Before the flood of holiday visitors arrives at your door, treat yourself to a getaway with lots of “you time.” No, we’re not talking a trip to the spa, but rather a vacay so alluring you’ll maybe, just maybe, forget about the turkey and guest room prepping you should be doing. In this month’s installment of best places to travel, we’re bringing you five top-notch destinations to escape to. From an exotic Asia stop to a bustling Central American vacay, you’ll wonder why you never made this pre-seasonal getaway a thing in the first place. Scroll down to see our top places to go.
1. Seoul, South Korea: For those who appreciate pleasant travel conditions, this large metropolis capital should be on your radar. For a place that’s usually somewhere between humid, wet, and chilly, the month of November is a one-off exception to them all. Enjoy the juxtaposition of Confucius temples and high-tech business hubs, savory street food and fine Korean cuisine, all at a comfortable 60 degrees. Also be sure to stop by local specialties (like the Dongjin Market) or iconic gems (like the five palaces) to get a better feel for the Seoul scene. Between an ideal climate and a variety of offerings, you’ll quickly fall in love with this underrated city.
2. Plymouth, Massachusetts: History buffs will love paying a visit to this town committed to Thanksgiving traditions. It was in this quaint Cape Cod Bay spot that our earliest ancestors first stepped foot on American soil at Plymouth Rock. Trips to Plimoth Plantation or the Mayflower replica (the restored original will open in 2019) will help you get an interactive feel for these exciting firsts. Combine this with a stay at the 1782-established Whitfield House Bed & Breakfast, and you’ll feel like you’re being sent back to colonial times — without any time travel involved.
3. Panama City, Panama: If you’re looking to explore Central America, look no further than Panama City. November is considered holiday month in Panama. With five official celebrations, there’s no shortage of fun going on. Wander through the Casco Viejo neighborhood, a once forlorn part of town, which has since been revived with trendy bars, shops, and restaurants. Explore the streets and shop vendors for a famous brimmed Panama hat, or duck into Pedro Mandinga for a sip of delicious rum. After a full day of walking, a dip in the oceanfront infinity pool at The Westin Playa Bonita overlooking the iconic purple Panama sunset will be the cherry on top of it all.
4. Toronto, Canada: Travel to Canada’s largest city to experience all the cosmopolitan delight without any lines. During this month, the packs that typically flock to restaurants, hotels, and shows have died down. Therefore, you’ll have no-wait access to the popular CN Tower, Distillery District, or no-frills taco joint Seven Lives Tacos Y Mariscos (where a line usually stretches around the block). If you’re in the holiday spirit, take advantage of seasonal offerings like the OG Santa Claus Parade or the Toronto Christmas Market. It’s the perfect way to kick off the festivities while you’re out on the town.
5. Melbourne, Australia: Great weather and the honor of being labeled one of the “Most Livable Cities” (it was dethroned this year by Vienna, Austria, but it held the title for seven years in a row)? This place is practically begging you to go. The best part is that there’s a little something for every visitor. Watch the national sport at Melbourne Cricket Ground, take in the picturesque St. Kilda Beach, or shop until you drop at Queen Victoria Market. Cap it all off with a stay at the famous celebrity joint, The Como Hotel, and your trek to the Land Down Under will be well worth the travel.