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Event travel hasn’t often been high on my radar. I’m not a major sports aficionado, nor am I fond of super crowded events. You won’t catch me at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or in Times Square on New Years Eve. I’d much rather be enjoying a holiday far from civilization, such as when my wife and I caught a handful of fireworks in Twillingate, Newfoundland at dusk on Canada Day.

But I do understand that traveling for certain events is high on many people’s list. Event travel can often be a great way to get phenomenal value out of your miles and points. A common example is booking a weekend hotel when two Division I college teams are in town.

Football is not my thing, but here are 7 events I would love to travel to see:

World Cup game

I’ve not watched many World Cup games on television, but those I have were always enjoyable. I’d not thought soccer would ever really be a reason I might want to travel, but after catching a Saprissa game with one of my sons and then a game in the Estadio National de Costa Rica, soccer is something I would now consider traveling to see (and an instance where I would be okay braving the crowds).

The energy is unreal. A Latino soccer game is a raucous experience with a fanatical crowd. Coins are banned in stadiums in Costa Rica, as they are convenient projectiles for launching at the players. In Argentina, they simply ban visiting fans from the stadiums to reduce violence.

I’d eventually like to kick things up another couple notches by enjoying a World Cup game in a stadium filled with 60,000 people.

Cherry blossom season in Japan

This might not be true event travel in some people’s minds, but it’s an event, isn’t it? It’s just a natural one. Seeing the cherry blossoms in bloom in Japan is something I am definitely interested in traveling to see.

High on the list of top spots is Takato Castle Park in Nagano. Situated away from the larger Japanese cities, it still draws incredible numbers of tourists every spring. If I want to get away from the crowds, though, I’d look at visiting Hokkaido instead (which is actually the primary Japanese island I want to visit most).

New Years in Chiang Mai

After seeing the Instagram story by sixpassports of their time in Chiang Mai, visiting this city during New Year’s is on my list. They usher in the upcoming year by releasing a cloud of paper lanterns into the night sky. It is an amazing sight.

Sixpassports is the account of an Australian family with four kids who traveled for six months across Europe and Asia. I loved following their adventures. If you’re into family travel, check out their account. It’s one of the best ‘grams I follow.

Any total solar eclipse

My wife and I traveled to see the “Great American Eclipse” in 2017 (we just had to check and make sure it wasn’t canceled). We spent a nice night in Bend at the DoubleTree (REVIEW) and then drove to the Willamette for better viewing the next day since the eastern side of the Cascades were so impacted by smoke. We just had to navigate around the worst of the traffic.

This astronomical wonder is absolutely worth traveling to see. Don’t be like Dan and settle for a 95% eclipse. It’s pretty much totality or nothing. The experience is unlike anything else I’ve ever witnessed. The next total solar eclipse is this summer across Chile and Argentina. If there is still availability, consider heading to Buenos Aires and then heading south to the path of totality. The same two countries are graced by another eclipse near the end of 2020.

Christmas markets in Germany

Europe looks magical in the winter. I’ve only ever visited in late spring and midsummer, which is a pleasant time as far as the weather is concerned. So a winter visit is definitely on the horizon for us.

Topping the winter list are the Christmas markets of Germany. I’ve not done a lot of research as to which cities are considered the best. Anyone want to help fill me in?

New England Fall Foliage

My siblings and I sent my parents to Vermont a few years back to enjoy the fall foliage. It was something my mom has always wanted to see. Living amid the evergreens in Northern California, we don’t have a whole lot of color in the fall. It is something I one day want to experience.

Traveling during the fall is often difficult with kids’ school schedules, but it would be fun to pull them out for a week and head to New England to see the beauty there.

Tulip season in Holland

With April just past us, I’ll have to wait until at least 2020 to see this beautiful sight. You’ll almost certainly need to brave the crowds, though, as this patchwork of color draws large numbers of tourists to The Netherlands.

Besides the fields themselves, there are also tulip festivals and the Keukenhof garden to see, not to mention so many other sights in Amsterdam and the rest of Holland.

Conclusion

You can probably see from my list that I prefer natural (and seasonal) experiences over sporting events. These are still event travel in my mind, although others may not agree. Still, planning award travel during some of these events is the same (or worse) than peak season in other places. In the instance of the “Great American Eclipse”, hotels in many regions were simply not equipped to handle the number of visitors who wished to view this astronomical wonder. So plan way ahead. That is the best piece of advice I can give for event travel.

What events would you consider traveling to see?

Chiang Mai photo courtesy of John Shedrick via Flickr under CC-BY-2.0 license

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