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Top reasons to travel abroad this Thanksgiving

SmarterTravel

Heading home for turkey? Why not head to Turkey instead? Thanksgiving weekend is the biggest domestic travel weekend of the year, with cities like New York (think Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the first Santa sighting), Boston (everyone loves Pilgrims) and Denver (first powder of the season) topping the destination lists. With everyone else clawing their way onto oversold flights to Middle-of-Nowhere, America, this is the perfect time for budget-conscious students to make a beeline for the international departures lounge.

Top reasons to skip the turkey

Sure, Mom might be upset when you tell her that you’re skipping family time in favor of five days abroad with your buddies. But once she realizes how much money you’re saving she’ll be proud. I’ve flown to Europe twice in the past few years on Turkey Day, and while missing the pumpkin pie was bittersweet, I took solace in the fact that I saved a bundle on airfare and had four seats to myself on the plane. After a quick Expedia search, I found airfare from New York City to London starting from $497 on Thanksgiving proper and $557 the day before (Wednesday).

Another reason to travel internationally during your Thanksgiving break is that it’s the start of low-season for most non-tropical destinations. In general, this means that not only do airfares come down, but so do hotel prices. There are also fewer crowds. In Europe at least, the graying skies and first snowflakes in the air send the tourist masses running. You’ll have the place to yourself, or at least be surrounded by locals rather than other foreigners.

So if you’re thinking about skipping the ritualistic post-turkey nap in front of the TV, consider these special deals:

  • STA Travel is featuring a British Airways sale with prices starting at $237 for flights to Europe. Fares must be booked by November 21 for travel through December 18, and again from December 24 through March 16, 2008.
  • STA Travel also has other student airfares to Europe starting at $169 (New York to London). No booking or travel dates are listed, but you must be a student to be eligible for either of these promotions.
  • Gate 1 Travel is offering six-day airfare-and-hotel packages to London starting at $499. Departure dates include November 19, 20, and 21. Other European destinations are also available.
  • SmarterTravel.com lists the top airfare deals in a handy, easy to use chart. Just select your depart city, and bam! Deals at your fingertips.
  • Hotels.com is offering up to 30-percent off select hotels in places like Amsterdam and Barcelona, plus many others. You must book by November 26.
  • Neotravel has taken some of the guesswork out of finding deals for Thanksgiving travel. The site has a list of deals especially for Thanksgiving, with a few Christmas offers thrown in as well.

    With final exams looming, you owe it to yourself to recharge your batteries before settling in for the last big push. Think about it: four days in Paris or fistfuls of leftovers? The choice is yours, but for me it’s always been no contest.

    (Editor’s Note: SmarterTravel.com is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Expedia.com and Hotels.com.)

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