Breathtaking Thanksgiving Retreats

ALEXANDRIA MARX
Staff Writer
This year, San Marcos Thanksgiving break is a full week. A full week means a full seven days, or one hundred and sixty-eight hours. So what do you do to pass the vacation time? I advise you go on a trip. Not just “a trip” but a memorable excursion you and your family will remember forever.
Now you may be wondering where to go. Maybe you have been waiting to go to one distinct location and you know that now is the opportunity to go. Perhaps you have absolutely no idea and you are worried you will not know in time to plan a trip for Thanksgiving break. That is why I present to you the following exotic locations for a trip, the type of trip worth saving up for your entire life.
If you are interested in a low-cost, tropical vacation, I suggest Kauai, an island of Hawaii. During Thanksgiving break it is low season, which means not many people are traveling to that destination during that time period, and that means that hotels and airfare are less expensive. Plus, if you are looking for an extra discount on the price, check priceline.com or hotwire.com.
“I have always loved visiting tropical places,” said freshman Jillian Hoover. “Especially during the drought.”
Why would one decide to choose Kauai? For starters, the greenery is gorgeous, and a welcome view compared to California where one is always surrounded with dead grass. Not only is it a scenic place, it has great food, and when you travel, if the food’s not good, it is not really a place worth traveling to. Good is totally based on opinion, but it would be surprising to meet people who hated the taste of off-the-vine fruit and really great pizza.
Lastly, the people are friendly and the environment is lush and pristine. While many of the other islands in Hawaii have become such major tourist locations, Kauai remains relatively inexpensive, has great food, culture, and beautiful surroundings.
“What I am looking forward to is visiting somewhere with a really good amount of culture,” said junior Nikki Heidner. “I’ve gone to a lot of places, but I want to go somewhere where I can kind of learn something while having fun.”
The next hot-spot is Japan. This visit will not surprisingly be a squeeze for your wallet, as long as you stay away from Tokyo, but totally worth the price. Try checking out agoda.com and passionasia.com for really great hotel deals for trips to Japan. Keep in mind that this is also low-season for Japan so costs should be significantly lower even without the recommended websites.
The price may not be what worries you, though. The trip seems pretty daunting, especially if it is your first international trip. Luckily, Japan is one of those countries that is friendly and clean. The culture is all about hospitality so everywhere you turn you experience this. When you buy an apple, they gift wrap it and it is the only place I have seen with a gift box for a cantaloupe.
Like many other societies, the culture in Japan is in many ways different from America’s culture. Traveling there and visiting the temples, the pristine rock gardens, the palaces, castles, and more will completely expand your perspective of the world. If you decide to go to the city of Kyoto, that has more culture than the bustling city of Tokyo, you can visit the Gion district also known as the geisha district. Geisha are traditional Japanese entertainers, they are the women you find in your textbooks, articles, or even the movie Mulan, with the powder-white face, pinned up hair, and silk, decorative gowns. In Japan, they are treated as celebrities since very few practice the art of being a geisha in the present. When I went, we chased down geisha and took their picture. Or you can go to the city of Nara and feed the deer that roam around the parks. If you are feeling really courageous, go to an onsen, the Japanese term for hot springs that you wade in…nude. The experience will make learning the history so much more enriching than a textbook ever could.
Lastly, is the food and scenery in Japan is unique. Most people like Japanese food, for example, sushi and tempura, but if you do not you can always eat somewhere else. Japan is one of few exceptions to the “Don’t go unless you like the food” rule. Thanksgiving break is the peak time for the leaves bursting into different colors. And the trees are all lit up at night so one can really appreciate the stunning colors and scenery.
Whichever vacation spot you choose, you will be sure to have an unforgettable and wonderful experience. I have gone to both locations during Thanksgiving breaks, and the memories I have are ones I will not forget.

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