7 ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with a vacation
Like turkey and stuffing, Thanksgiving and travel go hand in hand. Yet while the image of a family driving to grandma's house for an annual feast, or a college student heading home for the holiday instantly springs to mind, a Thanksgiving vacation might be somewhat less familiar. Well, it's time to change that. If you've been thinking about trying something fresh and exciting this year, here are seven ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with a vacation.
Reconnect with family
If it's been too long since you spent quality time with a loved family member or a dear old friend, a Thanksgiving trip is the perfect moment to reconnect with them in person. And isn't that what the season is really all about? The cherished new memories you'll create over the holiday will last a lifetime.
Warm things up
Depending on where you live, the weather in late November can be chilly, if not downright cold. So if you're tired of bundling up on Thanksgiving, a holiday getaway to a warm destination is the best solution. For some, that might mean a trip to sunny Orlando, Florida, where November temperatures are in the upper 70s. Or you can heat things up even more by visiting the island nation of Singapore, where holiday temps are in the high 80s. You'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.
Freshen up the menu
Although it's hard to stray away from a classic turkey dinner with all the fixings, traveling to a popular foodie destination over the holiday is a great way to discover some delicious new flavors and a host of amazing dishes. If you've ever wondered what a Cajun Thanksgiving meal tastes like, plan a trip to New Orleans and treat your family to an incredible Creole holiday feast. For a distinctly European Thanksgiving, let the Spanish chefs in San Sebastián prepare a traditional seafood banquet for you and your travel companions.
March to a parade
Thanksgiving without a parade is like Independence Day without fireworks, so give your family a holiday they'll never forget by visiting one of the many spectacular parade destinations across the country. Founded in 1924, the iconic Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City is widely considered to be the biggest and brightest parade of its kind in the world. But the equally thrilling Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade in Charlotte, North Carolina, is pulling out all the stops this year as it celebrates its glorious 70th anniversary.
Harvest festivals are a wonderful part of the Thanksgiving tradition, and dozens of cities around the country are hosting them throughout November. In Tucson, visitors can join in the annual Heritage and Harvest Festival, which recognizes the historical contributions of Thomas Jefferson. Meanwhile in Detroit, there's the popular Turkey Trot foot race that draws upwards of 20,000 participants each year. And in Dallas, travelers can enjoy the Autumn at the Arboretum festival, which features a colorful pumpkin village made out of more than 75,000 pumpkins, squash, and gourds.
Retreat to relaxation
Let's face it: not everyone sees eye to eye with each other on Thanksgiving. Despite our best efforts, the holiday can bring unnecessary stress. Avoid the annual holiday events by treating yourself to a relaxing Thanksgiving vacation at a luxurious spa or resort. For a blissful experience that you'll never forget, book a therapeutic massage package at Yaan Wellness in Tulum, Mexico, or splurge on a one-of-a-kind trip to the Acquaforte Thalasso Spa in Sardinia. The peace and calm you'll feel will be well worth it.
Thanksgiving is about expressing sincere gratitude for all the wonderful things in our lives, and the best way to acknowledge that is by helping someone less fortunate. If that sounds like something you'd like to try this year, then consider planning a volunteer vacation during the holiday as a way to give back to the world. To help you get started, the award-winning organization Volunteer Match currently has more than 180 Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities available around the country. Check their website to see where your help is needed most.
If you go
From Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the U.S. celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, a chance to pay tribute to the history, culture and contributions that generations of Latinxs have paved to enrich U.S. history. It is also a reminder to celebrate our differences and spark difficult, yet important, conversations.
To kick off the month, UNITE, our multicultural business resource group for employees, did just that by hosting a panel discussion about the immigrant experience and what it means to be an immigrant in the U.S.
United Litigation and Managing Counsel Elizabeth Lopez, who is a pro bono immigration attorney, moderated the panel, and was joined by Ashley Huebner, Associate Director of Legal Services at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and Magdalena Gonzalez, Program Manager, Leadership Development Programs at Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement. The three women shared their insights and personal stories, while addressing some misconceptions and highlighting the contributions of immigrants to our company and country.
From left to right, Elizabeth Lopez, Ashely Huebner and Magdalena Gonzalez
"I started to notice that there were things I was scared of doing, that I needed to be cautious," said Magdalena while sharing her personal experience as a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient. "My friends, who a majority of them are citizens, did not need to worry about that. As I was able to see that, I realized that, 'oh, there's so many things that revolve around not just being a DACA recipient but revolve around being a person with an undocumented status here in the United States.'"
United maintains a close relationship with the NIJC. In May of 2019, United co-hosted an asylum clinic put on by the legal services organization, where several attorneys and legal professionals were trained on representing asylum-seeking applicants. At the end of the clinic, members of our legal department were assigned an asylum case through the NIJC.
Litigation Managing Counsel Elizabeth Lopez, Commercial Transactions Counsel Tiffany Jaspers, Global Compliance and Ethics Counsel Nancy Jacobson and Employment Litigation Senior Manager Dorothy Karpierz were partnered with attorneys from the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery to take on an immigration case of a mother of three from Honduras. Recently, after a years-long court battle, the legal team was victorious, changing the life of the woman and her family.
United is committed to connecting people and uniting the world. Whether you're an immigrant, a child of immigrants or simply want to learn more about the immigrant experience in the U.S., discussions like these, related to this hot-button issue, are important to have in order to understand the human lives behind it.
Your voice matters. Voting is one of the most influential civic activities we can engage in as Americans. At United, our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. That's why we've long provided our employees with resources to help them get registered to vote.
This year, we're taking our support a step further as the official airline of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Since the start of the pandemic, we've overhauled our cleaning measures through a program we call United CleanPlusSM , and the CPD has placed their trust in United to fly Commission production staff to each of the four debates, starting with the first one on September 29, hosted by Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University.
Today, on National Voter Registration Day, we also want to make sure our customers have access to information about how to participate in the 2020 Election. Over the past several months, you've heard a lot from us about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed air travel. We've learned that with some planning and extra effort, it's still possible — and safe. That's true of voting, too.
No matter which party you support or how you're planning to vote, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and make a plan to vote.
Brett J. Hart
Since its launch 20 years ago, Year Up, one of our critical needs grant recipients, has helped more than 10,000 young adults gain access to corporate business and technical experience at large companies like United while offering the invaluable perspectives they bring with them.
On Wednesday, the nonprofit inducted United into its Opportunity Hall of Fame – a selection that occurs once every five years.
Year Up's mission is to help close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Since 2018, our partnership has allowed talented student learners the opportunity to gain corporate business experience and technical skill training at the airline while bringing their unique perspectives to our United family and culture. One of those students is Emily Lopez, who graduated from the Year Up program in January 2019 and was hired to be part of the United family as an analyst in Revenue Management.
"I moved from Venezuela to the United States in July 2016 and being a young immigrant with no resources can be difficult to pursue a career in a new country," said Emily.
After learning about Year Up and ultimately being accepted into the program, Emily landed an internship with United, an opportunity she is very grateful for.
Emily Lopez - Analyst, Pricing & Revenue Management
"Feedback from my mentors, coaches and managers was key during my internship phase and helped me convert my internship at United to a full-time position. I am grateful for the opportunity United has provided me and my Year Up Alumni colleagues to keep building a professional career within the company. I am so excited to continue building a professional career with the company and to see United being inducted to Year Up's Hall of Fame. Let's continue closing the opportunity divide!" said Emily.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has made this year's partnership a bit more difficult, we continue to do our part to support the Year Up student learners. Last month, we surprised 145 graduates of this year's Year Up Chicago program with roundtrip tickets to pursue career and networking opportunities within the United States.
"I've been personally honored and inspired to be an advocate for Year Up since I joined United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "This program gives young people from challenged backgrounds an opportunity to get their foot in the door as interns at United. This year's graduates are entering a challenging job landscape, but we have one thing that can help: a route network that provides easy access to major business markets across the United States."
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, video conferencing tools that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
To use on Zoom:
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
- Start by downloading your favorite United image to your computer. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- C:\[insert your device user name here]\AppData\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
- If you're using a Mac copy the images to this folder on your computer:
- /users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- Once you start a Teams meeting, click the "…" in the menu bar and select "Show background effects" and your image should be there
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This is why we fly.
20 UCSF Health workers, who voluntarily set aside their own lives to help save lives, are on their way to New York City.
We are humbled by your selfless sacrifice.
In celebration and appreciation of all first responders and essential workers. 👏🏻👏🏼👏🏽👏🏾👏🏿
This is the story of Jason and Shantel. You see, Jason and Shantel love each other very much. They also love traveling and they love the classic Adam Sandler film, The Wedding Singer.
It all began when Jason reached out to United's social media team, hoping for assistance with his upcoming plan to propose. Some phone calls and one borrowed guitar later, the stage was set for Jason. Put all that together, mix in some helpful United employees and, voila, you have a truly memorable marriage proposal. Congratulations to this fun-loving and happy couple, and here's to many more years of making beautiful music together.
A big thank you to Chicago-based flight attendants Donna W., Marie M., Karen J. and Mark K. for making this proposal come to life.