6 Thanksgiving Getaways to Make This Year’s Holiday Amazing

Take a Thanksgiving vacation out of the ordinary with our top picks for adventure, history, art and more!

With autumn nearly upon us, it’s time to start making holiday plans. If you’re considering Thanksgiving getaways, you’re not alone! Thanksgiving is one of America’s most popular holidays, but the same routine of turkey and football year after year can get tiring.

Pick your own weather. Thanksgiving getaways mean different seasons around the world. Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

Pick your own weather. Thanksgiving getaways mean different seasons around the world. Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

Are you ready to try something new? Maybe you thought Thanksgiving would be a crazy time to travel. If so, we’ve got great news. It’s actually perfect–especially if you’re traveling abroad. This distinctly American holiday means U.S. destinations like Orlando might be packed, but the rest of the world is business as usual. That makes it the perfect time to go international.

With that in mind, we’ve gathered some exciting suggestions for Thanksgiving getaways. From independent vacations to adventurous escorted tours, you can give thanks in a whole new way this holiday season!

 

Click to discover our 2018 Thanksgiving Specials: Flight/Hotel packages for London, Dublin, Athens, Paris, Dubai and more.

European Christmas Markets Holiday Getaways

Maybe you just want to soak up as much holiday spirit as possible. Skip the turkey and head straight to the Christmas source in Europe, where the Christmas Markets are already simmering mulled wine, and cinnamon spices the air around you. The first Christmas Market tours of the season begin right around Thanksgiving, offering you a very different holiday experience from Black Friday shopping malls.

The Dresden Christmas Market shines beneath the city's elegant Baroque church, rebuilt since World War II. Photo: German National Tourist Board

The Dresden Christmas Market shines beneath the city’s elegant Baroque church, rebuilt since World War II. Photo: German National Tourist Board

In Germany, Switzerland, France and Liechtenstein, a fairy tale awaits you. See the sloping roofs of Black Forest cottages, and the Gothic spires of the Swiss Tyrol. The famous Christmas Markets of Munich, Strasbourg, Heidelberg and more offer delicious local treats, music and handcrafted gifts. Plus, you can visit castles, cruise on the Rhine River, and explore splendid historic cities like Innsbruck and Mainz.

Just after Thanksgiving, join a Christmas Markets tour, which quaint villages, exciting cities, medieval castles and more. These limited-time tours sell out quickly! Find out more about Europe’s Best Christmas Markets.

Italy: Historic Thanksgiving Getaways

With temperatures falling from sizzling summer highs in the 80s and 90s, Italy’s weather is welcoming for anyone who hates the heat. The good news? It isn’t really cold, either. Although your rain chances might ramp up, especially in Florence, highs average in the 60s. It’s perfect for slipping on a sweater before heading out to visit some world-class works of art.

Take a chance on rain, but lower crowds than summer, in Florence. Photo: Ilya Orehov on Unsplash.

Take a chance on rain, but lower crowds than summer, in Florence. Photo: Ilya Orehov on Unsplash.

Even with cooler weather, summer is Italy’s high season. So you’ll love the quieter fall days in Italy’s incredible museums. Because as jaw-dropping gorgeous as the Sistine Chapel is, no one wants to rub shoulders with all their fellow tourists. Enjoy the cooler weather and the personal space when you visit Italy in late November.

Get fantastic values on city stay vacations, like our Thanksgiving Rome Special, and add some tours to discover the best of the city. Or embark on an escorted tour, with admissions to museums, travel to historic sites and a full-time manager. You’ll love our Affordable Italy itinerary for a perfect Thanksgiving getaway.

Thailand: Exotic Thanksgiving Getaways

While late November days are still warm, Bangkok’s wet season has come to an end. You’ll find the “cool season” is still pretty hot, unless you’re from a tropical climate. But compared to the latter part of the wet season, in spring, it’s pretty comfortable.

That’s good, because you’re going to want to explore. Thailand’s bustling cities, gilded palaces and grand temples are a source of endless wonder. When you enter Bangkok’s Wat Po and see the massive reclining Buddha, you’ll know you’re experiencing something truly special. Roam further afield for the astounding ruins of Autthaya Historical Park, where the famous face peers from the tree roots. And see the famous bridge on the River Kwai, in beautiful Kanchanaburi.

Head of Sandstone Buddha in The Tree Roots at Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Head of Sandstone Buddha in The Tree Roots at Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Thailand also offers incredible value any time of year. Try the 9 Day Central Thailand tour for temples, floating markets and palaces. With hotels, transfers, museums, many meals and an English-speaking tour manager all included, you might be surprised at how affordable Thailand can be. Need some beach? Try a tour of Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Pattaya to experience ancient temples and Thailand’s peerless turquoise waters. Or enjoy a vacation in Bangkok with our Thanksgiving Bangkok Special.

Spain & Portugal: Artistic Thanksgiving Getaways

Mild weather and adventurous dining make the Iberian peninsula a delicious Thanksgiving getaway. While summer in Spain can be baking hot, winter temperatures in the 50s are perfect for city sightseeing. Shrug off your sweater in Lisbon, where the mercury tops off in the 60s and rich fishermen’s stews warm up cool nights.

If you do get cold, there’s plenty to see indoors. Try Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Museum, where you’ll find works from the ancients to the Renaissance. While you’re in Madrid, explore the famous Prado Museum. You’ll find some of the greatest collections of Western art in the world.

Lisbon's ancient history and balmy fall temperatures make it perfect for Thanksgiving getaways.

Lisbon’s ancient history and balmy fall temperatures make it perfect for Thanksgiving getaways.

We love a fun exploration of Portugal and Spain for Thanksgiving getaways! With all transfers and accommodations included, it’s a seamless way to explore these amazing cities. Plus, we have Thanksgiving Specials for Madrid and Barcelona.

Peru: Adventurous Thanksgiving Getaways

Looking for Thanksgiving getaways with a little adventure? Try Peru. Here, the ancient ruins of the Inca and stunning Spanish Colonial cities vie for your attention with incredible vistas, remarkable architecture and mysteries dating back centuries. Visit Lima and Cuzco, UNESCO World Heritage Site cities; explore the Sacred Valley where the Inca civilization flourished, and ascend Machu Picchu, the mysterious mountaintop fortress which is famous as a wonder of the world.

Machu Picchu, Peru's mysterious mountaintop citadel.

Machu Picchu, Peru’s mysterious mountaintop citadel.

 

So plan your Thanksgiving getaway in Peru and you’ll be in for an incredibly unique experience. With many itineraries to choose from, the 10 Day Affordable Peru tour is a great place to start.

Iceland Thanksgiving Getaways

We know, we know, Iceland in late November doesn’t sound like a treat. But guess what: the long dark nights of fall and winter are exactly when you want to be in Iceland. That is, if you’re hoping to get a glimpse of the famous Northern Lights.

Dress warm! The best nights for the aurora are often the coldest.

Dress warm! The best nights for the aurora are often the coldest.

Hop the Atlantic to Reykjavik for a Northern Lights vacation package with hotel, a city tour and a Northern Lights chase all included. This is one show you’ll never forget!

So go on… make this year’s holiday amazing with a vacation. Thanksgiving getaways might become your new yearly tradition!

Don’t miss our Thanksgiving Specials!