How I Travel: Santa Claus

Santa Claus: Circles the Globe, All In One Night!

Plain and simple, Santa Claus is the most widely traveled man alive, bringing joy to children wherever he goes. Though work forces him to spend a lot of time at home, in the North Pole, he has maintained a strong sense of wanderlust for hundreds of years. His travel savvy is second to none—and he admits to using his yearly round-the-world work trips to scout out vacation spots.

We luckily scored an exclusive chat with Jolly Saint Nick. Busy in his workshop and bouncing between various public appearances, he made time to talk with us about his packing technique, his willingness to try bizarre foods and how the reindeer spend their down time.


I’m a vagabond in an elite traveler’s clothes.

You’d never believe how much more comfortable it is to sleep in your sleigh when your pants are lined with fur.

Santa in Namibia

Giving presents is a good way to meet people, candy canes work too.

I used to start with “I see you when you’re sleeping, I know when you’re awake…” but my wife said it sounded a little strange.

Am I a foodie? Let me ask you, have you seen this belly?

I put marzipan on almost everything. If it’s got frosting I’ll eat it. I even tried a fried wolf spider in Cambodia because they let me dip it in honey. So, yes—I’m a foodie.

I take a 24-hour, round-the-world trip every year for work.

By the time I get home I usually have some pretty good ideas for where to take Mrs. Claus once our vacation starts.

Santa in Paris

I don’t worry too much about staying fit on the road.

Sharing food is a way for me to meet people and connect with local cultures. Don’t get me wrong—flying a sleigh and carrying my pack is good exercise but I also end up snacking on a lot of gingerbread and free cookies that people leave for me.

When I travel I do my best to talk in the language of the people—I speak more than 500 languages and dialects fluently.

Rosetta Stone, who knew?

I always bring maps with me.

I haven’t switched over to GPS or Google Maps yet; I’m still old school.  But I have been thinking about putting it on my wish-list.

Santa in Hong Kong

Instead of a wheelie or a backpack, I just throw everything into one big red-velvet sack and sling it over my shoulder.

I used to forget things, but lately I’ve gotten in the habit of making a list and checking it twice.

My most embarrassing travel moment?

I ripped my pants once trying to get down a chimney in Greenland. The elves laughed so loud they woke up the whole neighborhood.

When I’m meeting people, I use my intuition.

I can usually tell right away who’s naughty and who’s nice.

Sailing is fun, road trips are great, and I love the Polar Express.

But nothing in the world compares to traveling in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. It just never gets old.

Dancer loves Ibiza, Vixen loves the runways of Milan.

But Rudolph and Blitzen go to the tropics every chance they get. They went with five elves to Barbados last year, and I didn’t see them until November.

Santa in Fiji

When I’m gone I miss sitting by the fire, I miss the elves, and most of all I miss my wife.

You know what? Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Besides, I come home with some pretty cool souvenirs.

The Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower are absolutely amazing.

Guess who got Tinker-Toys and Legos when they were kids?!

I always meet up with friends on the road.

Usually it’s someone who I’m running into in the middle of the night, so sometimes they forget me. That’s why I like to leave notes.

I stay in touch with travel partners through old-fashioned snail mail.

I tried e-mail in ’99 but I was getting spammed a lot and gave up. The Elves are really pressuring me to Tweet as I travel…but I’m busy enough as it is, and as I said earlier, I’m old school.

I went to Zanzibar and didn’t apply sunscreen very evenly.

I came home looking like a candy-cane. When you live in the North Pole for most of the year, it’s very easy to get burnt.

Santa in Zanzibar

People call me different names everywhere I go.

In Russia they call me Grandfather Frost—which has a pretty nice ring to it.

I know it doesn’t really have anything to do with travel…but I’m real.

I’m just saying.

I love travel because to me, the smiling faces of children are the best gift of I could ever receive…

The cookies are a nice perk too!

Merry Christmas to all!

And to all, a good night!

Follow along with Santa as he makes his way around the world this Christmas.

“How I Travel” is a BootsnAll series published in an effort to look at the unique and diverse travel habits of some of the world’s most well known and proficient road warriors. You’ll find links to all the “How I Travel” articles on the How I Travel archive page.

Manifesto - practice courtesy

All photographs provided by Santa Claus, Mrs. Clause, and various Elves and may not be used without permission

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Older comments on How I Travel: Santa Claus

Traveller At Heart
21 December 2010

Most creative and fun to read! Thanks.

Stephen Bramucci
21 December 2010

THIS. DUDE. IS. AWESOME. The red suit, the sleigh, the same wave everywhere he goes— he’s like that Dancing Matt Guy but even more rock & roll!!!

Myra Needleman
21 December 2010

Too bad you don’t have it set up to share on facebook. It’s adorable

Katie Hammel
21 December 2010

Actually Myra, we do. Just click the like button at the top left :-)

Vera Badertscher
22 December 2010

Lovely details about the Santa Life. Nice to hear that Santa is still doing well during the recession. Over at A Traveler’s Library we were worrying about a Santa Bailout.