Back when I had a real job with benefits and paid time off, Thanksgiving was my favorite time of the year. Because with the meager benefits that companies get away with giving their employees in the US, it’s the only holiday where you can count on having two days off. And there are a lot of good reasons to take advantage of this to travel abroad on your long weekend.
Thanksgiving is only celebrated in the US
As much as I love turkey and yams, Thanksgiving is a made-up holiday that commemorates the slaughter and enslavement of Native Americans. And it’s celebrated by most people in the US by trampling others to get a deal on a flat screen TV. When you put that into perspective, leaving the country is probably the best way to celebrate it. But a more practical reason is that while domestic flight prices skyrocket as people travel to see their families, people don’t generally travel much in November.
Because it’s not a popular travel season, flights in November are dirt cheap. And traveling abroad is not what it used to be. Now that low-cost airlines like Norwegian and WOW have driven down prices, you can actually find great deals for $500-700. I even went to Japan over Thanksgiving for $600. The most important thing is to be flexible. If you’re willing to take an extra couple of days before or after Thanksgiving, you’ll have a lot of options.
The same thing that drives down flight prices during this time is also going to lower the average cost of accommodations. You’ll have more options because hotels are less likely to be booked up at this time of year than during peak travel season. And prices will be a little lower so you can save some money on a vacation that may otherwise cost you double in August.
People love to travel in the summer, which is almost counterintuitive, because there’s nothing more unpleasant than walking around all day in the sweltering heat. November is still technically fall, and most places have yet to experience considerable cold or snow. Winter tends to be worse in January and February. Though the sun will set fairly early, with a good coat, you’ll be comfortable.
Enjoy the holiday spirit without missing the holidays at home
By the end of November, you’ll already see a lot of holiday cheer on your vacation. There’s nothing more lovely than a Christmas market on a chilly November evening. The best part is, you get all the benefits – the lights, the trees, the mulled wine – without experiencing all the crowds who travel during the holidays in December.
There is nothing more annoying than waiting forever to get into the Vatican Museum only to be packed like sardines in narrow hallways with thousands of other sweaty people. By late fall, there are a lot fewer people crowding your sites and attractions. This will make them easier to get into and also more pleasant to see and visit.
With a little planning, a nice late November vacation can be a huge success without costing you too much money or PTO. Besides, how much do you really like turkey?