Thanksgiving isn’t just for turkeys
This Thanksgiving I’ll be in Mexico, away from my family with whom I’ve spent countless wonderful Thanksgivings, in a place where Thanksgiving Day is just a regular day. It won’t be my first holiday away from home, and I didn’t want to be away for Thanksgiving, but school breaks are typically during the holiday season and it’s often the only time to travel. Traveling over the holidays is always bittersweet. I’m going to miss reminiscing and toasting with mimosas in the morning while peeling potatoes with my mom and sister and drinking a beer with my dad and brother outside by the turkey fryer. I’ll miss seeing relatives that I don’t often see, and of course I’ll miss the delicious food. On the other hand, I’ll be with one of my best friends in seventy-degree weather making new memories and reliving the old ones we’ve shared. I will be thankful that I’ve spent so many lovely holidays with my family, and that I am able to spend this Thanksgiving with my amazing travel buddy.
When considering booking a trip over the holidays there are a few more things to think about before making definitive plans. The first is: whatever the holiday may be, will it upset you to be away from family? The first holiday I spent away from home I was with family. Although all the traditions weren’t there, the people I loved were, and that made it feel like home. As kids grew up and people passed away, the holidays and our traditions have changed. It gradually became easier to be away for the holidays. Assess your priorities—is it more important to have extra time on your travels or to be home with your family? If it is important to be with family, another option is to celebrate a different day. My family and I always pick a day to designate as our holiday celebration with everyone together if one of us is gone for the real holiday. This is very personal and only you can decide for yourself.
Once you’ve decided you’re willing to be away from home, the next thing to consider is budget. Traveling over the holidays is often more expensive than at any other time due to the fact that it is a popular time to travel. Unfortunately I’ve learned that, when it comes to flights, it doesn’t make much of difference if you’re traveling to a place where your holiday isn’t a common holiday, or isn’t a holiday at all. With your possible destinations in mind, find out how much more the plane ticket will cost rather than traveling at another time. It is important to look at different dates, as traveling on the actual holiday is often cheaper than traveling on the days leading up to it.
Accommodation may or may not be more expensive, depending on the destination. Hotel prices within the US rise during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but not necessarily in other countries, depending on local customs. In addition, it’s always smart to be aware of local holidays that could cause prices to rise, street closures, or accommodations to be unavailable.
There are other things to consider especially when traveling near a holiday. If possible, fly early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid long check-in and security lines that form at peak travel times. Try to avoid layovers in locations prone to bad winter weather. There’s nothing more depressing than spending a holiday in a hotel alone when you planned to be on vacation.
I hope my column has inspired some of you to take full advantage of your winter break by traveling somewhere, be it far or near. I’m preparing to set off to Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, on my first extensive solo trip. I can’t wait to share all of my adventures with you!