Nothing’s wrong with heading over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving. In fact, many years that’s just what we do. Around two or three in the afternoon, we pack up the car and head through our Appalachian backyard on the frosty roads to one grandmother’s house or another.
But sometimes, we like to take the holiday to travel a bit further, even though we don’t have to. Despite the stigma around holiday travel, here are some of the reasons Thanksgiving is the perfect time for us to have a wonderful, memorable family getaway.
Thanksgiving travel is a busy time at airports. Prices can reflect that depending on your route and dates of travel. We are extremely fortunate that as a self-employed individual, I get to pick which dates we leave and return without much hassle, allowing us to head out before the holiday rush and come home a bit after everyone’s been sitting in gridlocks on highways.
Because we leave a little early and head home a little late, our Thanksgiving travel turns into more of an equivalent to summer vacation. Our flexible schedule allows us to find reasonable airfare for the holidays. When we drive, we are almost always headed down the eastern coast of the U.S.; the gas prices just keep getting cheaper the farther south we get.
When the weather starts getting cooler, beach rentals start seeing a lull. But cooler weather doesn’t bother us. In fact, as Northerners, we’re thrilled with the hoodie weather and often find ourselves able to enjoy the climate in T-shirts, thanks to being accustomed to snow and ice back home.
Technically, we could head on our sojourns in the shoulder season, after school is in session but before the temperature starts to actually drop, but then the kids wouldn’t have as many built-in days off of school and we’d be at a higher risk of encountering a hurricane.
As temperatures start going down, so do the prices for accommodations. For example, we once booked a hotel across the street from a white sand beach for less than $500 for four nights. These same accommodations — which included separate bedrooms and a full kitchen — would have cost us at least double the price during peak season.
Do you know how short the lines at Disney are over Thanksgiving break? They’re not nonexistent, but they may as well be when you compare them to the lines in May.
Aside from dodging lines, many area attractions are cheaper than they would be in peak season when you travel south for Thanksgiving. The tourist price bump is gone, as it’s not peak season and businesses are more needful of patronage.
More on Holiday Destinations: The Most and Least Affordable Places to Spend Your Holiday Vacation
Dealing with Family
It’s not just the prices that make Thanksgiving a good time to travel for our family. Those stressful conversations you have over turkey get a little easier to handle when you know you can escape to watch cerulean waves crash on the shore or poolside to read a good book. It’s easier, too, when you know the kids will be able to play outside to burn off some extra energy so you can actually slip into that turkey coma at a reasonable hour.
Dealing with family can be beautiful or stressful. Either way, it’s easier to cope when you’re in an idyllic location.
Depending on how much money you’re spending, where you’re heading and when you plan on hopping on the plane, you may want to purchase travel insurance. These policies can protect you from losing money if the airport gets really backed up, delaying or even derailing your plans. They can also protect the money you’ve put down on your trip in the event of a natural disaster, or if you pick up that nasty virus that’s been going around and have to cancel your plans.
Just keep in mind that not all travel insurance policies are created equal. Read the fine print to understand what will be covered, what the coverage limits are and how and when you must file your claim in order to ensure it’s considered valid.
More From Our Smart Money Squad
- 10 Years in the Hospitality Industry Taught Me These Genius Holiday Travel Tips
- How I Host a Holiday Party Without Going Broke
- Why We Are Valuing Experiences Over Gifts This Holiday Season
- Watch: How This Travel Blogger Saves Big During ‘Shoulder Season’
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