By Randy Reed
For blended families, holidays often become a time of stress when kids must go to their “other parents” house. Long distance travel increases by 54 percent around Thanksgiving weekend, the U.S. Department of Transportation notes. Most Americans take their car, with only 5 to 6 percent flying to their Thanksgiving destination. If your holiday travel traditions have become too stressful, consider starting your Thanksgiving a couple days before the rush and taking the kids to one of these historic locations for a refreshing break.
Places to Visit
- Plymouth, Mass.: The pleasant seaside community of Plymouth became home to the Pilgrims after their final landing along the New England coastline. Pilgrim Hall Museum offers a chance for history buffs to learn more about the Pilgrims, and can complement the children’s’ curriculum. Plimouth Plantation hosts a Thanksgiving dinner event that’s not to be missed. A side trip to a nearby cranberry bog can round out this fun, informative New England stay, according to Plimoth.org.
- New York City, NY: Maybe you’ve seen the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the television. Imagine how bright the costumes and floats will look from the streets of midtown Manhattan. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West and proceeds south along the park to Columbus Circle. It continues east to 6th Ave and south to Herald Square. This route offers 2 miles of public viewing space, as Social.Macys.com notes. Young kids will love seeing the floats and taking in the festive atmosphere. Teens will enjoy doing something new for the holiday and experiencing the energy of NYC.
- Phoenix, Ariz.: Shermans Travel recommends the Phoenix area for families looking for a new Thanksgiving tradition. Families can learn about Native culture at the Heard Museum or follow the Apache Trail, 40 miles of ghost towns and red rock vistas.
- Vail, Colo.: Active families can start the ski season early by vacationing in Vail. Lift tickets and ski packages are cheaper around Thanksgiving than in the prime ski season, so families can save. Shermans Travel recommends spending time in the town of Vail, which offers boutique shopping and restaurants.
Thanksgiving Travel Tips
To save on transit, plan ahead: Bus and plane tickets become more expensive near the holidays. If you are planning on driving to these locations, leave early to avoid the Thanksgiving traffic rush. Look for additional saving opportunities by scouring daily deal sites like Groupon or AmazonLocal for entertaining, dining and lodging coupons.
Make sure that all family members use common sense regarding handling, storing and securing luggage. A jacket left behind on a plane or a car left unlocked could spell trouble if thieves take note. In crowded areas, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, take precautions to safeguard family members and protect yourself from identity theft via pickpocketing.
If your family plans to eat the traditional Thanksgiving meal, find tasty options before you leave home. Restaurant reservation sites like OpenTable can help you identify nearby restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinners, and make reservations. For a full break from the turkey traditional, identify ethnic restaurants. The proprietors are less likely to celebrate the American holiday and may be open regular hours. You’ll still enjoy a lovely meal and have a break from tradition.