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12 Festivals and Events Worth Traveling for in 2018

Looking to plan a trip around a weekend festival or worldly event in 2018? Then check out this list of festivals and events for every month this year.

Can’t Miss Events and Festivals in 2018

From the Winter Olympics to a group yacht sail in Croatia, you’ll want to book a trip every month to these can’t-miss festivals and events.

January: Harbin Ice Festival


You’ll find this festival in northern China, near the country’s eastern border with Russia. Due to its climate and northern location, the city hosts the world’s biggest snow sculpture festival throughout the month of January. With more visitors coming every year, this winter wonderland festival is getting bigger and better. Head to Sun Island and Ice and Snow World to view the illuminated sculptures.

Go: Check out G Adventures’ and Intrepid Travel’s tour options to this festival in 2018.

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February: Winter Olympic Games


In what’s sure to be the can’t-miss event of 2018, South Korea is on the world stage hosting the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. The games begin with the opening ceremony on February 9, and end with the closing ceremony on February 25. Buzzed-about competitions includes: alpine skiing, figure skating, and ice hockey.

[st_related]Get prices for Pyeongchang hotels[/st_related] 

March: Holi Moo Festival

On March 2, Hindus in India (primarily Northern India) participate in the “Festival of Color,” which celebrates the start of the spring harvest and triumph of good over evil. Tradition calls for throwing colored powder and water over each other in the streets, as well as having parties and dancing. The Holi Moo Festival is held in Delhi and provides an organized space to celebrate with performers, street food, bags of colored powder, and water sprinklers. 

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April: Songkran Chiang Mai

In April, you can celebrate Thai New Year, also known as the Water Festival, in Chiang Mai. The weekend festival (April 13 to15) is Thailand’s most popular holiday. Locals and visitors alike participate in “water battles,” which signify positive blessings to get rid of bad omens from the previous year.

Note: Thai New Year is a fun event to experience in any Thai region. You can also celebrate Songkran in Laos, Burma, and Cambodia.

[st_related]Get prices for Chiang Mai hotels[/st_related]

May: New Orleans Jazz Festival

Held over two weekends in the spring—2018 dates are April 27 to May 6—is NOLA’s famous Jazz & Heritage Festival. This year also marks the city’s tricentennial, making it an even extra special time to visit. This year’s lineup includes Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Beck, Lionel Richie, and others.

Go: Check out Intrepid Travel’s tour to this festival in 2018. 

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June: White Nights Festival


Russia’s White Nights Festival is one of the best music and arts festivals happening in 2018, and it happens to take place in the summer, which is the best time to visit St. Petersburg thanks to warmer weather and longer daylight hours. The festival runs from late May to early July, which makes June the height of the celebration. Featured events include the Stars of the White Nights, a ballet performance and opera festival, and Scarlet Sails, a riverbank party that signifies the end of the school year. Expect fireworks, performances, live music, and more.

[st_related]Get prices for St. Petersburg hotels[/st_related]

July: Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival

Located in the middle of the Malaysia’s Borneo jungle, the Rainforest World Music Festival is a bucket-list festival in 2018. Head to the island for the three-day event (July 13 to 15) and immerse yourself in the country’s indigenous cultures by listening to traditional and contemporary music at one of the coolest festivals in the world.

Go: Check out Intrepid Travel’s tour to this festival in 2018.

[st_related]Get prices for Sarawak Cultural Village area hotels[/st_related] 

August: SailWeek Croatia


Grab your closest friends and book yourself a yacht for SailWeek. While it’s not really a “week” anymore, the famous boat-party events are organized group sailboat charters for the summer season along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. Chose from a “party” or “adventure” itinerary and your skipper takes care of the rest. Charters run from Saturday to Saturday, May through September.

Pro Tip: You can avoid the (super) young crowds by going at the end of August, once universities are back in session.

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September: Oktoberfest


Believe it or not, the best time to go to Munich’s Oktoberfest festival is when it all kicks off in September. This year the festival starts on September 22 and runs until October 6. If you’re looking to attend, make your beer tent reservations as soon as possible. In 2017, almost seven million people attended the festival.

[st_related]Get prices for Munich hotels[/st_related] 

October: Sculptures by the Sea

Visit Sydney in late spring for Bondi Beach’s famous art installation, Sculptures by the Sea. It’s the world’s largest, free public sculpture exhibition and features over one-hundred works by both local and international artists. The sculptures are scattered from scenic Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach coastal walk, just outside of central Sydney. The 2018 festival will be held from October 18 to November 4.

[st_related]Get prices for Sydney hotels[/st_related]

November: Day of the Dead


Day of the Dead is an incredible festival to travel to Mexico for. Whether you’re in touristy Cancun or up-and-coming Oaxaca, this Mexican tradition is celebrated throughout the country. On November 1 and 2, locals honor those who’ve passed away through colorful celebrations with alter offerings, food, parades, and decorated cemeteries.

Go: Check out G Adventures’ tour options to this festival in 2018.

[st_related]Get prices for Oaxaca hotels[/st_related]

December: Art Basel Miami Beach


Celebrities and trendsetters flock to Miami in early December for Art Basel’s Miami Beach show, which in 2018 will be taking place December 6 to 9. You’ll find sculptures, paintings, digital art, and more at the galleries in the convention center. Throughout the city you’ll also encounter public art installations, special exhibits, and stylish parties. It’s also a great time to visit Wynwood, an up-and-coming art neighborhood of Miami, as new murals are painted in anticipation of the event each year.

[st_related]Get prices for Miami Beach hotels[/st_related]

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By Ashley Rossi

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

After interning at SmarterTravel, Ashley joined the team full time in 2015. She's lived on three continents, but still never knows where her next adventure will take her. She's always searching for upcoming destination hotspots, secluded retreats, and hidden gems to share with the world.

Ashley's stories have been featured online on USA Today, Business Insider, TripAdvisor, Huffington Post, Jetsetter, and Yahoo! Travel, as well as other publications.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A reusable filtered water bottle—it saves you money, keeps you hydrated, and eliminates waste—win-win."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "A week in a bamboo beach hut on India's Andaman Islands."

Travel Motto: "Travel light, often, and in good company."

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