Festivals and special events can be an exciting time to visit a destination as it can give you a glimpse of how the local culture celebrates. We’ve rounded up the best events around the world worth traveling for (including one that only happens once a decade).
Editor’s note: Details for the events listed were correct at time of publication, however, due to the quickly changing nature of the pandemic are subject to changes or cancellations. Check directly with the event’s website before making travel plans.
World Expo: Dubai, UAE
Dates: Now through March 31, 2022
Every five years, the World Expo (or World’s Fair) takes place for nations around the world to showcase their innovation and achievements. Expo 2020 Dubai was postponed due to the pandemic and finally kicked off on October 1, 2021. The 6-month expo will run through March and its theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.
At the Expo, you’ll be able to explore country pavilions, attend live performances, and enjoy food from around the world. It’s the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East and Dubai is a great destination to escape the winter.
Flights to Dubai: We’ve spotted roundtrip airfares in the $500s and $600s from several major cities across the U.S. Expect prices to be in the $700s - $900s range or more from smaller markets.
Have a look at current deals to Dubai (DXB) from your nearest airport.
Sundance Film Festival: Park City, Utah
Dates: January 20 – January 30, 2022
The largest independent film festival in the U.S. looked a little different in 2021. Due to the pandemic, it combined a few in-person screenings in Park City with online and drive-in screenings across the USA. In 2022, it will follow that trend and you can purchase both in-person and online tickets starting from $20.
Featured screenings include 2nd Chance, a movie about the bankrupt pizzeria owner who invented the modern-day bulletproof vest and Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, a film about the unfortunate events related to the Boeing 737 MAX jets.
Flights to Salt Lake City: You shouldn’t have a problem finding a reasonable flight price to Salt Lake City. Roundtrip fares can be as low as under $50 roundtrip on ultra-low-cost carriers. More likely, you’ll find prices in the $100s range from the West Coast and the $200s - $300s range from the East Coast.
See the latest low fares to Salt Lake City (SLC) from your home airport.
Carnival: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Dates: February 25 – March 5, 2022
Rio’s Carnival has been dubbed “The biggest show on Earth” for good reason. It’s the largest carnival in the world with several parades to check out the samba schools and exquisite floats all over the streets of Rio.
You’ll need tickets for the Sambadrome, which is the most elegant parade. But if you just want to revel in the streets and enjoy the festive atmosphere, you can find street parties all around town from Ipanema to Copacabana for free. Don a mask or a full costume to truly get immersed in the festivities.
Flights to Rio de Janeiro: Prices will range quite drastically depending on your departure city. It can be possible to find roundtrip fares in the $500s and $600s range from major markets such as Miami, NYC, and LA. Most U.S. cities will have fares in the $800s to $1,000+ range around Carnival. You may find better deals flying into Sao Paulo and then taking a separate domestic flight over to Rio.
Floriade – Almere, Netherlands
Dates: April 14 – October 9, 2022
The Floriade Expo in Alemere, a small city about 30 km east of Amsterdam, only happens once every 10 years. So far, plans are to keep this tradition alive with a theme of ‘Growing Green Cities’. The exhibition will include gardens full of plants, vegetables, and flowers where Dutch horticulture will be on display. International innovators will showcase ideas to make our cities more beautiful and sustainable.
Flights to Amsterdam: It will be considerably cheaper to visit during the spring or fall when midweek roundtrip fares can be found as low as the $400s range from a few major U.S. cities. Typically, you’ll find the lowest fares range between the $600s - $900s from most U.S. cities. Expect fares to be higher for summer and weekend travel. Since Amsterdam is a major European hub for Delta’s SkyTeam partner, KLM, be on the lookout for fare wars and be ready to buy when fares drop.
See the latest deals to Amsterdam (AMS) from your nearest airport.
Oktoberfest: Munich, Germany
Dates: September 17 – October 3, 2022
After being canceled in both 2020 and 2021, beer lovers are hopeful to be able to say “Prost!” with friends while enjoying a stein of Pilsner, Dunkel, or Weisse beer at Oktoberfest 2022. And while the beer tents full of singing strangers are the main attraction, there’s more to enjoy from thrilling rides to contests and more. I’d recommend visiting Feldl’s Teufelsrad for a truly entertaining afternoon.
Flights to Munich: It’s usually quite rare to see cheap fares to Munich around Oktoberfest but we’ve seen some roundtrip fares in the $400s and $500s range from a few major U.S. cities such as Boston and Chicago. Normal prices from smaller markets range between $600s - $900s but there are sometimes flash sales that bring those prices down. You may also want to consider flying into Frankfurt and taking the train to Munich if flights are cheaper.
Day of the Dead: Mexico City, Mexico
Dates: October 29 – November 2, 2022
Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos is a two-day event which is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd every year. It is mostly observed in Mexico and traditionally involves families building altars to remember loved ones who have passed. These altars often contain photos, memorabilia, as well as favorite foods and beverages of the departed.
Mexico City hosts a Day of the Dead parade, which will take place on Saturday, October 29, 2022. The parade was first held in 2016 and was actually inspired by a scene in the James Bond movie Spectre. The parade is centered around the Zócalo square where performers wear elaborate costumes and painted faces—many of which depict La Calavera Catrina.
Flights to Mexico City: Due to it being the shoulder season, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a decent fare to Mexico City for Day of the Dead. If you’re able to fly from a U.S. city where low-cost Mexican carriers Volaris or VivaAerobus operate, you can often find roundtrip fares in the high $100s - $200s range. For most other cities, expect to pay somewhere in the $300s - $500s range.
Check out the best fares to Mexico City (MEX) currently available.
FIFA World Cup: Qatar
Dates: November 21 – December 17, 2022
Soccer fans are gearing up for the world’s biggest tournament, which takes place just once every four years. In 2022, Qatar will host the 32-team tournament made up of national teams from around the world.
If you enjoy the sport or just like the atmosphere of international competition, you’re bound to have a good time at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. France hopes to defend its title after winning the last World Cup in Russia in 2018 and Team USA aims to return to the tournament after failing to qualify in 2018.
Flights to Qatar: There are now nonstop flights to Doha from 14 North American cities including Toronto, Montreal, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Qatar Airways flies all of these routes except from Toronto, which is operated by Air Canada.
If you can snag a Business Class seat in Qatar’s Qsuites, it will be the perfect way to kick off your World Cup trip. For cheaper fares, you’ll likely have to connect in Europe or elsewhere in the Middle East. Expect economy fares to be over $1,000 roundtrip for World Cup dates and be pleasantly surprised if it’s less.
See current fares to Doha (DOH) from your nearest airport.