6 Last Minute Ideas for An Alternative Thanksgiving

· Updated on March 23, 2023

Thanksgiving, corduroy pants, and potentially contentious dinner table discussions are rounding the bend.

Maybe you can’t handle a family gathering after this divisive election cycle, maybe you’re just now realizing that your off days for Thanksgiving could be used for a little globe-trotting, or maybe you don’t care much for the actual turkey-slaughtering holiday and are hungry for a different kind of gathering. We’ve put together a list of six ideas to celebrate (or ignore) the holiday for a variety of budgets.

Book a One-of-a-Kind Cabin with Hipcamp

If you haven’t yet heard about Hipcamp, Thanksgiving is the perfect week to book your first trip. Known as the “Airbnb of camping,” Hipcamp offers thousands of unique properties and campsites around the country. Ever wanted to sleep in a bubble tent, tiny home, Airstream trailer, or treehouse like the one pictured above? Hipcamp is a great way to explore stunning privately owned lands, ranches, camps, and farms for a fraction of the Airbnb price. The site offers many retreats a short drive away from major cities as well as remote properties far away from it all. Grab your squad for a little road trip, strike up a campfire, and be thankful for a sky of stars.

Explore Eastern Europe with Contiki

No one to travel with? Group travel is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and make a handful of new friends. Contiki is the social travel expert for 18-35-year-olds and is currently offering a Berlin to Budapest adventure through Eastern Europe’s liveliest fall destinations. Starting on November 20 from the queer nightlife mecca that is Berlin, this 13-day trip winds down through the Gothic streets of Prague (with many Pilsner Urquells to be had), over to Krakow for three days of Polish immersion before finishing in the ruin bars of Budapest.

Contiki makes traveling hassle-free with a knowledgeable on-the-ground Trip Manager and perfectly strikes the balance between structured activities and personal time to experience the destinations on your own.

Queer Arts Festivals

Rather than consuming/buying over Thanksgiving and Black Friday, visit one of these international queer arts festivals and experience the joy of creation. Taking place this year over American Thanksgiving in London, U.K. from November 12-24th is the Gaywise Festival (GFEST), which presents “LGBTQI+ films, music, performances, art exhibitions, interdisciplinary art, poetry, book readings, workshops, participatory events, debates” and more.

Taking place from November 10th-25th in Adelaide, Australia is Feast Festival, a queer arts and cultural festival (and Australia’s third-largest queer event). The warm and sunny event draws a crowd of around 48,000 over the two week festival from Australia and the world over. There is endless entertainment at Feast, whether you’ve come to dance, attend queer cabaret workshops, laugh out loud at hilarious stand-up shows, visit innovative queer art exhibits, or just revel in the South Australia sun.  

Why Not Waikiki?

Still haven’t made it to Honolulu? Now’s your chance to check out Hawaii’s breathtaking capital and be one of the first to stay in the recently renovated rooms of the Queen Kapi’olani. After a 35 million dollar reimagining, the hotel now mixes the classic retro Hawaii spirit it’s been known for since the mid-60s with a breezy “modern aloha.” The state of the art hotel is only steps away from the cloud white sands of Waikiki Beach and looks gallantly at the stately Diamond Head. The best part? The 4-star property is offering rooms starting at $150 until December 20th, making it a perfect last minute trip for Thanksgiving.

Champagne at the Spa

“Follow the road of golden bubbles” this Thanksgiving holiday to the Champagne vineyards and world UNESCO World Heritage site surrounding Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa. The newly renovated resort brings the first-ever luxury wellness destination to the famous French region. You may want to relax and enjoy resplendent days of Biologique Reserche spa treatments while sipping on crisp champagne as you overlook the gorgeous rolling hills. Or, you may want to take a cruise on the Marne River, float to heavenly heights in your first hot air balloon ride, or canter through the vineyard on horseback. Quiet and nestled among the vine-striped hills in the quaint town of Epernay, the hotel’s Michelin-starred chef creates innovative gastronomy using locally derived ingredients for the best non-Thanksgiving meal you’ve ever had.

Stay Local with a Twist on Friendsgiving

Don’t have the means or desire to get away from home? No worries. Instead of a traditional Thanksgiving feast, get together with your friends and do an apartment dinner party crawl. Here’s how it works: Each friend organizes or makes something. Start with cocktails at one friend’s before ride-sharing (no drinking and driving!)  to hors-d’oeuvres at the next, dinner at the third, dessert at the next, followed by nightcaps at the last (with plenty of room to alter your plan and be as creative as you wish.) Pick a theme for the event, dress up, and have fun. The idea is to keep you in motion and give everyone the opportunity to host and travel, proving you don’t have to globetrot to get around.

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