In the United States, today is President’s Day. This national observance honors the office of the presidency and our first president, General George Washington. In observance, banks, post offices, government offices and some businesses are CLOSED.
Most every country has its holidays, some national (such as Independence Day or Liberation Day) and some cultural (such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day). And some iconic celebrations, such as Easter in Rome and Lunar New Year in Asia, can draw huge crowds. If you are traveling to participate in these events, make your plans and reservations very early, perhaps even a year or more in advance.
Even if you plan your travels to avoid crowded revelry, less popular holidays can still impact your visit. For example, in Greece, when the government closes for some holidays, so do government-run museums and attractions. In Germany, many holidays are determined by individual federal states, providing a greater number of holidays to be aware of. In every country, holidays can impact transportation, attractions, shopping, restaurants, banking and business hours.
When you travel, be aware of the holidays observed at your destination and how they might impact your travels. Better yet, since holidays are often celebrations or remembrances of historical events (such as Anzac Day or Guy Fawkes Day), being a part of them can provide an insightful look into the local culture, the people, what’s important to them, and what has influenced them.
Don’t completely avoid local holidays when traveling; be aware of them, plan for them, and then, join in the fun!