Holiday travel, an often sore subject for most with the idea of crowded airports, expensive flights or long haul road-trips with bumper to bumper traffic being quite daunting. But it does not have to be! Dani here - the resident Freshwater travel expert with some tips on how to navigate the season with ease. Firstly, while the holidays are absolutely best spent with family, have you thought about taking that vacation with your girls or partner for Thanksgiving? And then making sure you spend Christmas with grandma and your in-laws? Did you know the secret best time to take a trip internationally (both cost and experience wise) is during Thanksgiving? The flights and hotels are much cheaper during this time and imagine being some of the only American travelers in your dream location?!
Our personal favorites during late November:
1. Switzerland, Austria or Germany: think snow-capped mountains, Christmas markets with the best treasures, and cozy chalets with mulled wine, all for a fraction of the normal cost. Pro Tip: Fly into any major airport near where you want to travel and then be sure to book a First Class Eurorail pass, it is only slightly more expensive but absolutely worth the dining, panoramic window views and reclining seats. Then spend a few nights in 3 cities and enjoy your holiday!
2. Thailand: Definitely already a budget, yet luxurious location, November is a perfect time to visit. Amazing weather to island hop by boat, soak up some sun under the towering sea karsts by day, and then explore the bioluminescent beaches by night. Pro Tip: Skip Phi Phi island and head to Rayavadee Resort on Krabi's peninsula, you will have a private villa, sea cave dining, and access to some of the world's best oceanfront views.
3. Baja Peninsula: Where the desert and sea meet in the most beautiful way! Relax under El Arco at Lovers Beach (accessible only by beautiful boat ride) and then get adventurous by spending a day off roading through the seaside mountains dodging around cacti. Pro Tip: The whale sharks arrive mid-October so be sure to spend a night in La Paz to swim with them! Be sure to use a company like Eco Migrations, who provide fun, safe, but ecologically conscious tours.
Now we can't forget about the country with some of the most gorgeous spots, best food, and easy navigating; the United States of America of course! Now you won't find great deals during Thanksgiving, but some spots are worth the mention for the time between holidays in December. It might even be a great idea to enjoy a Christmas vacation with your family a week or two before the big day hits! Instead of exchanging a ton of large gifts, why not opt for a long weekend experience together you will never forget about?
Some great spots I would recommend:
1. The American Southwest: Whether you head to Moab, Tucson, or Palm Springs, you will surely enjoy the perfect desert-weather hiking, sitting fireside under the brightest blanket of stars, and letting someone else cook at some of America's best culinary destinations. Pro Tip: Opt for a house instead of a hotel and check an extra bag with a tiny tree and some tiny presents and have your own Desert Christmas Morning!
3. The Florida Keys: Sick of the cold? Get the sense you've left the country in the always gorgeous, yet accessible Florida Keys. The water is insanely blue, the sunsets are pastel and frozen drinks might taste even better than hot chocolate. Fly into Miami, rent a car with a sunroof and stay beachside on Islamorada, centrally located so you can do a day trip to Key West, worth it just for that slice of Key Lime Pie (trust me!). Pro Tip: stop for lunch at Robbies to see the huge Tarpon fish! Just be careful if you want to feed them, they jump much farther out of the water than you would think and I have the scars on my hand to prove it.
Yes, the holidays are full of time-honored traditions, but why not make some new ones? You and yours will be so thankful you did! Life is short, make the most of those precious days off from work, and make sure to let Freshwater know where you are off to this season!