Don't panic, but Christmas is just 305 short days away **alarm bells start ringing**.While that might sound rather dramatic, Christmas and New Year are two of the most popular dates in the travel calendar and if you'd rather swap Brussels sprouts for beach scenes or awkward gatherings with the extended family for an adventure with your nearest and dearest, then now is the time to start planning. And if that hasn't persuaded you to get a wriggle on then these just might…

steam ship sudan

Christmas Cruising on the Nile, Egypt

Is there a travel experience more evocative than cruising down the Nile on an authentic 19th Century steam ship? The Steam Ship Sudan takes oriental opulence to the next level and guests will drift past some of Egypt's most iconic sites, including Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Edfu and the Temple of Karnak. Combine with a few days of R&R at The Old Cataract hotel overlooking the Nile from the Nubian desert and you have a Christmas getaway for the ages.

fireworks on copacabana beach

New Year in Rio

If there's one city on the planet that knows how to throw a party then it is surely Rio de Janeiro. Millions of people, dressed in customary white, descend on the beaches on New Year's Eve to watch mind-blowing fireworks in the proverbial shadow of two of the world's topographical heavyweights in Sugar Loaf and Corcovado mountain - possibly the most aesthetically pleasing New Year's party ever.

reindeer sleigh ride

Visit Father Christmas in Finland

This is the ultimate Christmas experience for kids (and big kids); travelling to Finnish Lapland to see Father Christmas as he prepares himself for the big day. Visit him in residence while his elves serve hot drinks and ginger biscuits. And the fun doesn't stop there; while daylight is limited during winter, there's always time to fit in some adventurous activities, like dog-sledding and ice fishing.

the kenyan coast

Bush and Beach in Kenya

If you're struggling to decide between a relaxing beach break and an action-packed adventure for your Christmas escape then may we point you in the direction of the best of both worlds - a bush and beach trip to Kenya. Think phenomenal game in the Masai Mara followed by swathes of undisturbed beach on the Kenyan Coast.

jodupur mehrangarah fort

New Year in Rajasthan

For a New Year's Eve with a cultural slant there is nowhere better than Rajasthan's Mehrangarh Fort, which dates back to the 1400s and sits pretty above the blue city of Jodhpur. Within its imposing walls are several palaces and expansive courtyards - a truly magical location for a celebration. Revellers will enjoy drinks on the ramparts hosted by HRH Maharaja Gaj Singh and a night of music, fire eating (best left to the professionals) and fireworks.

ski tracks off piste

Skiing in Jackson Hole, USA

Averaging a staggering 33ft of snow a year, with a backdrop of the Teton mountains and a distinct American cowboy vibe, Jackson Hole is one of North America's best ski resorts. The resort has shaken off its 'advanced skiers only' reputation having invested heavily over the past ten yeas in new routes and lifts to cater better for intermediates and beginners, while the apres ranges from live music to open art gallery evenings. Classy.