There is No Perfect World Holiday Calendar – Always Ask Locals

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This past Saturday and Sunday in China were work days while Monday-Wednesday are public holidays for the Dragon Boat Festival.

In February I had no hope of getting in to the Natural History Museum in London because of school half-terms.

National History Museum at Half Term 1

Last fall my Rio de Janeiro plans had to be changed because certain areas of Brazil celebrate Black Consciousness Day (Dia da Consciência Negra) with businesses closed on November 20.

When I arrived in Guyana needing a same-day Suriname visa one July there was a holiday that no public source that I had consulted listed.

I can continue rattling on through religious holidays and local festivals. The point is that web resources such as Wikipedia generally only do well with official public holidays in countries. Local websites can help, for instance China Briefing is my annual China holiday bible, yet those can just as easily be incomplete or out of date.

So for time-sensitive plans I have no suggestion other than old-fashioned pick up the phone or email legwork contracting locals you know, your hotel, etc. to avoid empty streets and locked doors. The flip side is you might stumble into some fun festival.

Readers, have I missed any great holiday resource? What are your unexpected holiday stories?

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Rapid Travel Chai
9 years ago

@Muerl – Azones have been on my radar for a trip with my wife, what are your thoughts on it?

9 years ago

Happened to us twice. The first time was in the Azores, thought I have been told that most weekends are saints fest weekends in the summer. We stayed in a small town of Povoação in Eastern St Miguel and while the Grocery stores were closed more or less the whole time we were there, but we had a wonderful time because basically everyone was relaxing. There was a small town parade with the local marching band, a fun fair kinda thing in the main square, with a hotdog vendor. We wound up missing the public dinner, but we see fireworks… Read more »

9 years ago

In Oaxaca in March we ran into many small parades with school children in costumes (birds, butterflies and bees were popular), their parents carrying signs and banners, and mariachi bands. The parades were to celebrate the first day of spring. It was fun to be wandering around and suddenly come upon these groups of 50-100 people and the police officers blocking traffic for them (often while dancing along!).

9 years ago

Went to Arles, France by train out of Marseilles on November 1st. That’s All Saints Day. All of the things we went to see were closed as were most of the shops and restaurants. This was of course noted in the guidebook. Still a nice day out though!