Best International Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations for Families

A mom and her young kids build a snowman, while on a Christmas vacation.
Photo Courtesy: Josue Michel

Finding the best international destinations to visit during Christmas that offer both budget-friendly activities and lots of things for families to do doesn’t have to be a daunting task! Whether you prefer snowy adventures or warm getaways, there are numerous incredible destinations around the world that won’t break the bank. From the rich cultural tapestry of Prague to the picturesque charm of Budapest and beyond, these destinations offer an array of incredible activities that cater to all ages. Not only do these international destinations provide an opportunity for cultural immersion during Christmas, but also a chance to create lasting memories with your family. We’ve compiled this list of the best international budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations for families, including things to do and more tips for visiting with kids. Keep reading to plan your next holiday getaway! 

Best Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations for Families in Europe

If you’re looking to celebrate the holiday season with your loved ones in Europe without breaking the bank, we’ve compiled a list of the best international budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations for families. From the fairytale-esque streets of Prague to the traditional Hungarian delicacies of Budapest, here are our favorite destinations to spend Christmas as a family! 

Click here to find out the Best Christmas Markets in Europe For Families

Prague, Czech Republic

Old Town Prague lit up with Christmas lights, with a decorated tree in the center - one of the best international budget-friendly destinations for Christmas for families.

Visiting Prague during Christmas with kids offers a magical experience filled with festive cheer and numerous activities to enjoy! With its fairytale-like architecture and budget-friendly prices, it’s undoubtedly one of the best budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations for families in Europe!

At the Old Town Square, there’s a Christmas market brimming with festive goodies like gingerbread cookies, hot mulled wine, and handmade ornaments. Kids will love the brightly lit Christmas tree at the center of town, towering above everyone with its elegant ornaments and twinkling lights. Charles Bridge, which leads to Kampa Island and its Christmas market, is also lavishly decorated. At Prague Castle, another must-visit, families can immerse themselves in centuries of history. Plus, holiday puppet shows at venues such as Divadlo Minor will delight kids! And if you have any aspiring musicians in your family, consider attending a concert showcasing traditional Czech carols held at gorgeous historic churches like St. Vitus Cathedral or St. Nicholas Church. 

Or, hop on the historic funicular to Petřín Hill for incredible views over the city (there’s also a carousel for kids to ride!) 

Reserve your stay in Prague through Booking.com here!

Budapest, Hungary

A Christmas market in the center of Budapest, lit up with lights.

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is undoubtedly one of the best budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations for families in Europe! From illuminated streets to festive events, the city comes alive with holiday cheer during this magical season.

One of the most famous Christmas markets in Europe is located at Vörösmarty Square. Here, families can try traditional Hungarian delicacies such as chimney cake or buy unique handmade gifts. For more outdoor fun, head to City Park, featuring a picturesque ice rink surrounded by snow-covered trees. Then, take a stroll along Andrássy Avenue—the city’s grand boulevard – to see more light displays. Sip warm cocoa from one of the many charming outdoor cafes near St. Stephen’s Basilica before witnessing an impressive Christmas light show projected onto its façade. To escape the winter chill, you can also check out Széchenyi Thermal Bath for warmth and relaxation amidst majestic surroundings!

Another one of the best things to do in Budapest with kids is to ride Budapest’s Children’s Railway. In December, this special train – famously run by elementary school students – offers a special Santa Claus train featuring the big man himself! 

Check for deals on stays in Budapest with Hotels.com now!

Best Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations for Families in North America

Whether you’re seeking snowy adventures, festive city lights, or peaceful coastal retreats, there are plenty of destinations in North America for all interests. From Canada’s wintry landscapes to Mexico’s balmy weather, here are some of our favorite cheap Christmas vacations for families! 

Find more amazing holiday travel ideas by reading about our top picks for the Best Places for Christmas Magic Around the World for Families.

Quebec City, Canada

A snowy street in Quebec City, decorated with Christmas lights, one of the best international budget-friendly destinations for Christmas for families.

Families looking for a budget-friendly holiday in Canada can’t miss Quebec City! From its charming European-inspired architecture to its scenic snowy landscapes, this historic city has so much to offer during the holiday season. 

Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site, will seem straight from a Charles Dickens novel in December, complete with twinkling lights and festive decorations. On Rue de Petit Champlain, shops offer unique gifts and delicious treats like maple taffy on snow. Place d’Youville’s German-inspired Christmas market is also reminiscent of European Christkindlmarkts, so don’t miss it if you want a more traditional experience.

There’s also a free ice skating rink so kids can enjoy playing against this historic backdrop. Another highlight during Christmas is seeing the iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac dressed up in all its glory! At nearby Terrasse Dufferin, there’s also a toboggan slide that kids can zoom down. Meanwhile, Parc Aquarium de Québec offers interactive exhibits featuring arctic marine life like polar bears and seals. 

Plan your stay by reading our Fun 4-Day Itinerary for Quebec City with Kids!

Mexico City, Mexico

People ice skating at a rink in Mexico City with a huge Christmas tree nearby.

During the holiday season, Mexico City becomes even more magical with its lively festive spirit! As one of the best budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations for families, this dynamic city boasts a vibrant atmosphere, rich cultural heritage, and lots of fun activities for kids during Christmastime. 

Families can soak up the magical atmosphere at Zocalo, Mexico City’s main square, which features a beautiful Christmas tree, colorful lights, and an ice skating rink. Plus, there’s a man-made sledding hill that kids and adults can try! Take a second to appreciate the elaborate nativity scene inside the Cathedral, those spanning the square, and along Paseo de la Reforma.

Or, stroll to the Mercado de San Juan to explore various stalls selling traditional Mexican cuisine and more exotic food. Floreria Mercado Jamaica, the largest flower market in the city, is also nearby. Further south in the Coyoacán neighborhood, families can shop for gifts and traditional Mexican handicrafts at the iconic Mercado de Coyoacán. Plus, this is also where you’ll find Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s former residence turned museum. 

Reserve your room in Mexico City using Booking.com!

Best Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations for Families in South America/The Caribbean

South America and the Caribbean offer a ton of exciting options for families seeking an international getaway without breaking the bank! From the beaches of the Dominican Republic to the cobblestone streets of Colombia, these cheap Christmas vacations for families boast breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and a variety of family-friendly activities. Keep reading to learn more about the best affordable Christmas destinations for families! 

Here are 15 Hot Places To Visit In December That Families Will Love (+ Where To Stay)

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

A street in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, one of the best international budget-friendly destinations for Christmas for families, decorated with colorful umbrellas overhead.
Photo Courtesy: Reynaldo Brigworkz Brigantty

Enjoy the sun, sand, and a ton of family fun when you plan a family vacation to Puerto Plata! Though it may not be your typical holiday destination, this vibrant city in the Dominican Republic boasts plenty of activities that’ll make your Christmas cozy and carefree. 

To get in the holiday spirit, be sure to wander around the historical center of Puerto Plata. Admire the architecture on famous streets like Paseo de Dona Blanca and the “Umbrella Street,” which will be decorated with twinkling lights and other festive ornaments. Of course, take advantage of the nice weather and visit beaches like Playa Dorada or Sosua Beach. Kids can build sandcastles, swim, or try exciting water sports such as snorkeling or paddleboarding.

Then, at Ocean World Adventure Park, they can also see various marine species up close through interactive exhibits or even swim with dolphins! For more outdoor fun, head to Mount Isabel de Torres National Park. Finally, save time to ride the cable car ride leading up to amazing panoramic views of Puerto Plata! 

Looking for more ideas? Read about the Best All-Inclusive Resorts In The Caribbean For Families By Country.

Panama

Colorful buildings in Panama City.
Photo Courtesy: Angel Lopez

Panama, with its stunning combination of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, is one of the best budget-friendly Christmas destinations for families in South America! Since this tropical country lies below the equator, late December marks the beginning of summer here, making it the perfect time to soak up the sun while still enjoying some Christmas spirit. 

Panama City, the country’s urban hub, presents a mix of history, modernity, and cultural experiences. One must-visit location for families is the Biomuseo, which showcases the country’s rich biodiversity in a fun and interactive way. For history enthusiasts, Casco Viejo, the old town, is filled with charm and character. Explore the narrow, cobbled streets lined with colorful colonial buildings, fascinating ruins, and festive decorations! Plus, kids can learn more about the Panama Canal at the Panama Canal Museum. Then, spot the actual canal from Miraflores Locks, a center close to the city, which also has a museum on-site. 

Looking for more places to visit in Panama with kids? Check out Boquete, a picturesque town known for its coffee plantations. Kids can learn about the process of growing coffee at destinations such as Don Pepe Estate Coffee Farm. Don’t forget about Soberania National Park – a lush rainforest teeming with monkeys, sloths, toucans, and countless other bird species! 

Discover our top picks for the Best Places To Visit In South America With Kids For An Unforgettable Adventure.

Colombia

A dad proudly holds his two kids, one in each arm, during a family photo shoot in Cartagena, one of the best international budget-friendly destinations for Christmas for families.
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

With fantastic sunny weather, delicious food, and lots to do with kids, Colombia showcases plenty of magical experiences during the festive Christmas season. No wonder this South American country tops many lists when it comes to the best international budget-friendly Christmas or holiday destinations for families! This South American country comes alive throughout December with various traditions, from elaborate nativity scenes to El Noche de las Velitas (the night of the candles) on December 7th. 

Medellín is famous for its annual Christmas lights, which span different locations throughout the city through various displays. The route starts on La Playa Avenue, and continues along the Medellín River down La Playa to Bolívar Park. Small pueblos near Medellín, like Guatapé, Jardín, and Santa Fe de Antioquia, feature pretty lights and a picturesque ambiance during Christmastime too.

In Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city, families can explore the enchanting streets of the La Candelaria neighborhood, which will be decorated for Christmas, or wander around the mesmerizing Gold Museum. Though less famous than Medellín, Bogotá also puts on its own Christmas lights displays throughout the city. 

In Cartagena, kids will love exploring the festive and decorated Old Town, climbing the walls of Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, and taking a horse-drawn carriage ride around the city. The Rosario Islands are just a boat ride away, featuring snorkeling or sandcastle building. For nature enthusiasts, a trip to Tayrona National Natural Park is a must. Or, head to San Andrés for water sports, from snorkeling to kayaking. Finally, learn about Where To Stay In Cartagena That Kids Will Love and plan your trip using our Multi-Day Cartagena Itinerary For Families.

Research places to stay in Cartagena with Booking.com here!

Merry Christmas!

A young child wearing red, looks at Christmas treats through a window, while exploring Munich.

We hope you liked this list of the Best International Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations for Families! From the magic of Canada’s winter landscape to traditional Christmas markets in Europe, there are so many possibilities for a wonderful Christmas. Merry Christmas, and enjoy your holiday travels with your family! 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

READ MORE:

Popular Reads
A dad and his young daughter walk up to a waterslide at Yas Island.
Your Family’s Guide To Visiting Yas Island In Abu Dhabi

If you want an epic family vacation that's filled with adventure, entertainment, and fun, you may love Yas Island in Read more

Large family enjoying family dinner
How to Recharge Your Batteries as a Family Before School Starts

Wondering how to recharge your batteries as a family before school starts? With many vacation plans disrupted due to COVID-19, Read more

Father and daughter walk along a ski hill in Alpendorf, Austria.
Your Family’s Guide to Skiing in Alpendorf With Kids This Winter

Your family’s guide to skiing in Alpendorf with kids this winter is finally here! Famous for skiing, snowboarding, and other Read more

People ski across the snow near Niseko.
Best Ski Resorts In Japan For Families

Japan is a ski lover's paradise, with ski resorts for families nestled among its beautiful mountain landscapes. The powdery snow Read more

Thanks for reading!

Love our content?

Stay in the know by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

Immerse yourself in a world of limitless exploration by joining us on Instagram at families.love.travel.

Join our vibrant Facebook community, "Families Who Love to Travel," (where family travelers like you can ask for advice and share tips with other families!).

Plus, you can read our latest articles by following our Facebook page.

Shop for Family Travel Memorabilia on Shop Families Love Travel.

Latest Articles

Child hiking trail through Yellowstone National park.

How to Plan a Yellowstone National Park Family Vacation

Everyone knows that Yellowstone National Park makes for a classic family vacation. Strolling the boardwalks...

Read More...
A family of five stands on a sandy beach on a sunny day in Turks and Caicos.

Best Beaches® Turks and Caicos Review By A UK Family

Beaches Turks and Caicos may not seem like a typical vacation destination for a UK...

Read More...
Three children swimming in blue water in Cayman Islands.

All About the Cayman Islands With Kids: Important Information You Need to Know

If you’re traveling to the Cayman Islands with kids, there’s some important information you need...

Read More...

Travel Gift Ideas

National Park With Kids

Family Travel Tips

A mom holds her infant son on an airplane.

Use These 10 Tips For Your Baby’s First Flight

Families Who Love To Travel contributor Meghan Oaks provides her 10 best tips for your...

Read More...
A young boy plays with legos on his airplane tray table during a flight.

18 Exciting Travel Toys For Young Kids That Will Keep Them Entertained The Whole Trip

When you're planning a family vacation, it's important to pack travel toys that will keep...

Read More...
Baby girl with floral headband chewing on string of wooden cheese toy

6 Best Travel Toys for Toddlers on a Road Trip

What are the best travel toys for toddlers? With help from our Facebook community, Families...

Read More...

Families Love Travel Team

The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.