the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. This festive wonderland offers you the chance to learn Old Saint Nick's secrets (such as the rotational speed of the Earth) and even come face to face with the big man himself.
You're pretty much guaranteed to see snow if you visit the Russian capital this December. But that's not the only reason to pay a visit to Moscow; the city also stages one of Europe's most visually spectacular, and coldest, New Year's Eve fireworks displays, set against the world-famous backdrop of Red Square. Plus, what better way to see in 2019 than with a shot of vodka in one of the many bars located in the trendy district of Krasny Oktyabr. Best of all, you can be back in the UK in just four hours, because no one wants to endure a long-haul flight one day and be back at work the next.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Another top tip: maximise your festive holiday time by choosing a destination with an easily accessible airport. Schiphol is a great example. Hop off the plane, pick up your baggage, stroll down the sloping walkway toward the station and catch a train straight to the heart of Amsterdam - the journey takes less than half an hour. Of course, there's much more than just the logistics to recommend about visiting the Dutch capital this Christmas. The beautiful Amsterdam Light Festival runs throughout December, you can eat your body weight in deep-fried snacks at the Christmas Markets, and the city's nightlife is second to none.
Celebrating the festive season in Europe is all well and good, but if you fancy something a little more exotic, not to mention warm, then Hong Kong could be the perfect fit. The towering skyscrapers and mountains of this former British colony provide a truly unforgettable backdrop for the city's New Year's Eve fireworks display, held in the glamorous Victoria Harbour. Don't fancy fighting for the best spot? Catch the action from the luxurious setting of one of Hong Kong's many hotels with a view; some of the best vistas can be enjoyed at the Park Lane and Hotel Icon.
We can't resist a bargain especially at Christmas when there are dozens of presents to buy. So if you're anything like us you'll find it hard to say no to the prospect of a seven-night all-inclusive stay at a five-star hotel in Marrakech for the knock-down price of £698 per person at the time of writing, including flights. It’s a great option if you can only take Christmas week off and with average high temperatures in December of 20C, you should still be able to relax around the pool. You'll need to set off on 22nd December to take advantage of this highly tempting offer from Teletext Holidays, meaning you'll also be back in time to ring in the New Year in good old Blighty.
Wherever you plan on heading to over the coming months it’s good to know that Citybond Suretravel is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.
Please note, for any new policy purchased or holiday booked after 21st March, whichever is the later, our policies do not provide cover for cancellation, abandonment or curtailment claims if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all or “all but essential” travel. Our policies will also not cover any claims caused by or relating to Coronavirus, COVID-19, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-COV-2), any mutation of Coronavirus, COVID-19 or SARs-COV-2 or any pandemic or fear or threat of any the above. We also can not cover any claims relating to any fear or threat concerning these viruses. This general exclusion applies to all sections of cover except for Section "Emergency medical expenses abroad". Please click here for more information. Please note we can only provide cover for trips booked on or after the 17th March 2020, where your trip starts on or after the date that travel resumes for all EU residents and the country you are due to visit has lifted restrictions.
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