Whether it’s a new smartphone that everyone not-so-subtly suggests they want for a Christmas present, a new movie that tells the same trite story of comic misunderstandings and redemption just in time for presents, or shockingly low discounts on everything from television sets to luxury sedans, the holiday season brings crazes like it does snow: unfailingly and in abundance. This year, the trend is travel.

New Christmas Wish Lists

Getting fed up of inclement weather, relatives & in-laws and long checkout lines, people are looking away from home to celebrate the holidays. Travel Leaders Group says that end-of-year travel traffic is up 76% from last year, with people booking their trips at least six months in advance – partly for logistical reasons, but also probably motivated out of a desire to get away from the holiday hustle and bustle as soon as they can.

What People Are Looking For

When it comes to what people actually want to do on their holidays, research done by Hilton Hotels & Resorts finds that vacationers are looking for family-friendly pools and water-based resorts.Kids’ clubs are a big plus, allowing children to play and make new friends while parents can enjoy themselves at their own leisure. Children, unsurprisingly, are more apt to make use of the resort’s aqua-recreational facilities, while adults are more content to relax and check off items on the checklist that mom provided the resort before their family’s arrival – another trend. The Hilton found that it’s moms are increasingly doing the research, planning, preparation and booking for the holiday.

Families are becoming more specific in their needs and wants for a perfect Christmas getaway, with the Hilton explaining that their customers are specifying the minimum number of pools and restaurants they want to have at their disposal.

Christmas Wishlist: Istanbul and Slovakia

But with all these criteria, where do people actually go? Travelblat.com points out some very interesting places that, while no means obscure, are still off-the-radar enough to give visitors a refreshing break from hearing “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” for the 50th time in a week.

For example, Istanbul, Turkey offers a unique (and safe) mixture of East and West, antiquity and modernity to the traveler. Straddling Asia and Europe, those looking to make the most of the newest holiday trend can enjoy the stories and culture of one of the most important cities in world history.

Then there’s Slovakia: not a country that would top too many travel lists, but that makes avoiding the tourist crowds perfect. Fully steeped in the antiquity of tiny towns, ancient castles and magnificent mountain ranges, Slovakia offers hiking, trekking, mountaineering and skiing, promising a lifetime’s worth of memories for both families and solo adventurers.

All I Want For Christmas Is To Get Away

So, whether it’s watching the kids ride the waves while you dine from a beachfront restaurant, climbing the Carpathian Mountains or trekking on a South African veldt, this holiday season brings with it a number of opportunities and escapes from Christmas gone crazy.