Experience-based gifts for the whole family

By Stephen Gillis

When thinking about what to get your family for the holidays, consider gifting an experience. Experiences are the gifts that keep on giving and will be shared and reminisced for years to come around the dinner table and over cups of coffee. Unlike things, experiences get better the more you share them with others.

Create lifelong memories with those closest to you while doing something a little out of the ordinary. Here is a list of some of the best activities to do while glamping that will make great gifts for the whole family.

Yoga

Get the whole family to disconnect, de-stress, and open your minds while doing yoga on your glamping getaway.

Yoga with the whole family is a great way to expose children to lifelong healthy activities.No matter your age or experience level, yoga can be beneficial in a myriad of ways—breathing techniques for better stamina, mindfulness for clearing away stress, and stretching to ease muscle tension and soreness. See who can hold their downward-facing dog pose the longest!

Horseback riding

Horseback riding in Croatia will get you vistas you won't see anywhere else—a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Few other animals parallel the majesty of the horse. Embrace this beautiful animal with an open spirit to embark on an indelible experience with the kids. Exploring rugged terrains and gorgeous landscapes on horseback will surely fill you and your children with fond family memories and a renewed sense of enchantment.

Safari

Get ready to see rare and endangered wildlife while on a safari in Kenya.

Witness the excitement nature has to offer on a safari in Kenya. Learn about the area's wildlife and ecosystem from the safety of a vehicle at a comfortable distance. Fascination will be the primary emotion when you and your family are experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe the most impressive animals on our planet.

Canoeing

Explore Washington's coast from the water with a relaxing canoe ride.

Canoeing is family bonding at its finest. Everyone must be in proper balance and rhythm to ensure you remain dry by the time you dock. Navigate the shore and have a glimpse of the coastline from a new perspective. Maybe you'll even encounter some wildlife! As long as life jackets are securely fastened and you don't find yourself without a paddle, your family will be very safe on this adventure—not to mention you will leave having completed a killer arm workout.

Zip-lining

Prepare to get a bird's eye view of the jungle while zip-lining.

Few activities are as thrilling as soaring over the jungle canopy on a zip-line. Feel the fresh, rainforest air roll over you as you zip from one platform to another. Zip-lining is a great way to push the limits of the comfort zone of your family. The feeling is exhilarating, and you will leave a more courageous person. Support one another through the course, and you're in for a spectacular moment for the whole family.

Fishing

At this villa, you'll get the chance to go fishing every day from one of the best locations.

Spending the day patiently waiting for that bite to reel in a big one will be an experience never forgotten. If you are lucky, the fruits of your labor will pay off in the form of a big fish to pose with and show off to all your friends. The virtue of patience will be the biggest lesson learned on this trip—which is a valuable lesson for guests of all ages and experience levels.

Stargazing

When you're coming from the city, stargazing is an activity that is awe-inspiring.

Get out of the city and into the countryside to take a look at the beautiful stars overhead. In the city, we often forget they even exist, but once you see them, you can't stop looking. Stargazing puts everything back into perspective, as you gain a more profound appreciation for the vast scale of the universe.

Using a telescope, you can get a closer look at the moon and other planets if you look hard enough. Try to catch a glimpse of a shooting star, and don't forget to make a wish! It will truly be a dream come true and an experience your family will be craving upon returning to the city.


For some more gift ideas or to see where else you can venture to this holiday season, keep on reading on the Glamping Hub blog!

Tips for traveling during the holidays

By Kelsey Leon

Whether you're going to the Christmas markets in Germany or a sunny beach in Hawai'i, traveling during the holidays can be an incredibly memorable experience. The destinations and possibilities are endless!

It can also be very stressful, however, with so many things to remember and plan. "How am I going to get to the airport?" "What if it snows?" "How am I going to fit these gifts in my suitcase?" We know it feels like there is a lot to do, but fear not! Here are some quick tips for traveling during the holidays so you can worry a little bit less and make the most out of your trip.

Arrive early

This is an obvious but very important item to remember. Expect the unexpected! Whether it be bad weather (pun intended) or longer than usual lines, a delay or two could definitely happen. Make sure that you budget enough time to get to whatever destination you need to be at, be it an airport or a bus or train station. Give yourself more time than you think that you need, because, after all, it is better to be too early than too late and to err on the side of caution. The last thing you want to do is miss your plane, train, or bus!

Stay healthy

Winter time makes just about everywhere a breeding ground for colds of all kinds. Couple that with extra crowded areas, and you've got the perfect storm. Even if you are in the Southern Hemisphere at the moment and soaking up some summer rays, it is still very possible to catch a cold. Protect yourself from falling ill (after all, getting sick during the holidays and having to travel is the worst), and be mindful when you are in a public space. Bring some hand sanitizer, remember to wash your hands thoroughly, and try to avoid touching your face.

Be mindful of your carbon footprint

While it is important that you stay clean, it is also important that you keep whatever place you are staying at as clean as possible, too. Everyone has a carbon footprint, and this is even more true when we travel. While it is obvious that some amount of carbon emissions occur during travel, try to keep your waste to a minimum. For some great tips for traveling and creating zero waste, keep reading here on Inspired by Maps.

Be smart about packing

During holiday travel, it is especially important to pack smartly so that you can have one less thing to worry about. Will you be traveling to many places in a short amount of time, or will you be in one place for a longer time? How's the weather where you'll be going? A common rule of thumb is to pack as efficiently as possible. No matter what your situation is, traveling will be easiest with a lighter suitcase.

Bring something festive

Do you do something special with friends or family every holiday season? Well, don't let travel stop you from keeping you traditions alive! Perhaps if it is something more elaborate, you won't be able to go all out, but you can certainly bring a little piece of it with you. Break out your Christmas sweater and get festive on that airplane! This can certainly help you stay cheerful throughout your travels and really get into the holiday mood. It's incredible what a simple thing like this can do!

Be respectful

Remember that it's the holiday season! It can be easy to complain about the bathroom line being too long or the fact that your flight was delayed, but no matter how frustrating the situation, it's important to be patient and to be respectful. Complaining about a situation won't help anything, including people's moods. Take a deep breath, and take any inconveniences or issues with grace. Just think about it—you're lucky that you're even able to travel this holiday season. Many people would love to be in your position, and in just a short while, you'll be at an amazing destination!


Have you prepped your bags with our must-have travel gadgets? If not, be sure to put them on your wish list this year!

Where to spend Christmas in Europe

By Amber Woolley

If you're thinking of getting away this holiday season but not sure where to go, Europe is a fantastic option for those who want to travel while still going somewhere where festive spirits are high. From traditional holiday markets and nostalgic settings to charming medieval squares and Gothic churches, all throughout Europe there are countless destinations that can definitely deliver a hefty dose of holiday spirit.

Kiruna, Sweden

As the Northern Lights are one of the seven wonders of the world, the best time to chase the Aurora is during the holiday season. In December, evenings are long and dark, so the chances of seeing the lights are very high. During the day, there will be plenty of time to spend in the snow so finally, you can enjoy the white Christmas you've been longing for.

Spending the nights beneath the Northern Lights is the ideal retreat for a romantic getaway. In Kiruna, Sweden, you can fall asleep watching the Aurora dance the night away under a completely translucent glass roof—a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Nuremberg Christmas market, Germany

Christkindlesmarkt, otherwise known as the Nuremberg Christmas Market.
Photo sourced from Faredepot.

Whenever we think of holiday festivities, German markets always make it to the top of the list. Although there are some great German markets around Europe, one of the most famous is Nuremberg's German Market, which boasts around 2 million visitors per year.

Wrap up warm, enjoy the hustle and bustle, and immerse yourself in the excitement of Christmas. Appreciate the sweet gingerbread aroma, sip on hot mulled wine, enjoy a bratwurst, and take the old fashioned stagecoach around Nuremberg to learn even more about the city's culture.

Lapland, Finland

If you're traveling to Europe with family this holiday season and have young children, taking them to Lapland will create the most amazing winter wonderland experience. Make it a weekend trip, and stay in this unique igloo before taking a short road trip to Rovaniemi to visit Santa's Village. Your day will be full of fun, family activities, which may include a ride on a snowmobile, a reindeer safari, a husky ride, and, of course, saying hello to Santa!

St. Moritz, Switzerland

Luxurious Ski Resort in Switzerland.
Photo sourced from Snow Magazine.

The perfect time to take a ski trip to avoid an overcrowded resort is Christmas! That's because the peak season for the European slopes is February through March. Traveling to Europe for a ski holiday is totally worth it for the experience; you'll get the opportunity to ski where the sport originated from, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and indulge in the local food and wine.

There are hundreds of ski resorts to choose from, but St. Moritz in Switzerland is a truly special destination. This resort is the oldest winter holiday destination in the world, making it the most luxurious and unique escape you could ask for this holiday season. Spend your mornings skiing, and in the afternoons, get cozy by the fire with a hot chocolate and relax in style and elegance.

Prague, Czech Republic

Old Town Square in Prague.
Photo sourced from Eurolines.

Discover a real-life fairytale this Christmas and enjoy a city full of character. Take a trip in December and discover Prague's architecture all lit up by magical holiday lights. Here, you will have an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in Gothic architecture, uncover the cities best traditions, and experience its delightful cuisine. The whole city is also decked out with bright and vibrant wooden huts— animated with music and all the holiday decorations you could imagine.

Granada, Spain

The Alhambra with the Sierra Nevada range in the background.
Photo sourced from Spain Attractions.

If you're looking for a storybook Christmas, Granada is the perfect place to visit. The city is famous for its breathtaking, postcard landscapes and magical nativity scenes, known as belenes. Set the tone this festive season and introduce something different and exciting—a Spanish navidad, perhaps? Reconnect with nature and stay close to the snow capped mountains of Sierra Nevada in this beautiful tipi.


Want to check out some more of our winter glamping options in Europe? Keep exploring here!

Our favorite travel gadgets to gift in 2018

By Eric Wright

Although most of us travel to escape from work emails, the hubbub of the office, and the distractions of technology-based modern life, having the right gadgets to take on your upcoming trips can be a real life-saver. Whether its something practical or a brand-new invention, an inspection of these gadgets will have you adding a few more items to your 2018 holiday wish list. Here's to your future getaways being safer, more comfortable, and more incredible than ever!

1. Waterproof camera

Photo courtesy of digitalcameraworld.com.

A fitting gift for friends and family who regularly give in to peer pressure, these sleek devices come with a great image quality—some even being resistant to shocks and freezing temperatures. Whether it's a vacation of relaxing at the beach, an unforgettable scuba expedition to the depths, or a kayaking trip, help your buddies capture those once-in-a-lifetime underwater moments with a waterproof camera.

2. Portable projector

We all know there's no place like home, but what about watching your favorite flick while surrounded by thousands of distant stars and planets? Well, say hello to my little friend! From ultra-small, mini-models to more up-scale versions with an eight-foot projection screen, these gadgets allow you to bring the cinema to the great outdoors.

3. Camera drone

Perfect for travelers looking to catch the ultimate sunset, these ultra-modern machines come with all the trimmings. Able to fly up to four miles away, the soaring robots allow you to capture those unforgettable vacation moments with astonishing clarity. Equipped with intuitive smartphone control, GPS, and several flight modes, a camera drone is the ultimate gift for someone looking to take their vacations to the next level—literally.

4. Portable fire pit

Going camping with friends and family just wouldn't be the same without a night of chatting, stargazing, and, of course, roasting marshmallows together around a fire pit. These lightweight models range from simple steel pits to trendy, modern designs, and they're all easy to carry and store in the back of the car. So, as Gandalf once so famously said, "Fry, you fools."

5. Water-resistant Bluetooth speaker

Enabling you to listen to your favorite tracks anywhere in the world, a water-resistant, portable speaker is an absolute must for music lovers on vacation, especially during that November rain. Both dust and splash resistant and with almost 10 hours of playtime, this nimble party-goer should definitely be your next travel companion.

6. Sandless beach mat

Photo courtesy of sandlessbeachmats.com.

Originally created for military purposes, this incredibly handy towel allows you to enjoy those idyllic beach days without having to worry about getting any pesky sand on your electronic devices or picnic snacks. Practically impossible to cover in sand, help your friends get the ultimate suntan next year from one of these super useful beach mats.

7. Water purifier bottle

Photo courtesy of toomanyadapters.com.

With the majority of traveler's health problems coming from drinking contaminated water, a water purifier is an absolute must for the explorer in the family. From state-of-the-art devices that can clean naturally sourced water in 15 seconds to more affordable models, these life-saving gadgets offer safe drinking water wherever you may be exploring.

8. Battery-charging backpack

Photo courtesy of TYLT.

Never miss a photo op due to a dead cell phone battery with this battery-charging backpack by TYLT. Perfect for those who love to go on long hikes and won't be near a power source for hours and hours, this backpack, complete with a 5,200 mAh battery, has got your phones and tablets covered. What's more? It even has a built-in laptop sleeve that is TSA-compliant, making getting to and leaving your destination a breeze.


Need to find somewhere to use all of these amazing travel gadgets? Check out our staff's 2018 holiday wish list!

How to host the best Christmas for your guests

By Amy Ahlblad

It's the host wonderful time of the year—and a chance to make the holidays away from home all that more comfortable for your guests. Going the extra mile promises a great experience, and a few decorations during the holidays can mean the world to guests who are celebrating the holidays in a new destination. Besides the basics, here are our favorite, five-star ways for you to host the best Christmas for your guests, all of which are simple, out-of-the-box, and unforgettable.

Email a holiday edition of your welcome packet

Be the host who gives the most and clue visiting guests in on the best holiday and winter activities in your area. These could be any number of things, including, but not limited to, Christmas tree lightings, the best neighborhood decorations, ice skating, seasonal theater performances, unique church services, public cookie decorating parties for young families, and Christmas markets.

Bonus points: Include restaurants open on Christmas Eve and Christmas, as well as suggestions for local restaurants with festive menus and/or holiday specials.

Photo courtesy of Food and Wine.

Set up a hot cocoa bar

With a few simple (and inexpensive) ingredients, you can set the stage for a fun and memorable activity for your guests. Assuming that a kettle will already be provided, include powdered hot cocoa, candy canes or cinnamon sticks to stir, and whipped cream or marshmallows to top it all off. Bring out the winter-themed mugs and allow children and adults alike to relish in crafting their own custom cocoas together.

Bonus points: If you have an outdoor fireplace, consider a festive s'mores bar. Leave guests with graham crackers, chocolate (or peppermint bark!), and marshmallows to roast.

Photo courtesy of Betty Crocker.

Create a holiday movie basket

If you won't be watching "Elf" and "Home Alone" yourself, place your favorite holiday movies in a basket to welcome guests—complete with popcorn and a bag of sweets. If you haven't seen a physical DVD since 2008, leave guests with a handwritten card that has all the holiday movies available on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

Bonus points: Add a few pairs of fluffy socks that guests can wear during their stay and then take home with them as a cozy keepsake.

Photo courtesy of Country Living.

Fashion a holiday photo booth

All you will need are a few silly, holiday props and a sheet of wrapping paper to set the stage for a fun and memorable activity. Hang the sheet of wrapping paper behind a closet door to open up when the spirit hits.

In a basket, place a few fluffy hats, reindeer horns, and faux poinsettia flowers, for example. Keep decorations non-denominational and celebrate all festivities that take place during the month of December. Decorations can be found at your local party store or on Amazon!

Bonus points: Include a disposable or Polaroid camera. Physical photos are always appreciated, even in the digital age.

Photo courtesy of the Hallmark Channel.

Opening our homes, as well as our hearts, is the best way to spread holiday cheer with guests, new friends and loved ones. To give is the best gift. And with that, Glamping Hub wishes you health, happiness, and a wonderful holiday season!


For more tips on how to be a fantastic host, check out our post on how to lower your accommodation's carbon footprint here!

Where to go in December : Australia and New Zealand

By Eric Wright

As the days get longer and the nights grow milder, December in Australia and New Zealand means the start of barbies on the beach, comfortable temperatures, and of course, the hectic build-up to Christmas.

That's why we've compiled some of the best destinations on the eastern side of the Southern Hemisphere to have a warm holiday celebration. With the cities totally chockers, escape to one of these fantastic, rural locations and have yourself a ripper this December!

Australia

1. Wollemi National Park, New South Wales

Just a couple of hours northwest of Sydney, the World Heritage-listed Wollemi National Park boasts an abundance of scenic trails in a dramatic setting, along with heaps of rivers for unforgettable arvos of kayaking and swimming.

At this unique site, you shouldn't miss the chance to complete the iconic walk from Thredbo to the summit of Australia's highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko, where the panoramic views from the top are simply breathtaking.

2. The Blue Mountains, New South Wales

With 1 million hectares of majestic forests, epic canyons, and sparkling waterfalls, it's no wonder that over 4 million people flock to this pristine landscape each year. Scenic World at Katoomba is a must with its Scenic Skyway gondola that traverses the Jamison Valley—offering spectacular vistas of the Katoomba Falls, Three Sisters, and Mount Solitary.

After a day of adventures, you can retreat to your own unique getaway and enjoy the vast views of eucalyptus trees seemingly stretching on forever, cold one in hand.

3. Namadgi National Park, New South Wales

Located just 45 minutes drive from Canberra, Namadgi National Park offers a rural haven away from the crammed streets of the city in December. As aboriginal people were living in the area during the last ice age 21,000 years ago, there are an abundance of fascinating sites just waiting to be discovered.

If you're looking for a relaxed holiday full of scenic drives, history, and bushwalking, you'll have found your perfect getaway in the grassy valleys, wetlands, and boundless eucalyptus forests of this gorgeous National Park.

4. Bruny Island, Tasmania

Home of the stunning South Bruny National Park, this one-of-a-kind island offers an unbeatable wilderness retreat. With fur seals, fairy penguins, and white wallabies calling this region home, animal lovers will be in their element.

Visiting in December means that the penguin breeding season will be in full swing, offering you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these slippery characters plod ashore at the picturesque seaside town of Penguin or at Point Sorell.

New Zealand

1. Waiuku near Auckland, North Island

Only an hour from Auckland, the winding Awhitu Peninsular and the iconic black sands of Kariotahi Beach in Waiuku offer a great weekend getaway with sublime coastal views. You can set off on the waters and take the opportunity to kayak and enjoy a magical sunset on the water in the Waiuku Estuary—all before returning to your secluded getaway for an evening of relaxation.

2. Lake Wakatipu, South Island

As the third largest lake in New Zealand, the lightning bolt shaped waters of Lake Wakatipu boast incredible levels of purity and cleanliness, making this an ideal spot for water sports and cruises while surrounded by epic scenery. If you're looking to get your blood pumping, head over to the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, the historic birthplace of bungee, and make the leap of faith from the height of a 10-story building!

3. Lake Wanaka, South Island

Situated in the spectacular alps on the South Island of New Zealand, the pristine lakes and mountains in Wanaka, along with its proximity to Mt. Aspiring National Park, make it a premier site for outdoor activities. Roys Peak is not to be missed, as you'll be in awe at the magnificent views of Wanaka, the lake below, and the humbling peaks of the Southern Alps.

This December, immerse yourself in this incredible world of glaciers, majestic mountains, and deep alpine lakes from this equally as stunning bell tent rental.

4. Waipara Wine Region, South Island

Renowned as New Zealand's premier wine-producing region, the sprawling vineyards, award-winning wineries, and awe-inspiring scenic walkways of the the Waipara Valley make it an idyllic escape for lovers of Pinot Noir and outdoor adventure alike.

Just 45 minutes north of Christchurch, get away from the concrete jungle this December, and surrounded yourself with the stunning panoramic vistas from this accommodation in North Canterbury.


What else makes your glamping wish list this December? Check out what made ours here!

12 best cabins to watch your favorite NFL team from

By Eric Wright

Photo from the official NFL website.

It's that time of year again when the calendar is jam-packed with thrilling football games, and we've compiled the best getaway line-up to let you score a touchdown with your friends and family. All you need to remember to do is to bring the chips and brewskis and complete those all-important pre-game superstitions!

1. Epic Game Room in South Lake Tahoe, California

Don't let the clock run out and make sure you grab your ideal cabin to watch the NFL action this winter. With a pool table, air hockey, and a sizzling hot tub, football time outs will be a pleasure at this secluded cabin rental in South Lake Tahoe. Raiders fans will surely agree that this getaway abides by their motto of "Commitment to Excellence!"

2. Luxury Log Cabin near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Make the perfect interception by snapping up this luxurious log cabin to watch the Titans face off against the Jaguars, Giants, and Redskins this December. With large flat-screen TVs both inside and out, don't fumble by missing out on this fantastic retreat near Pigeon Forge.

3. Man Cave in Ronald, Washington

This accommodation is the perfect man cave for you and the guys to enjoy the match away from the distractions of home. Dive into the game room and take advantage of the wet bar, pool table, air hockey, foosball table, and large, flat-screen TV. With winter closing in, there will certainly be some hail for the Redskins here.

4. Home Cinema near the Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort in California

With the 49ers facing off against the Rams on December 30, what could be better than sitting back in luxury to watch the fiery encounter in your own home cinema? With such highlights as a pristine indoor pool and a hot tub with forest views, this cabin definitely sits high up in the power rankings.

5. Luxury Getaway in Teton Village, Wyoming

With no Wyoming team competing in the NFL, counter those winter blues and make the perfect catch by watching all the action from this plush cabin in Teton Village. With epic views of the snow-capped mountains from the living room, group huddles here are sure to be remembered for years to come.

6. Elegant Retreat in Breckenridge, Colorado

With the Denver Broncos looking at an action-packed December schedule, thanks to match-ups against the likes of the 49ers, Browns, and Raiders, this large cabin in Breckenridge is perfect for families or friends to enjoy the clashes in pure elegance. Lead with your head, and grab this unique getaway!

7. Amazing Cabin near Sevierville, Tennessee

Escape your neutral zone and make a quick out to this majestic cabin in Sevierville to enjoy the NFL this year. After the tension of the match, head outside to the toasty hot tub and enjoy incredible views of the vast mountains. The fans who still have some smack to talk after the game can settle their scores on the pool table in the awesome game room, too.

8. Cliffside Cabin near Chattanooga in Georgia

Perched on the side of a glorious cliff, make this retreat near Chattanooga the place where you watch the Falcons soar this winter. The cozy living area is the perfect spot to watch the match, while the views from the expansive deck are simply breathtaking!

9. Group Getaway near McCall, Idaho

Don't drop the ball by passing over the chance to watch your favorite teams from this spacious getaway near McCall, Idaho. With space for up to 16 people, lucky glampers at this property are sure to love the amazing home theater, the large game room, and the hot tub with gorgeous mountain vistas.

10. Inviting Cabin in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

The vast, open landscape surrounding this family getaway is sure to have the Bronco's mascot, Thunder, chomping at the bit. Glampers at this secluded escape can enjoy days skiing down the powdery slopes of the Steamboat Ski Area before retiring to the cabin for some Hail Marys and hard hits.

11. Charming Cabin in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Take possession of this charming cabin in Steamboat Springs and avoid a bust this winter. The home cinema is the perfect spot to watch the match with a few cold ones with friends, while the hot tub will relieve any post-match stress. Kick off your winter with a stay at this luxurious getaway!

12. Deluxe Cabin near Hochatown, Oklahoma

Soaring ceilings and high windows make this bright and open cabin near Hochatown, Oklahoma, an unforgettable spot to see those once-in-a-lifetime drop kicks. Glampers lucky enough to stay here will definetley find themselves looking for a comeback route next year!


To see more great cabin options as we move into winter, don't forget to check out our Cabins with Fireplaces portal!

Easy Thanksgiving recipes if you're away from home

By Marta Gintowt

Many Americans find themselves being summoned to the homes of friends and relatives far and wide across the country. As there is nothing more uncomfortable than coming empty-handed to any event, there is also nothing worse than showing up with the same generic bottle of wine like everyone else.

Sharing food can be considered a way of showing love and care, so why not get creative with these easy Thanksgiving recipes for when you're not at home and make something that will be remembered? From things that will last the ride to things that can be made in a flash in your host's kitchen, this collection features gourmet delicacies that everyone will enjoy.

Canapés

Canapés are elegant starters that are both simple to make and easy to eat. Since assembly can be fast and cooking is not necessary, they are perfect to bring along to any Thanksgiving gathering. Impress other guests with bright colors and interesting ingredients that will leave everyone hungry for more. Our favorite combinations are blinis covered with crème fraîche, salmon roe, and dill, as well as crackers topped with goat cheese, honey, and rosemary. Let's just hope there is enough counter space for assembly!

Roasted butternut squash soup

Is there anything more cozy and comforting than a big bowl of roasted butternut squash soup? After a long day of waiting for the feast to begin, this healthy soup can be introduced as a light, delicious, and warming appetizer. This soup actually tastes better when made ahead of time, so the flavors have time to blend, making it perfect for transporting in a Thermos during a car ride. It can be easily made vegetarian or vegan when cream is omitted and vegetable broth is used, so it's perfect for those who find it hard to find meat-free options on Thanksgiving.

Baked macaroni and cheese

A favorite Thanksgiving staple, baked macaroni and cheese is always sure to please. When preparing for a journey ahead, this recipe can be made the morning of and easily taken to the next destination, where hopefully an oven with plenty of room awaits. The traditional recipe calls for plenty of cheese and milk, but bolder chefs can add a twist by mixing in other ingredients, such as onions or broccoli, as well as traditional fall flavors, like smoked cheeses, pumpkin, and butternut squash.

Gourmet coleslaw

Thanksgiving calls for heavy, salty dishes that usually leave guests wishing they had something more fresh. This crunchy and colorful classic side has just that! Perfectly paired alongside turkey and heavier sides like stuffing and mashed potatoes, guests will be thrilled to dig into this red cabbage coleslaw. The crunchiest coleslaw is mixed right before serving to avoid wilting, so the light apple cider vinegar and vegan mayonnaise-based dressing can be mixed ahead of time, and the cabbage can be shredded at home before traveling commences.

Homemade biscuits

Homemade biscuits might sound underwhelming, but they are perfect when traveling long distance. Biscuits can even be made the evening before so they have time to cool down. With simple ingredients, like flour, butter, and baking soda, cooks can feel free to experiment with adding cheeses, herbs, seeds, or dried fruits, as well as substitute normal flour with a more healthy alternative.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Some consider dessert to be their favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal, and pumpkin cupcakes will certainly not disappoint. Simple yet delicious, those looking forward to baking these can do so ahead of time and pop them in the fridge until it's time for them to be served. As easy as using boxed vanilla cake mix and adding a can of pureed pumpkin and a half-tablespoon of cinnamon, these light cupcakes are the perfect compliment to heavy Thanksgiving fare. Top them with a whipped, cream cheese icing and orange and brown sprinkles, and watch them steal the show.

Apple Crisp

Perhaps the most complex dish on our list, apple crisp is certainly worth the effort. When bringing this dessert to another destination, feel free to assemble the ingredients ahead of time. When dinner plates are being cleared and guests are having a breather, pop the pastry in the oven for 20 minutes for the perfect crispy texture. Depending if you are trying to impress, you can opt to make a beautiful creation or a beautiful mess, as both will be equally delicious.


You've got the food sorted, but what about an alternative accommodation or a list of things you're grateful for? Don't worry—we've got you.

Alternative getaways for Thanksgiving

By Eric Wright

The time of year is fast approaching when the smell of roasted turkey and pumpkin pie fills our homes, the guys crowd around the TV with the football on, and family time is paramount. But what if you'd prefer to escape the annual, traffic-jammed drive back home for something out of the ordinary this Thanksgiving? Forget about carving the turkey, throw down the apron, and set off on an alternative getaway at one of these incredible destinations!

1. The Big Island, Hawaii

How about swapping that football game for an unforgettable trek through rainforests and across incredible, volcanic landscapes? Due to it's proximity to the equator, the weather in Hawaii during fall remains warm and pleasant, making it an ideal escape from the hectic Thanksgiving celebrations back home. Those looking for peace and quiet, beaches and mountains, and stunning surroundings have found their perfect fall retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii.

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

"The Big Easy" provides a welcome respite from the traditional festive fall celebrations, with its eclectic mix of jazz and blues bands, French architecture, and rich history. Forget the Thanksgiving shopping list, and experience the buzzing nightlife of Bourbon Street, peruse local art at Jackson Square, and take a steamboat trip down the Mississippi River. Those still craving a festive treat can pop into one of the fabulous eateries in the French Corner for a local Cajun-inspired "turducken," which is a delicious, Thanksgiving turkey stuffed with duck and chicken!

3. Joshua Tree National Park, California

With vast desert landscapes, amazing adventure spots, and spectacular sunsets, Joshua Tree really is an outdoor enthusiast's dream come true. Step out of your comfort zone, and swap the madness of Black Friday for peaceful days surrounded by epic views. While vacationing in this serene oasis, make sure you stop by Keys View to enjoy sweeping panoramic vistas of the sprawling desert!

4. Costa Rica

Looking to trade in the fall foliage for some warm weather? Costa Rica is perfect for those looking for long stretches of sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, and vibrant landscapes. With the possibility to take a thrilling zip-line tour high above the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, nobody in the group will be checking their phone for the latest touchdown back home! Moreover, with fewer tourists and cheaper flights than other times of the year, Thanksgiving in Costa Rica is sure to get your blood pumping.

5. Miami, Florida

Avoid slaving away in the kitchen this year and head to "the Magic City" to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime Thanksgiving dinner while cruising around the Biscayne Bay on a luxury yacht. Attractions include the surreal Italian Renaissance-style Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the fascinating Frost Science Museum, and the lively bars and restaurants in Miami Beach—ensuring this coastal retreat will be one to remember. Those who stick around for the weekend can even attend one of Elton John's last-ever concerts at the American Airlines Arena on Saturday at 8 p.m.!


Keep feeding your craving for all things Thanksgiving with our post on where to hold an out-of-this-world Friendsgiving and how to show your gratitude this year!

9 ways to show gratitude on Thanksgiving

By Kelsey Leon

Sometimes we forget that Thanksgiving is called "Thanksgiving" for a reason; it's a time where we're meant to reflect and show gratitude. In today's world, it can be easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of complaints and negativity, but expressing thankfulness is easier than you think. Here are 9 ways to show gratitude on Thanksgiving!

1. Reflect on privilege

This is a rather abstract concept, but an important one. Your ability to access the internet, go to Glamping Hub, and read this article already indicates your privilege. It is very important to realize that you have a lot to be grateful for. A simple way to do this is for every complaint that you make, state two things that you are thankful for.

2. Hug

Time for a little bit of science! Did you know that hugging releases oxytocin and endorphins? Oxytocin is a hormone that lowers blood pressure, as well as the stress hormone cortisol. Endorphins make you "feel good," and thus, happier. The bottom line is...give a lot of hugs this Thanksgiving!

3. Write cards for loved ones

Perhaps you aren't a person of many words, but it's incredible how a simple card can really make someone's day. Even if it's just a small paragraph expressing your love and appreciation for that person, a little goes a long way.

4. Volunteer

Volunteering may seem to be a cliché way to take action and show gratitude, but that doesn't mean it's any less effective. It's important, too, to make sure you're volunteering for something that is meaningful to you. For example, if you are passionate about keeping the ocean clean, you can volunteer for a beach cleanup. Start getting some inspiration!

5. Donate

Donating is similar to volunteering. Donate to causes that you are passionate about, whether it be to help foster children or save the rainforest, for example. If you donate to something that is important to you, it will have more of an impact on you.

6. Cook with the family

Perhaps this is something that you already do or maybe you are the one who does most of the cooking. If not, however, you should definitely try it out this year. Helping with cooking shows that you love and care about your family, and it's a great way to spend time together. Your family will be grateful for your help, too!

7. Do the chores

No one likes washing dishes, and that is exactly why you should. If you don't help with the cooking, you should contribute to the cleanup process. Sometimes showing gratitude means doing something as simple as helping out around the house; small actions like that are really appreciated.

8. Be present

This is such a simple item, but we often fail to realize that simply being in the presence of loved ones can mean so much. Spending time with each other and sitting around the dinner table is such a wonderful experience and creates memories that last forever. Put away your phone and any other distractions for a second, and allow yourself to really be in the moment.

9. Take time to appreciate nature

Often times, when we reflect on what we are thankful for, we generally think of people and materialistic things, such as a house or electricity. While it's important to appreciate these items, we don't generally think of nature. This is unfortunate, because nature is such an incredible gift. The best way to appreciate the great outdoors is to be in it, so why not celebrate Thanksgiving surrounded by nature?


Hungry for more Thanksgiving posts? Check out our blog on where to host an epic Friendsgiving!