Home » The top 8 destinations to travel to (and give back to) in December 2022

The top 8 destinations to travel to (and give back to) in December 2022

written by Intrepid Travel October 26, 2020

UPDATED: This article was originally published in September 2017, updated in January 2022

December would usually see us sipping mulled wine in winter markets across Europe or dipping our toes in the Pacific Ocean, and while you can definitely still do that, our yearly travel round up is going in a different direction. 

In this year’s round up, we’re still going to be suggesting exactly where you should be travelling to in December but also we’re also going to take a look at what the locals will be up to, as well as sharing details of some of The Intrepid Foundation’s projects in various corners of the globe. While we might not have been able to travel as much as we’d have liked to this year (or travel at all depending on your circumstances), some of us may still be in the fortunate position to be able to support local communities in need.

Founded in 2002, The Intrepid Foundation was established to give travellers a way to support trustworthy organisations and give back to the communities they’ve visited. Since its creation, The Intrepid Foundation has raised over AU $10 million for over 130 non-government organisations around the world for projects that tackle major issues like climate change, conservation, wildlife protection, education and child protection.

1. Tanzania

Group of Tanzanian porters.

Image c/o The Intrepid Foundation.

December in Tanzania is a lively and colourful time of year. It’s tradition to gift children with new clothes around Christmas time, often hand-sewn from bright patterned fabric more eye catching than any Christmas tree. Tanzanians love their beer, or “bia” in Swahili, and many villages brew their own. The beer is cracked open on Christmas Eve and clicked together over tasty chapati and spicy meat with rice.

On Mount Kilimanjaro, porters work tirelessly throughout the year to ensure the safety and comfort of trekkers. It’s a competitive job, and many tour companies offer low pay and poor working conditions. The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project’s important mission is to improve the working conditions on Mount Kilimanjaro by helping travel companies implement procedures that ensure the fair and ethical treatment of porters.

Top trips: 

Learn more about the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project

2. Peru

In the Andean communities of the Cusco region, reading coca leaves can give a glimpse of the year ahead. This spiritual practice has taken place since before Incan times, and has helped people make important decisions regarding their families and futures. Throwing the leaves in the air and observing the way they land on the ground is said to display signs and omens of events that are yet to happen (we wish they’d warned us about the early 2020s).

In the city of Cusco, the Manos Unidas Café provides those with intellectual disabilities vocational training and practical work experience to help with future employment. The friendly staff serve up some of the best food and coffee in Cusco, while the café offers community workshops for locals on job rights, personal empowerment and other valuable life skills.

Top trips:

Learn more about the Manos Unidas Café.


3. Antarctica

Whale breaching

Image by Thomas Kelley.

While it’s neighbouring continents are experiencing scorching summers, Antarctic temperatures peak at a cool zero, and fascinating and magical things begin to take place. As the days grow longer and temperatures gently rise, the sound of ice falling from giant glaciers reverberates through the vast landscapes, and humpback whales return from tropical waters. Seal pups are born, tiny penguins begin to hatch, and it’s courting season for seabirds.

In the twentieth century, over two million whales were hunted for commercial use, with some species nearing extinction. The WWF project “Protecting Antarctic Giants” focuses on protecting Antarctic habitats and the species that live in them. By collecting crucial data to inform policy plans, by 2030 the WWF hope to designate a third of the Southern Ocean as a marine protected area to safeguard the environment for future generations of whales.

Top trips: 

Learn more about the WWF Protecting Antarctic Giants project.

4. Brazil

A sultry samba beat is the soundtrack to Brazil’s endless summer days. The sun is hot, the sea is warm and the closest thing they’re getting to snow is dreamy white sand beaches. Plastic pine trees are covered in tinsel and lights, and Christmas dinner is a reflection of Brazil’s fusion of cultures. Across the country locals will be tucking into Portuguese cod, German stollen, and Italian panettone.

In Rio de Janeiro you’ll find Gastromotiva, a zero-waste cooking school and restaurant which allows students experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage the opportunity to learn how to prepare amazing food in a sustainable way. After six months of training, students are placed in local restaurants, providing them with employment and the chance to spread an important zero-waste message.

Top trips: 

Learn more about Gastromotiva.


5. Vietnam

Despite being a predominantly Buddhist country, Christmas is widely celebrated across Vietnam, with families coming together to throw confetti, share food and exchange gifts. Throngs of motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City zip under impressive light displays that would rival London’s Oxford Street. In Hanoi, locals’ shop for scarves and winter clothes in the Old Quarter before warming up with hearty bowls of Pho and rich egg coffee.

KOTO – Know One, Teach One is a social enterprise that trains and empowers at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. The two-year training program not only teaches trainees skills in hospitality and the culinary arts, but also offers on-site psychological counselling, meditation exercises and workshops for personal development. Since KOTO’s inception in 1999, nearly a thousand graduates have completed the program with an internationality recognised qualification, all successfully finding employment post-training.

Top trips: 

Learn more about KOTO – Know One, Teach One.

6. Morocco

Two Moroccan girls laughing

Image c/o The Intrepid Foundation

It’s winter in Morocco, and the nights in the desert are growing long and cold, while inhabitants of its humming cities welcome a break from the dry heat that engulfs the country for much of the year. A bright side to the shorter days is the incredible sunrises which can be appreciated without an early wakeup call, and the snow-capped Atlas Mountains make a beautiful backdrop for December in Morocco.

As many as 80% of girls in rural areas of Morocco are estimated to be illiterate. The cost of transport and accommodation for secondary school is unaffordable for many families, meaning few girls are able to continue their education after primary school. Education for All build and run boarding houses which allow girls to attend secondary school, while providing three meals a day, access to computers and support with their studies.

Top trips:

Learn more about Education for All.

7. Sri Lanka

December’s full moon marks the beginning of the Adam’s Peak pilgrimage season, which sees visitors from across the country ascending Sri Lanka’s holiest mountain to view a sacred footprint. Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims have differing opinions on the origin of the footprint yet climb together in harmony to pay their respects. Locals will enjoy mild weather in the south of the country, and spend free time surfing, playing volleyball and backyard cricket.

Human and elephant conflict is an ongoing problem in Sri Lanka. Humans destroy elephant’s habitats to cultivate agricultural land, and the elephants in turn raid the crops and destroy farmer’s homes. The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society developed Project Orange Elephant, which encourages farmers to grow oranges, a crop that elephants aren’t attracted to, thus keeping the elephants safe while supporting the livelihood of local communities.

Top trips: 

Learn more about the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society.


8. Turkey

Turkey is buzzing in the lead up to New Year’s Eve, one of the biggest holidays in the country. If you’re looking for luck, prosperity and health in the coming year, there are a few Turkish traditions you can try out as the clock ticks over. Smash a pomegranate on the street, throw salt on your doorstep, or wear red underwear for your best chance at a fruitful year ahead.

At Small Projects Istanbul, refugee women who have been displaced from their homes by conflict are given access to educational material and taught language, leadership and computer skills. They also learn how to craft sellable products like unique and beautiful clothing and jewellery. Children are offered childcare, language and psychosocial support to help them adapt to their new schools.

Top trips: 

Learn more about Small Projects Istanbul.


Looking for a worthy cause to support this festive season? Lend a hand to Communities in Crisis around the world.

Not looking to travel in October? No worries, here’s the rest of the year 


or check out our full list of monthly destination guides.

Hero image via Shutterstock.

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Aalya December 26, 2021 - 8:48 pm

Thank you very much for sharing a great information.

Jayaram Thapaliya July 4, 2021 - 1:01 pm

I read your blog post and it was very informative. I would like to visit Peru after reading this post. If you update this article as the top 9 destinations (we wish) we could travel to in December 2021, I request you to add Nepal as well.

Ritik March 9, 2021 - 12:52 am

I read your blog post and it was amazing they are full of information .

Mona March 4, 2021 - 1:45 am

Thank you for posting this helpful blog on the best blogs.

Mona March 4, 2021 - 1:43 am

Thank you very much for sharing a great information. I appreciate your time and effort in your work. Keep posting

Perth Is Ok February 10, 2021 - 5:02 pm

I love travel and this is amazing idea to visit on these places. Definitely will try to visit on these places.

Srishti Verma December 27, 2020 - 12:42 am

I am also planning to go somewhere, my tricks are inspired from your suggestions like travel with local bus with my friends and stay in normal good hotels which are not so expensive, Thanks for your help.

Pocket Wanderings December 22, 2020 - 3:31 am

So many amazing destinations… Let’s hope we can tick some of them off next December!

Noah Coax December 21, 2020 - 8:58 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I am planning a trip to turkey this month because I always wanted to experience their culture. I am very excited for the new year eve in turkey!!

Jez December 3, 2020 - 1:45 pm

I want to spend atleast one time at Antarctica 🙁 because it’s my dream place. maybe next december 🙂

Kavin October 6, 2020 - 8:32 pm

I wish if I can go to Japan This year

Mona Verma June 3, 2020 - 9:28 pm

Really a great and informative article. I was really looking for such informative article .

Udai April 5, 2020 - 1:33 am

Really a great and informative article. I was really looking for such informative article .

Ravi April 1, 2020 - 10:23 pm

Thanks for giving your valuable time and sharing this very important post for making trips comfortable and convenient.

Mona Verma March 24, 2020 - 2:49 am

I read your blog post and it was amazing they are full of information . I would like to visit one of these places.

Mona Verma March 17, 2020 - 10:12 pm

This is a great blog. I am impressed with your good work. You put in great effort. Thanks.

Travelling Enthusiast January 28, 2020 - 4:40 pm

I love travelling. This is a very informative article!!

Ritika December 26, 2019 - 1:27 am

Thank you posting this useful blog . I was really impressed by the content. A lot of helpful tips can be gained from this blog. Looking forward to read your next post.

Anonymous December 11, 2019 - 1:22 am

Thanks sooo much!

Suzain George December 3, 2019 - 9:50 pm

Nice article, Very informative content to plan a holiday. Waiting for such more posts.

John November 26, 2019 - 2:25 pm

For me very surprising place to visit in December is Antarctica ?

Sarika November 26, 2019 - 5:12 am

Wonderful places with great photography. I like you post.

Sheron November 14, 2019 - 4:58 pm

Off to Galapagos in few days ! Can’t wait !

Stella September 4, 2019 - 5:14 pm

Singapore is the best place which you can visit in December.

Travel In Time Now April 29, 2019 - 6:10 pm

Amazing article, nice and useful information to plan holidays. Great work!!!

Pashmina @TheGoneGoat December 2, 2018 - 6:40 pm

These places hit the spot in travelling to December and January! I have even got a special one with places to go where there are less crowds, and slightly offbeat. I go in detail over here: https://www.thegonegoat.com/inspiration-and-tips/2018/11/29/the-best-places-to-travel-december-january

Mark November 13, 2018 - 10:53 am

I’d consider a New Zealand trip between December 25-January 2

Travelouts(Cheap Flights) November 12, 2018 - 6:40 pm

This is the best travel tips I ever read. I love traveling too

Greg Heidel September 3, 2018 - 6:22 am

I have also sold everything and am heading out in about 10 days, let the adventure begin! I hope I am never the same…

Meurig Jones August 15, 2018 - 12:42 am

Best travel experience in December is Antarctica

raghav sharma July 26, 2018 - 2:32 am

Amazing article, nice and useful information to plan holidays. Great work!!!

Lydia October 29, 2017 - 10:51 pm

Can’t wait for december to come to experience these magic moments!:D

Anonymous October 17, 2017 - 7:40 am

Vienna in December is wonderful. A must and should have been included.

Ralph Quito October 11, 2017 - 6:04 pm

Miranda this is great! It is such a lovely article and I find that the photos are lovely as well. It’s just amazing how you put all these together on “THE TOP DESTINATIONS FOR TRAVEL IN DECEMBER” with such great tips! Looking forward to more of these.

Rosalind October 2, 2017 - 9:19 pm

NZ is the best place to go at Christmas. Australia is nice too but too hot in the summer. NZ has lovely warm sea breezy days, amazing gourmet food and world class wines, deserted beaches and friendly locals.

Jo September 26, 2017 - 8:51 pm

I am interested in trips to india

Rebecca Shapiro September 27, 2017 - 6:33 am

Hi Jo! Feel free to check out our many different itineraries in India (http://www.intrepidtravel.com/india) and let me know if you’d be interested in booking one :). Feel free to reach out anytime to Rebecca.Shapiro@intrepidtravel.com

jessicahische September 23, 2017 - 6:22 pm

In my travel experience, Australia is the best travel destination in December.


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