by Pat Freeman,
November was the third least traveled month in 2011, with only about 2 million Americans traveling abroad, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. Fewer travelers often correlate to lower airfare, cheaper hotel rooms and more personal space. Coincidentally, November is the perfect time to experience some of the world’s most unique festivals. These four picks are ideal for embracing the best parts of your 60s and appropriately priced to accommodate your budgets.
When traveling abroad, pickpockets can be a concern. Wear a money belt to keep money and credit cards close to you, and keep your passport and other important documents locked in your hotel safe. Avoid telling your Facebook friends that you’re leaving the country, since a criminal could see this information and decide it’s the perfect time to rob you. Looking over a list of different types of ID theft can be a helpful tool when preparing to stay safe this vacation. In fact, identity theft protection company LifeLock offers a variety of discounts.
In November, the Portuguese City of Lisbon puts on a contemporary arts festival that attracts 20,000 visitors from around the globe. The 2013 celebration, which runs from November 23 to 27, marks the 11th annual Art Lisbon festival. Festival tickets cost 8 Euros for adults or 4 Euros for students, children and pensioners. Wander through the center city’s Exhibition Centre, taking in the selection of 40 national and international contemporary and modern art galleries. Festival journals and specialized publications list additional activities.
Räbechilbi Turnip Festival
Held in Richterswil, Switzerland, every second Saturday in November, the Räbechilbi Turnip Festival pays homage to the underappreciated root vegetable. The 2013 festival will be the 108th annual; the tradition began in 1905. Festival highlights include a carved turnip parade (think jack-o-lantern). You’ll also find an old city market filled with food vendors and free outdoor concerts featuring local brass bands. Räbechilbi is not far from Zurich, a notably trendy town per Lonely Planet.
Räbechilbi Turnip Festival
Thais and travelers alike head to Thailand’s largest elephant show in Surin, held on the third weekend in November. Watch elephants play soccer, tug of war, run and pick up delicate objects using their trunk. The entire festival ends with an eight-act play about the life of elephants. The play’s finale showcases 2000 performers and hundreds of elephants. While the festival has become fairly commercial, it’s meant to honor the elephant, an animal deeply respected by the Thai people.
Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights
Ontario’s Winter Festival of Lights at Niagara Falls showers the region in lights. See Dufferin Islands, Skylon Tower, Niagara’s Fallsview District and religious tradition displays. Learn more about the history of Niagara Falls in the Winter Wonderland exhibit. Niagara residents and business owners take part in the holiday tradition, decorating their homes in an effort to win the Sparkle Lighting Award. While it’s free to see the lights, there is a suggested donation of $5 to $10 per car. The 2013 Winter Festival of Lights grand opening is scheduled for November 9, and you can visit the lights up through January 2014.