Where do you want to be for New Years Eve? Sure the diehard party people will be in Times Square to watch the ball drop. But maybe you’re looking for something a little different to start off 2016. Here are 5 unique ways to ring in the New Year from the team at CheapAir.com.
See the earth from a new perspective
Adrenaline junkies leap out of airplanes or bungee from bridges. We prefer a more romantic flight of fancy. Albuquerque’s Rainbow Ryders is the one and only official balloon ride operator of the International Balloon Fiesta in town every year and they offer a ballooning experience for every rider (kids 5-14 get a $50 discount off the $149 fee). Soar over the city, which boasts one of the highest elevations in the country. There’s a menu of balloon flights available, from sunset and sunrise experiences, to private escapes and even a “Before Sunrise” option that allows you a full hour of flight before the sun comes up (total trip time is about 3 hours). We recommend the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa with rates for only $149/night. *Nonstop flights from Denver are $238 on United and from Los Angeles just $173.
Have a once in a lifetime cooking experience
Los Dos Cooking School in Merida, Mexico is the first cooking school dedicated exclusively to the delicious cuisine of the Yucatan Peninsula. You can visit and take a short, 3-hour tour of the best street eats found in the city or experience a more in-depth, formalized culinary workshop facilitated by the world-renowned Chef, David Sterling. These are not budget classes, but a real treat for foodies with some cash to spare and include 4* accommodation. *Flights from San Diego to Merida start at $681 and Miami to Merida will set you back $597 traveling on American Airlines.
Immerse yourself in some natural beauty
Utah’s Zion National Park offers some of the most stunning natural scenery you’re likely to experience stateside. Sure, you could go during the summer, but you’re an intrepid sort after all. And New Year’s demands a unique sort of plan. REI Adventures offers a 6-day escorted itinerary where you can snowshoe and hike the most beautiful spots in the park. Each day offers a 2-6 mile hike and/or snowshoe adventure. Evenings will be spent at a luxury private lodge on a ranch with healthy and delicious meals prepared by your guides. *Round trip airfare: $156 from LAX on Spirit, $664 from JFK on American and $319 from ORD via Spirit.
Save the sea turtles!
The start of a new year (aka “Resolution Season”) is typically a time when folks take stock of their lives and plan to do better: for themselves, for loved ones, for the world. This year, why not put your money where your mouth is, get out there and really make a difference. One worthwhile project aims to protect and ensure the longevity of endangered sea turtle populations. Spots are still available over the New Year holiday in the project’s Costa Rican location. Included in a 3-week volunteer stint are basic Spanish and cultural immersion classes in addition to camping-style accommodation (tents, cabins or volunteer houses depending on location). You’ll be working in a hatchery where conservationists monitor and protect incubating sea turtle eggs, doing beach patrols to find sea turtle nests, and releasing newborns back into the sea (among many other exciting activities). *Round trip flights from Dallas start at $756 and flights from LAX are about $850. Go do some good!
Get Your Race On
Did you know that there’s a midnight race around Central Park sponsored by New York Road Runners? If you’re the kind of person that gets more of a kick from endorphins than toasting on NYE, have we got an activity for you! It’s an easy 4-mile, scenic jog around Central Park’s highlights. Festivities will kick off at 10pm with dancing and music and culminates with a spectacular fireworks display to enjoy for runners and spectators alike. There are even cash prizes for first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place for the more competitive in your group. Stay at The Row (4*) in the Heart of Times Square for just $236/night if you’re suffering from FOMO or you can also set up home base at the Hudson Central Park (4*), just steps from the race start/finish lines and a reasonable-by-Upper-West-Side-standards $245/night. *Nonstop flights from LAX to JFK or EWR via Virgin America are hovering a relatively reasonable $500 smackeroos right now.
Be sure to check out our Holiday Flights Report for additional tips and advice for planning your New Years holiday. We’ve figured out the best days for holiday air travel and want to share them with you. Happy travels!
*Airfares include taxes and fees and are valid as of 12/04/15 on select dates between 12/26/15 and 01/06/16. Lowest fare seats are capacity controlled and may not be available on every airline, flight, or date. Fares subject to change without notice.