Thanksgiving Day is largely celebrated in the U.S as a time to spend with close family and friends; eat, drink, and be merry, they say. But more and more Americans are finding it hard to be merry when they’re busy stressing about the fixings, stuck in traffic, or having to obligingly spend another holiday with nitpicky relatives. And those are only some of the reasons to seriously consider spending Thanksgiving abroad.

International Travel Values

High season for international travel in the U.S is from May-September, from the very beginning of summer straight through to the bitter end. This is the time when students get summer vacation and adults trade in their earned holiday for some fun in the sun in one of their more desired exotic locations. It’s also the time when ticket sales spike. Not so much toward the end of November.

Considering the fact that Thanksgiving is an exclusive U.S holiday, more of us stay local. Whether we are traveling back home by car, bus, train, or plane, everyone is seeking to spend time with their favorite relatives who live somewhere in the 50 states. Even those who spend most their year traveling abroad are eager to come back home for this holiday, and therefore you find more incoming flights holding U.S passports than outgoing. How does this benefit you? International departure tickets are suddenly more economical than domestic flights!

According to Hopper, a data-driven travel site, domestic flights can spike up to 75% during the Thanksgiving season. Suddenly a visit to aunt Patty’s doesn’t seem worth it. Although international travel prices don’t necessarily plummet, it’s definitely a better bang for your buck around this time. Also, keep your eye out for some last minute deals using apps like Kayak’s new Holiday Tracker, Hitlist, or Hopper’s GTFO.

Rediscover Gratitude

Spending your holiday doing the same thing every year has the potential to veil the true reason for the season. Family is running around the kitchen preparing too much food, cousins are crowded around the 50’ tv watching football, and there’s absolutely no way anyone is going to be thankful about sitting in traffic for the better part of their day. So how can we rediscover our gratitude? Travel abroad.

Not many other experiences will remind you of all you have to be thankful for like travel. Getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing firsthand how others around the world live their daily lives is sure to remind you of the positive reasons to celebrate this holiday.

Take Action

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take serious action by enrolling in a volunteer abroad program. No matter where you’re from, how old you are, your limitations or abilities, everyone benefits from volunteering. Using your own resources to help others advance is what this holiday is all about, and with so many options available, you can choose a volunteer project that matches your experience and your passion.

For those who like to see immediate impact results, are creative, imaginative, take direction well, and aren’t afraid of a little labor, try a construction project. Assisting with the development of a medical facility, the expansion of a learning center, or even a shelter for domestic violence victims can tremendously help to improve a community, and leave you feeling honored that you could be a part of something long lasting and positive.

Or are you a people person who loves to interact with others while learning about and appreciating your differences? Teach English! Volunteering your time to teach English to those who can’t afford lessons is a surefire way to meet new people, engage in interesting dialogue on a variety of topics, and guarantees the opportunity to teach, learn and grow. You might even engage in some language exchange with your students!

For nature enthusiasts, there are a number of projects to get involved with. Sea turtle conservation, jungle restoration, eco-agriculture, beach cleanup, or animal care. Taking a step back to marvel and appreciate what we sometimes take for granted can help to thread the final piece of gratitude that we need to hold onto.

If you couldn’t take that trip this year, consider it for the next. Reinvent the holiday so that it’s celebrated in the fashion we intended and spend your next Thanksgiving being grateful for cheap flights, cultural differences, everyday luxuries, and selflessly dedicating time and effort to those less fortunate. Happy Thanksgiving to all!