If you’re a new hire flight attendant you’re going to have to work all major holidays. Even if you’ve been flying for several years, you’re going to have to work on them. Just get used to that fact right now. Tell your family to schedule Christmas a few days before or after.
Sometimes it’s not that bad though. Some hotels really go all out to give crew members a good time on important days. The New Year’s Eve party at our layover hotel in London has become legendary. July 4th is a pretty big deal there as well and they don’t even celebrate the damn holiday. In fact they’re helping us celebrate the fact that we don’t belong to them anymore. Hmmm, maybe they’re happy about that?
I don’t mind working some holidays because I know I’m going to have a good time. That got me thinking about certain dates I like to be in other foreign cities throughout the year. Here is a list of events and festivals to shoot for in all twelve months. I threw a few American ones in there too for good measure.
- Chinese New Year in any city in China though a watered down version can be experienced in many large cities world-wide.
- Australia Day in any major city in Australia. As if the Aussies needed an excuse to go crazy and drink a lot of beer. Lots of great beach parties.
- Republic Day in India. Why not?
- Big Day Out music festivals in Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, and Melbourne
- The featured weekend of Camel Wrestling in Selcuk, Turkey. Haven’t done it/seen it, but apparently the best matches are in January.
- Mardi Gras or Carnival parties in New Orleans, Trinidad, Rio, or Venice. Try them all!
- The Naked Festival in Saidai-Ji, Japan though it’s more loin clothes than naked people
- Tango Festival in Buenos Aires. Nearly 100 free shows and concerts and the perfect place to be in late February/early March
- Late February- early March is the ten-day Rondy celebration of Alaskan life in Anchorage. Dog-sled races, human-sled races, elk hot dogs, frost bite foot races, snow ball fights, mobile outhouse races, and more fur than you can possibly imagine. PETA hasn’t heard about this one yet I guess. Just check out the website athttp://www.furrondy.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=207:lets-rondy1&catid=80:rondy-rokfeature
- St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. do it. DO IT!!!
- SXSW Music or Film Festivals in Austin, Texas. Lots of free events and the atmosphere spreads over the entire city.
- March Madness in Las Vegas. Gambling at its finest and most tragic.
- Holi or Doul Jatra Hindu celebrations of color in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. You get bonfires as well adults throwing colored powder and water all over each other.
- Queens Day in Amsterdam. must see. Must See. MUST SEE! Come early, be loud, stay late, wear orange.
- Hana Matsuri (flower festival) in Toei, Japan . The highlight is the Dance of the Demon
- Cherry Blossoms in Japan. If you can’t go to Japan, check out the Brooklyn Botanical gardens.
- Coachella Music Festival in southern California, still obscure enough to be respected, but go soon.
- Indianapolis 500 weekend in Indy. Very underrated place to spend Memorial Day.
- Life Fest in Dublin. Techno heaven and rated one of the Top Ten festivals in all of Europe.
- Cinco de Mayo in Mexico or anywhere with Mexicans.
- The International Clown Festival. Every year clowns from throughout the world congregate in Denmark for Svendborg’s International Clown Festival. I’ve got to see this before I die!
- Kentucky Derby. Go all out, get yourself an outrageous hat and enjoy those mint juleps.
- Gotta see Wimbledon in London. For cheap tickets wait in the long queue and get the afternoon pass. Have some strawberries and cream.
- Portugal Day celebrations all over the country. Off the hizzy.
- Bonaroo music festival in Tennessee. There’s something there for everyone.
- Cheese rolling in Gloucestershire, England. Again, why not?
- Get in Paris for the last leg of the Tour de France. I’ve never done it but I’ve been trying for years.
- Bastille Day- anywhere in France. Especially fun right after the French win the World Cup but that probably won’t happen again in our lifetime.
- Roskilde Music Festival in Denmark. there aren’t many times when it’s pleasant to be outside in Denmark, but this is surely one of them.
- Running of the Bulls AND Running of the Nudes in Pamplona, Spain. Yeah, PETA has a protest that involves naked Spaniards.
- And of course any layover in the USA will be fun for July 4th
- Reading or Leeds music festival in England, though it’ll make you feel old
- Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium. see note above about Reading/Leeds
- Fringe Arts Festival in Edinburgh. Often duplicated, never replicated
- La Tomatina tomato festival in Bunol, Spain. You’ve seen videos from this I promise. It’s kinda like a wet t-shirt contest but with tomatoes instead of buckets of water, and it’s co-ed.
- The Highland Games in Argyle, Scotland. Where men are men.
- Burning Man in northern Nevada. It now costs you over $200 to get in, but worth every penny.
- Oktoberfest in Bavaria, Germany. The grandaddy of them all. Try to squeeze in the festival celebrating the onion in Griesheim as well.
- Anniversary of the “No!” Greeks commemorate Prime Minister Metaxas’ rejection of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Mussolini. Celebrations all over Greece.
- Though not solely an American holiday, it may as well be. Halloween in any city, town, village in the United States is a great night out. The warmer the weather, the skimpier the costumes!
- El Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead in Mexico. Grab your sugar skulls and Catrina dolls and suddenly realize Tim Burton isn’t as creative as you once thought.
- Monkey Worshipping Festival in Thailand. I tried to have an NYC event in the Bronx Zoo for those who couldn’t make it all the way to Thailand but it wasn’t the same.
- Dickensian Christmas in Rochester, England. Get your Oliver Twist on.
- These aren’t just in December but my list for this month was short so I’ll mention the Full Moon Parties in Thailand here.
Being able to work trips to different parts of the world and experience events like these and get paid at the same time is what it’s all about. Seeing Japanese men in diapers might not be the best way to spend your day but it’s a pretty fun thing to do on the clock. Think of what you’re usually doing during the work day, isn’t watching men roll wheels of cheese down a hill sound like more fun?