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Most Popular International Thanksgiving Destinations Among American Travelers

Vacationer Magazine serves up a nice heaping of travel inspiration and vacation ideas of idyllic Thanksgiving destinations for LGBTQ+ travelers to spend their holiday break.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, Americans are gearing up for holiday travel. Some LGBTQ+ folx like to use the time to travel, especially after spending what can be a stressful day with family. It’s also the perfect way to decompress at the end of a long year.

Well, a handful of Thanksgiving destinations — both domestic and international — always make it to the top of travelers’ lists for a relaxing getaway during the long holiday break, including usual suspects such as Mexico, France, Costa Rica, South Africa, Spain, and Italy. If you are looking for some travel inspiration for your next luxurious Thanksgiving getaway; Vacationer has a few recommendations on where to go, what to see, and what to do in the top destinations this holiday season.


For travelers who aren’t quite ready to embrace crisp fall temperatures, a Thanksgiving trip to Mexico offers an easy, sun-filled getaway. Paradero Todos Santos has an exclusive Paradero at Sea experience, with two itineraries along the Baja California Peninsula on a custom-built, 46-foot catamaran. Snorkel through sea caves at the Caleta Partida, enjoy a beach set-up on the velvety shores of the crescent-shaped Playa Bonanza, and lace up your hiking boots to do the scenic Cascada Seca trek at Playa Candelero. The experience is one of the best ways to escape the crowds and discover one of the most uncharted coastlines in the world.


For true R&R this holiday season, consider a getaway to France. There’s no more romantic time to explore Paris, with its brisk weather, photo-ready fall foliage, and cozy café culture. At La Réserve, one of the city’s few boutique-size five-star hotels, guests can unwind amid the sumptuous interiors (all velvet drapery and silk damask walls) while enjoying amenities like a guest-only library and oasis-like spa complete with an indoor swimming pool. The holiday season is also a perfect occasion to escape to wine country, particularly the La Maison D’Estournel boutique hotel in Bordeaux. Located right next to the famed Château Cos d’Estournel winery, the property has just 14 rooms with vineyard views, complimentary e-bikes for pedaling through the rolling hills, and cozy-chic interiors that feel like staying at a friend’s country residence.


You could spend Thanksgiving weekend binge-watching all your favorite shows. Or you could be the envy of all your friends and travel to Sicily, Italy. Spend your days exploring the island’s chicest locale — the hilltop town of Taormina — home to the Grand Hotel Timeo, a Belmond Hotel, which offers sweeping views of Mount Etna and private access to the ancient Greco-Roman theater. Visit before the end of November and you’ll also catch a colorful garden installation by Cameroonian artist Pascal Marthine Tayou.

United Kingdom 

With the British Pound slightly lower against the U.S. Dollar, now’s the perfect moment to book a trip across the pond. It’s the perfect Thanksgiving destination. At The Beaumont, in London’s posh North Mayfair neighborhood, guests feel like local insiders, with easy access to the city’s top sights and elegant digs in a landmark Grand II-listed property that feels like a private club. Make reservations at The Colony Grill, a favorite meeting spot of stylish Londoners with its red leather booths and vivid booths, and be sure to check out the hotel’s calendar of events — like the monthly literary series with acclaimed English writers like Alexandra Shulman and Melvyn Bragg. The hotel also partners with local independently owned British brands and boutiques like Heywood Hill Bookstore and leather goods shop Métier, so you don’t have to go back to your relatives empty-handed!

The Bahamas

Looking for a warm Caribbean getaway? Head to the Bahamas! It’s the perfect time to travel back to the beloved island destination! Celebrate Thanksgiving in the tropics at Rosewood Baha Mar, which is hosting elevated dining experiences, including a Thanksgiving dinner at Costa, one of the hotel’s onsite restaurants. In a family-style menu, Chef Juan incorporates the perfect combination of traditional Mexican flavors and the warmth of the holiday. Guests can also opt to participate in the hotel’s “In the Kitchen Series – Thanksgiving Edition” to help prepare, package, and deliver Thanksgiving meals through the elder community of Nassau. 


Before the snow falls, plan a Thanksgiving trip up north, where wide-open landscapes, outdoor pursuits, and colorful fall foliage are among the attractions.  At Quebec City’s Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, you’ll sleep inside a grand castle overlooking the St. Lawrence River and the centuries-old architecture of the old fortified city. The property — one of Canada’s grandest landmarks and the most photographed hotel in the world— is currently offering several seasonal perks, like their “Start Christmas in November ” package and a selection of holiday menus.


In Barcelona, it’s not uncommon to have 70-degree days even in November. So, instead of staying at home this Thanksgiving and indulging in rich, belly-warming holiday meals, why not plan a trip to Almanac Barcelona, a boutique hotel in the lively heart of the Catalan capital, where there’s a new vegetable-forward restaurant to check out? At Virens, chef Rodrigo de la Calle (of Madrid’s Michelin-starred El Invernadero) has brought his signature “green haute cuisine” to Barcelona, with a menu that changes every two weeks and ingredients sourced from local providers and surrounding farms.

Costa Rica

For the ultimate Thanksgiving family getaway, look no further than Costa Rica. At Nayara Tented Camp, one of a trio of sister properties in the Arenal Volcano National Park, guests can now spend the night in a handful of new family-friendly accommodations, including four-bedroom tented residences complete with living room, dining area, and main deck and pool. There are also new two-bedroom, two-bathroom tents connected by a central terrace and featuring a plunge pool fed by hot springs, as well as a sitting and dining area where you can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with a view. A personal concierge is on hand to plan a bird-watching excursion, a chef-led dinner party, or new adventures like frog-watching expeditions and visits to farmer’s markets.  

South Africa

Not only are travelers booking domestic trips for Thanksgiving, but they’re also craving far-flung, bucket-list adventures. In South Africa, begin your getaway at Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town’s most iconic hotel, situated at the base of Table Mountain and spread across nine acres of lush gardens. From there, it’s a quick flight to Johannesburg, the gateway to the country’s top safari destinations, including andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and the Ngala Private Game Reserve.

If you’re looking to go all out, consider splurging on the Ngala Treehouse Experience, where guests spend the night in a four-floor treehouse surrounded by the wilds of Kruger National Park. Enjoy sundowner drinks and a starlit dinner picnic on the upper deck, then retire to the elevated sleep-out platform for sleeping outdoors under a retractable screen (there’s also a covered and weatherproof space should you want to move indoors).

Vacationer Staff

Vacationer Magazine's writing staff works hard to bring you all the latest LGBTQ travel articles to help inspire and inform.

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