If you’re on the road and facing a holiday alone — Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving — Shanon from A little adrift is sharing with you a handful of ideas for forming new holiday memories that help beat the loneliness of being alone while your family back home is gathering.
1. Book a group tour.
This was clearly my choice, and it has panned out well over the years. I’ve done this several times on a handful of holidays during my more than eight years of travel. There are so many fun activities all over the world, so you could even treat yourself by booking something that you might not usually splurge on doing. My tours are often multi-day, but at least book a day tour to keep yourself busy and engaged.
2. Stay at a busy hostel.
Hostels the world over are filled with other travelers in your same situation. I’ve never been in a hotel that doesn’t organize a party for Christmas. If you’re celebrating a purely American holiday, then you might need to get creative and ask around the hotel to see if any others want to make a potluck Thanksgiving or some such.
3. Contact local expats.
Find a Facebook group or an expat blogger and reach out to them! They will have a bead on any celebrations in town, and they just might be organizing their own open event.
4. Plan a spa day or “treat yourself” day.
Consider a day of pampering or fun. In some parts of the world, Christmas Day is business-as-usual, and you can find book yourself into a spa day. I’ve gone this route in Southeast Asia before, and it’s always lovely to treat myself. You could also partake in your favorite activities. Even back home, I will sometimes head to the movie theatre on Christmas as it feels like a fun indulgence to see the latest blockbuster.
5. Discover the local traditions.
If you’re in a part of the world that celebrates the holiday, dive into their festivities. Even similar cultures often have wildly different traditions. Use your trip as an extension of your travels and get curious about the local holiday customs and traditions.
6. Do something cool, unique, or from your bucket list.
My niece traveled with me during the holidays one year and I wanted to make it a memorable one. We were in Thailand, which celebrates the holiday a bit, but I knew she would miss home. Instead of trying to duplicate home traditions, I signed us up for a Christmas Day 10K run. We joined several local expats and created a fun, full day out of it. After the run, we all ate a massive pancake breakfast and generally enjoyed the uniqueness of our day.