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Find out what Thanksgiving means to our American Trip Managers

friends enjoying Thanksgiving feast together

For all our non-American and Canadian readers out there who may not know, Thanksgiving is a much-needed November break which makes the wait between Halloween and Christmas more bearable. But more than that, it’s a delicious holiday and a time to get together with your loved ones and share what you are most grateful for (and of course have a stellar meal).

You’ll no doubt have heard of Friendsgiving in recent years – the getting together of friends instead of family for a cosy time. Well… Introducing Than-tiki-giving! No, joking, unless…? But, it just so happens that some of our USA trips run through the country during Thanksgiving, and if you just so happen to be on a Contiki coach at that time, you’re in for a treat.

Our American Trip Managers take great pride in sharing the good ol’ culture of the US of A, and Thanksgiving is an American staple! So, if you’d like to find out what Thanksgiving means to our Trip Managers, read on.

What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

More than all the mouth-watering food (creamy mash, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and juicy roast turkey…), Thanksgiving is about getting together and looking towards the good in life. Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November each year, and as it’s a national holiday, folks get the Friday off for a stunning little 4-day weekend! 

So, what’s Thanksgiving about? Food and rest, but also so much more. We asked our Trip Manager Emily Shepherd and this is what she had to say: “Thanksgiving is a time to spend with friends, family, and the people you love! It’s a day full of cooking, playing games, and being thankful for all the good things in your life. It means a lot to me because I love gathering with my family.”

US Operations Manager, and ex-Trip Manager, Emily Rasch, echoes Emily S.’s sentiments: “It’s a chance to gather with people you care about and reminisce over the year’s blessings. It’s also a time for lots and lots of yummy food!”

Despite Thanksgiving’s origins, it’s turned into a celebration of love and community, and when the months get colder and darker, a little bit of loving (and a belly full of turkey) is all you need to pick yourself back up!

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving on the road?

Typically Americans will take the Thanksgiving weekend off for a well-deserved break between bigger festivities, but many people will find themselves still on the road. Sometimes, a USA trip will run over the weekend… What happens on the Contiki coach during Thanksgiving when Emily S. is leading the fabulous USA Road Trip, you may be asking?

“Passengers really love celebrating new holidays when they come to visit the USA, and there isn’t anything more American than Thanksgiving” (That’s what we said!) “I love to play into the stereotypes so they can get a feel for what it’s really like – I’ll play the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie, we’ll watch some American football, play games, etc.”

“Thanksgiving is so special on Contiki because you get to celebrate with your new Contiki family,” says Emily R.. “You get to feel grateful for the amazing trip we all get to experience together.” In this way, Contiki really embodies the Thanksgiving spirit, and wherever you are in the world, you’ll be glad to take part in these festivities!

What festivities do you get travellers involved in?

“I had a group on the New York to Miami trip last year, and we happened to be in New York City for Thanksgiving! Our hotel was right in Times Square so we got to grab coffees and doughnuts and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it was so cool seeing the performances and the big parade floats. After that, we headed off to the Philly for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.”

It’s not always a guarantee that your USA trip will run during this time of year, but you might just get lucky! When the stars align for Emily R.’s group above, it promises to be a magical day and our Trip Managers will always go out to make it special!

“I love to teach my travellers about the significance of the holiday and find some small ways to celebrate.” Says Emily S.. On Contiki, you’ll form a brand new family and celebrate all the small beautiful things. That’s what makes Thanksgiving truly beautiful. “I try to organise a unique Thanksgiving dinner for them, whether it’s turkey sandwiches on the road or stopping at an all-American diner. I also get them to share what they are most thankful for and that’s always quite sweet.”

What are you most thankful for this year?

Since this is a holiday about gratitude, we couldn’t very well end it on any other question could we?

“I’m thankful for my friends, family, and my Contiki family! I’m so thankful for the support system that the other Trip Managers have given me, and I’m so incredibly thankful and lucky to be a part of such a great team!”

“I’m thankful for all the amazing travellers that I’ve crossed paths with in my time with Contiki. I’ve met some of my dearest friends on my trips and getting to showcase my country and travel for a career is always going to be something I’m immensely grateful for!”

We’re grateful for you both Emily S. and Emily R., as well as all our other Trip Managers across the globe and our brilliant travellers who embark on these adventures with us!

And you, reader, what are you grateful for this year? Let us know @Contiki 

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