Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad to everyone.

Many of my favorite Christmas memories are travel related. Growing up, I could count on a ticket to the Aloha Bowl in my stocking, and we would go as a family to watch a little college football on Christmas Day. I’ve spent Christmas in Hawaii, Virginia, California, and Florida. And from 2007-2009, I spent three consecutive Christmases abroad.

In 2007, I flew Spirit from Washington DC to Lima, Peru (DCA-FLL-LIM) on Christmas Eve. When I was looking for flights to Peru over Christmas Break from law school, Spirit was by far the cheapest, and Christmas Eve was much cheaper than the surrounding days. I got in to Lima at quarter ’til Christmas, and the Peruvian tradition is to light off fireworks at midnight.

The taxi driver had all the windows down, so I remember getting as low as I could in the back seat because I was afraid a bottle rocket was going to come through the window. The constant explosions made for my most harrowing ride in Lima, which is saying something because I’ve had a taxi driver reverse a few hundred yards down a busy road.

I arrived at the hostel just after midnight on Christmas, which is also the traditional time for Peruvian families to have their Christmas feast. It was a tiny family run hostel with two employees, and I knew everyone from previous trips. They served up an incredible feast. Not bad for $4.50 per night.

Christmas 2008 I rang in at the casino attached to the Conrad Hotel in Punta del Este, Uruguay. I spent five weeks of Christmas break in Uruguay and Argentina, mainly playing poker, eating empanadas, and speaking Spanish.

Uruguayans go out so late, 2 AM or later. I actually crashed after the fireworks on New Year’s Day and before people even went out to party. I haven’t been back to Argentina since January 2009, so I’m excited to get back in two months.

Christmas 2009 was spent in Tangier, Morocco. I had found a $380 roundtrip from Washington DC to Barcelona on Iberia, so two friends and I explored Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. Morocco is the trip I’ve most screwed up, as I explained in a speech I gave for a law school class.

Whether you’re on the road this Christmas or at home, whether you’re celebrating it or eating Chinese food, whether you believe in Santa or not, Merry Christmas from MileValue.