New Year’s Eve Overseas—Customs, Celebrations and Top Destinations
December 15, 2022
Celebrating the moment that an old year becomes a new one is a beloved tradition around the world, with each locale adding their own flavor to the moment. Perhaps you’re considering treating yourself to international travel for New Year’s, exploring a new destination and experiencing New Year’s customs in person. Or as you consider what to do on New Year’s Eve, you want to incorporate new observances into your evening. Either way, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite traditions from around the world, inspiring us to pack our bags—or at least add some global influence to our end-of-year countdown.
Top destinations for celebrating New Year’s Eve: U.S. highlights
Within the United States, a few cities stand out as the most popular to bid adieu to a year. New York City is a bucket-list New Year’s evening experience for many, as hundreds of thousands of people gather in the streets to watch the illuminated crystal Time Square Ball drop, an annual event since 1907.
For those in search for the ultimate party night, Las Vegas is the place to be, where over-the-top shows, all-hours celebrations and the closed-to-traffic Strip bursts with 300,000+ revelers. Another popular U.S. destination for NYE travel is New Orleans, where mild weather allows everyone to enjoy spectacular fireworks at midnight. For those seeking a quieter way to mark the moment, finding a secluded cabin in one of the Western states and simply stargazing is enough in the way of fireworks.
Sun and sand: Global beach getaways
Escaping to a beach can be the ultimate way to ring in the New Year. If your beach-seeking leads you to Ko Phangan in Thailand, you’ll experience the beauty of releasing illuminated khom loy lanterns into the sky. Headed to Rio de Janeiro? Pack a white outfit or two, as wearing white is a traditional way to express a hope for peace in the upcoming year. Those who are Caribbean-bound to islands such as Anguilla will find that their night will extend into the next day, where staying up through Old Year’s Night and watching the sun rise over the ocean in the new year is a mandatory.
Historic places with ancient traditions
Extending your New Year’s Eve travel into a larger vacation is a can’t-miss opportunity: the lack of crowds and abundance of festivities lets you truly immerse yourself as a local. If you’ve been dreaming of a European journey across the continent for this time of year, be sure to check your underwear drawer (wearing red underwear on NYE is an Italian tradition; in Colombia, yellow is the color to choose).
Journeying around the world, you’ll find a range of different traditions. If you’re in Spain over New Year’s, you’ll eat twelve grapes, one at each chime of the midnight bell. This is said to bring luck in all twelve of the upcoming months. In Denmark, jumping off of furniture at the stroke of 12 to jump into the new year is known as “hoppe ind i det nye år.” In Japan, dressing up in the coming year’s zodiac animal and cleaning your space thoroughly are must-dos. Regardless, as you consider what to do on new year’s eve, wherever you are, embrace new ways to consider the meaning of the moment, and enjoy it to the hilt.
Preparing for your trip
As you plan your trip to ring in the New Year, remember that if there are any challenges along the way, UnitedHealthcare Global is here to help. SafeTrip travel medical insurance and trip protection makes sure your trip goes smoothly, and if there are surprises such as flight cancellations, or an accident, call the 24-hour Emergency Response Center at the number on your SafeTrip travel ID card and a personal emergency assistance coordinator is available to help.