It's probably too late to turn back the clock and book your New Year's Eve travel, but it's a good time to consider another time zone for the end of 2019.
It's still going to be peak travel season until a few days after New Year's, which means you likely aren't going to want to throw yourself in with the hordes at the last minute, Sure, the last three weeks of January and first few weeks of February are "dark weeks" for the travel industry and cheaper times to fly, but that's no way to have a New Year's party, even after a stressful holiday.
A full 43% of travelers surveyed by TripAdvisor said they expected to be stressed out by their winter holiday trips. That doesn't include the 31% of travelers who were already made jittery by Thanksgiving travel. Combine that stress with the cost of those trips -- estimated at an average of $436 per person -- up from $401 last year according to TripAdvisor -- and the lack of vacation days accrued by many American workers this early in the year and you get a population of travelers willing to tether themselves to both home and earth for a while.
Yet there are 24 time zones for you to spend your New Year's Eve in and 24 chances to celebrate the new year in a different place. Sure, you could spend it in one time zone, live and work there the rest of the year and celebrate in the same place in 2019, but why? When you think of all of the places that await out there and all of the people celebrating one of the few holidays that isn't specific to geography, nationality or religion, it makes it awfully tempting to see how they celebrate in another corner of the globe.
With first New Year's countdown being celebrated somewhere around New Zealand and the last ending up right around Samoa, you could either make your way across the zones that the U.S. has to offer, or you could hop longitudes. Just to give you some idea of what's out there, we teamed up with TripAdvisor vacation rentals and found rentals in 10 of the 24 time zones that might be worth your attention when you're looking for a place to pop some bubbly at midnight as 2020 dawns:
Queenstown, New Zealand
Time zone: +12
Starting price: $950 a night
The stunning views of the surrounding lake and mountains, plus the proximity to Queenstown, would be a selling point even if this was a one-bedroom cabin. But with four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, room for eight and seamless modern design, it's absolutely breathtaking.
With speakers and televisions throughout, a gas fire in the lounge and an outdoor grill and patio space for a Queenstown summer, there are plenty of amenities to go around. Meanwhile, there's a property representative on call 24/7 and free cleaning service with a stay of seven nights or more.
Time zone: +9
Starting price: $130 a night
O.K., so maybe 505 square feet can get a little cramped if you put three people in there. However, with just a five-minute walk to Shirokane-Takanawa station to take you to Tokyo's most popular tourist spots, you aren't in this for the plush accommodations.
You're also a ten minute walk or two-minute train ride to the shops and restaurants of Azabu-Jyuban or a ten minute bus ride to the bars and clubs of Roppongi. You have Wi-Fi to keep you connected, a 37-inch TV for crashing and the owners around to give you a quick tour, along with guidebooks and maps. All of the above is lovely, but it also provides some fine motivation to get out there and really take in Tokyo New Year's for all it's worth.
Time zone: +5.5
Starting price: $200 a night
This isn't just a vacation house: It's more like a compound.
Located right on the sands of Gorai Beach over looking the Arabian Sea, this luxurious villa has two bedrooms with air conditioning, an air-conditioned living room and a slightly balmier sea-view room. This huge property can accommodate up to 16 people comfortably, with a maximum of 25 guests, but we wouldn't recommend any more than 10 actually staying at any one time.
There's a caretaker on the property and available transportation to the EsselWorld and Water Kingdom amusement parks, the Global Vipassana Pagoda and other sites. If you don't feel like leaving, the caretaker is available as a private chef to make meals for you and your brood. It's going to be a warm New Year's by the pool, but it won't be boring.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Time zone: +3
Starting price: $110
If you're not expecting frills, you'll be well accommodated. You're getting a bedroom with a television and DVD player, a bathroom, a modest kitchen and a hallway. It claims to sleep three, but any more than two is going to be a nightmare.
That said, you're going to be right in the middle of St. Petersburg on New Year's Eve. The city center you'll be staying in is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meanwhile, the cavernous Hermitage art museum and Palace Square are just seven minutes away. The ornate Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood and the bustling Nevsky Prospekt are just five minutes away, and the sprawling Kazan Cathedral is just 15 minutes away. You're in a city of living history and sites like the Russian Museum, Decembrist's Square and the Bronze Horseman are never all that far.
With all the sites to see, the various cultural programs and museums and the various shops, restaurants, live music venues, cinemas and notable famous residents, you're not going to want to stay in that apartment all that long, but you'll be glad it's where you settled in.
Time zone: 0
Starting price: $966
This eight-bedroom, three bathroom house that sleeps 15 can come in handy when the New Year's Eve parties at the clubs don't end until 8 a.m., the spicy “pylsa” hot dog carts stay open all night, the coffee keeps flowing and the post-club pubs and diners are all withing walking distance.
Reykjavik isn't just some town where people going on the Golden Circle tour to see geysers, waterfalls, the site of the world's first parliament, the meeting of two continental plates and geothermal power plants go to rest their heads. This is a party town that hosts various music festivals, houses a museum dedicated solely to phalli and is a bachelor/bachelorette party spot of choice for folks from the continent. Yes, it's a fine place to see the aurora borealis, take in the volcanic landscape and enjoy a long soak in a natural spring, but this guesthouse is going to be disappointed if it doesn't host at least one late night.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Time zone: -3
Starting price: $180 a night
Want to skip the house party and go right for the Malbec, barbacoa, dancing and shops? That shouldn't be all too difficult.
This 430 square foot studio has a lovely garden view, but its primary draw is its location in the fashion and design center of Palermo Soho. It's teeming with restaurants, bars, boliches clubs, the Alto Palermo shopping center and the botanical garden -- not to mention connections to the commuter rail and Buenos Aires Underground. It's a lively place to spend the last night of the old year, which is exactly why you may want to save much of your sleeping and apartment time for New Year's Day.
Time zone: -5
Starting price: $10,000 a night
Yes, that's $10,000 a night, but stay with us here. Built in 2007 just before the housing crisis, this 12,000-square-foot manse on 30,000 square feet of property at 100 Palm Avenue is a South Beach destination unto itself.
The main house and two-apartment guest house have a combined 10 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and room for 25. The walls filled with modern artwork, the mix of modern and ornate furnishings, the chandeliers, the fountains, the terraces, the infinity pool leading to the dock, the outdoor living room and the floor-to-ceiling windows make for fancy digs. The guest house even has its own kitchenette We're not saying that Al Pacino with a Cuban accent ran a drug empire out of here in the 1980s, but we aren't saying that this place is all that far removed from Tony Montana's house in Scarface.
With room to park your yacht and formal dining areas for catered affairs, there's pretty much no need to hit the bars and clubs on South Beach and count down the final seconds of 2019. When the world is yours, the party comes to you.
Time zone: -7
Starting price: $875 a night
Big timber-framed windows, river-rock fireplaces, cathedral ceilings, a private hot tub, 5,000 square feet of space and views of the Breckenridge ski mountains -- yep, that's how you do a New Year's Eve ski trip to Breckenridge.
With five bedrooms, five bathrooms and room for ten, this spacious cabin is just a 15-minute trail hike into Breckenridge, though the two-bay garage has room for six cars. With two huge dining areas with seating for 17, a washer and dryer, Wi-Fi and two master suites -- one with a private fireplace, TV, and standing deck -- there's plenty of space for a New Year's Eve party. However, even if the pool table goes unused and wet bar stays dry, this is a fine place to take in the waning moments of 2016 by the fire, in the Jacuzzi tubs or even by the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out at the blanket of stars. Homes like this are built for the holidays, if not holiday parties.
Time zone: -9
Starting price: $145
Homer may not be the first town that comes to mind when you think of luxurious travel destinations, but this one-bedroom cabin is surprisingly plush for the space. A mix of timber accents and modern amenities, this wood-stove heated cabin has large fire pit on the property with lake, bay and mountain views.
A private hot tub, porch and grill all have similarly great views of the scenery, while in-floor radiant heat does the job that the wood stove either can't or won't. It might be tempting to consider a cabin vacation roughing it, but with plasma televisions, leather furniture and a near-inexhaustible supply of firewood, this is a cozy, comfortable and incredibly picturesque slice of secluded luxury.
Time zone: -11
Starting price: $109 a night
This is it: The last New Year's Eve party celebration on the planet.
If you have to be late to the party, you may as well get a great story and photos out of it. Talanoa Fales is in the suburb of Moamoa, which has spectacular views of Mount Vaea from the gardens surrounding its fales (bungalows).
Just a ten-minute drive from Apia and five minutes from the nearest golf course and swimming pools, the fales have room for three, a kitchenette, master bathroom and verandas. You can eat right from the fruit trees or you can watch the last sunset of the year from the veranda. Either way, you're spending the end of 2016 in warm, lush tranquility. It may be last in the New Year's pecking order, but it's among the best.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.