If you don’t relish sitting around the dinner table arguing with family members for Thanksgiving, or you just want to do something different this year, perhaps you should think about going abroad. As Thanksgiving is obviously an American holiday, traveling overseas means you won’t experience exorbitant airfares. In fact, it’s one of the best times of the year for good deals. To get you inspired to plan now, here are some of the top options for 2019.
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Croatia has become one of the world’s most desirable travel destinations, which means tourists arrive in droves during the summer. But in the low season, from November through April, the unpredictable weather and fewer arrivals mean that lots of discounts can be enjoyed on everything from airfare to hotels, especially in cities like Zagreb and Dubrovnik. It’s the perfect time for a quieter, more authentic experience. While you probably won’t be swimming in the Adriatic, it can be a great time for hiking among some of the world’s most stunning scenery like Plitvice Lakes National Park with its endless waterfalls and emerald lakes. Mountain biking, rafting, wine tasting and food tours can be enjoyed as well.
Athens is sizzling hot and crowded in the summer, but come November the weather is likely to be mild and even bring sunny, pleasantly warm days, and you won’t have to bump elbows with countless other tourists. You’ll be able to get a better taste of daily local life, enjoy the restaurants and cafes, perhaps take a food tour, and explore the museums in a much more relaxed way. Day trips for hiking in the mountains and even visits to some of the islands, especially Crete, can be enjoyable too, though don’t expect to go swimming. Of course, it goes without saying that hotels and resorts usually drop their prices this time of year too.
Bangkok is a fabulous Thanksgiving getaway as it’s significantly cheaper to fly to Thailand in late autumn and the weather will be sunny and warm. Instead of mashed potatoes and gravy, enjoy mango sticky rice and exotic dragonfruit. There are tons of fascinating attractions to explore. Visit the floating markets to soak up the sights and smells, perhaps do some Christmas shopping at the Chatuchak Weekend Market or Siam Paragon where you’ll find luxury items.
Although it’s the low season, November weather in Budapest is usually quite comfortable and rates are relatively less expensive compared to summer or even spring. If a chill hits, you can always soak in the wonderful heated thermal baths and just enjoy the delicious Hungarian culinary specialties in the enticing cafes around Castle Hill. It’s also a great place to do some holiday shopping in the Christmas markets that start in the second half of November, while admiring the spectacular holiday light displays. The Christmas Fair at Basilica begins on Black Friday.
November is a wonderful time in Costa Rica, the ideal destination for a beach escape – and, as it’s at the tail end of the rainy season, you’ll typically find fewer crowds, lower airfare and discounted room rates. Look forward to everything from heart-pounding zip line rides to beautiful beaches and jungle treks, searching for wildlife, or just lounging in a hammock underneath the palm trees. Instead of being stuffed, you could take advantage of eco-lodges that offer things like yoga sessions on the beach and delicious, nutritious cuisine.
Enjoy a bohemian paradise on the Atlantic coast of Portugal with a trip to Lisbon, known for its fabulous wine and delicious Portuguese cuisine. Temperatures are pretty much perfect this time of year, right around 69 degrees. Check out the magnificent architecture, works of art in and of themselves. Enjoy walks on the beach and a tour of the Monastery of Jeronimos, which recounts the story of colonial Portuguese history. There are lots of great museums like the National Museum of Contemporary Art – and, as with most of Europe, airfare is usually much cheaper in November and hotel rates here are reasonable year-round.
If you only have the typical four-day weekend over the Thanksgiving holiday, Montreal might be ideal – it’s even within driving distance of a number of major U.S. cities, but it will feel like you’ve been transported to Europe. While you won’t be feasting on traditional American Thanksgiving dishes, you can sample French Canadian comfort foods like Poutine (which comes in countless different varieties). It’s the perfect time of year to find discounts, so you might even want to treat yourself to a luxurious boutique hotel. You can work off all that comfort food by exploring the wealth of landmarks that include centuries-old buildings that line the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal, the magnificent Notre-Dame Basilica and St. Joseph’s Oratory, which sits high atop the mountain.
Reykjavik, Iceland has become incredibly inexpensive to visit from the U.S. thanks to low-cost airlines, or if you have time to spend, it’s a popular stopover destination for travelers flying to Europe. It’s not just the cheap flights – it has a ton to offer in late November – you might be able to glimpse the Northern Lights, and perhaps from one of the many hot springs, like the famous Blue Lagoon. Right downtown there are all sorts of great shops, eateries and attractions, including the renowned and somewhat bizarre Icelandic Phallological Museum.
Amsterdam offers a rich history and culture, with world-class museums, from the Anne Frank House to the fantastic Van Gogh Museum. While the temperatures will probably be a bit chilly, usually in the 40s, November means fewer crowds and lots of deals on airfare and accommodation deals. Just bundle up and enjoy a stroll along the canal, as well as some great comfort food from waffles and crepes to bitterballen, deep-fried crispy meatballs traditionally served with mustard for dipping.
The Cotswolds, England
The Cotswolds region in south-central England is beautiful any time of year, but it’s absolutely stunning in autumn. While those vibrant red and yellow hues will have faded by late November, it will still be incredibly scenic. Walk the Cotswold Way National Trail and you’ll generate body heat as you stroll through gorgeous hills and quaint villages. There will be plenty of cozy pubs and eateries where you can warm up by a stone fireplace and enjoy a home-cooked meal, often farm-to-table dishes.