iStock_000026065781_FullFor more families, gathering at the holidays means traveling together. It may surprise you, but “traveling with family to an international destination” is the top reason for travel during the holidays, according to the Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders, a franchise travel agent in St. Louis. And, according to actual booking data gathered by the survey, the top five choices of international leisure travelers range from sunny warmth to classic European destinations.

The top choice for international travel for the remainder of 2013 is a cruise of the balmy Caribbean. From Halloween through Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, cruise ships delight passengers with traditional decorations, holiday-themed performances, favorite foods and more. It’s wonderful to let someone else do all the preparing, cooking and cleaning while you simply enjoy yourself and relax.

Cancun, the lovely resort town on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, is the next most popular choice, many times with St. Louis travel deals. The beach is gorgeous and there’s great snorkeling and diving. In fact, 11 new pieces were just added to the Cancun Underwater Museum, a man-made reef comprised of fanciful sculptures. There’s now a dry-land version of the museum that shows replicas of the sculptures, too.

iStock_000001010086_SmallLondon, England, is third on the list, and the cultural life of the city ramps up in the fall. The first half of October features the London Restaurant Festival, when chefs across the city offer their finest dishes. The London Film Festival takes place in the second half of October and will feature hundreds of films and shorts in venues around the city.

Nearly tied with London is Rome, Italy, a city that’s full of incredible antiquities. A visit to the Vatican, home of many artistic treasures and the center of the Roman Catholic Church, can truly resonate during the holiday season. If you need a dose of contemporary culture as well, check out MACRO, Rome’s relatively new (it opened in 2002) Museum of Contemporary Art.

You can also see Rome as part of a cruise of the Mediterranean, which rounds out the top five international destinations. It’s a great opportunity to take in some holiday traditions in each port of call, which can stretch along the Mediterranean coast from Turkey and the Greek Isles to Barcelona.

No time left for international travel in 2013, but why not plan a trip of your dreams in 2014?   Call your travel agents in St. Louis today at 636.778.1081 and let one of our travel professionals get you there.