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13 best places to spend this New Year’s Eve

There always seems to be pressure that this New Year’s Eve has to be the best one yet! You get asked questions like ‘who are you going to spend New Year's Eve with’, ‘where are you going for NYE’ and ‘what are your plans’. What if I could answer those New Year's Eve questions for you, by introducing an idea that you probably haven’t thought about? Volunteering!



Why is volunteering a good way to spend New Year’s Eve?

Volunteering isn’t the most conventional way to spend your New Year’s Eve, but doing what everyone else is doing isn’t always the best thing either.

Instead of buying ridiculously expensive ticket to the most popular club, or spending hours looking for the perfect NYE outfit, you could be far, far away exploring a new country.

And Worldpackers is the ideal place to find the best volunteering opportunity over New Year’s Eve. Doesn’t it sound fun to be starting the new year with new friends, all whilst in another country?

Now when you answer those questions about what your plans for New Year’s Eve are, you’re likely to have the most interesting and fun answer.

But here comes the difficult part: deciding where the best places to spend New Year's Eve are. Check out the list below to see recommendations of some amazing places for you to try.

1. Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro skyline

Every year, Rio de Janeiro hosts the biggest carnival in the world. Brazilians really know how to throw an amazing party and dance like nobody's watching!

It's no different for New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro. With around 2 million people flocking to Copacabana Beach every year, the atmosphere is electric.

Brazil also has a few traditions that are fun to be a part of. Most people in Brazil wear white for New Year’s Eve – a tradition based on an African ritual and symbolising peace.

It’s also said that immediately after midnight you should head down to the beach and jump seven waves whilst making seven wishes. What will be your wishes for the new year?

If one night of Caipirinhas and Samba isn’t enough for you, consider volunteering with Worldpackers in Rio de Janeiro or the rest of Brazil.

2. London

Fireworks on the River Thames in London

Somehow, London's epic firework display over the River Thames gets better and better each year. The celebration begins after the goosebump inducing chimes of Big Ben signifying the new year.

One of the best ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in London is to join a boat party on the River Thames. This way you’ll have front row seats for the fireworks.

Throughout London you can find parties to suit every kind of person – 1940’s prohibition parties, circus-themed events, an Alcotraz cocktail experience and plenty more crazy concepts.

Brits really know how to party, so make sure that you can keep up!

Especially around New Year’s Eve, accommodation in London can get pretty expensive. Why not combine your New Year’s Eve celebrations with some time volunteering in London

3. Berlin

Berlin’s nightlife is famous throughout the world. It’s home to some of the most exclusive and elusive clubs on this planet. Clubs like Berghein and KitKatClub are on many people’s ‘nightclub bucket list’.

These places, alongside Berlin’s 4,500 clubs and bars, are some of the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve. In Berlin you’ll find every kind of music – Techno, House, Pop, R&B etc.

If you prefer some fresh air, then the festival at the Brandenburg Gate is one of the world's largest New Year's Eve open-air events.

Berlin is a fascinating city filled with quirky neighbourhoods, interesting history and plenty of beer gardens. If you want to stay a little longer to really experience this city, check out the volunteering opportunities available in Berlin

4. Medellín

Medellin at night

There are parties going on every single day in Medellín, Colombia. The reggaeton and dancing never stops! Somehow, it manages to take its dynamic nightlife to another level on New Year’s Eve.

The unforgettable parties aren’t just reserved for the 31st December. These celebrations extend to a few days either side of New Year’s Eve.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe, then head to one of Medellín’s rooftop bars and watch the sky light up with fireworks when the clock strikes 12.

Once the NYE parties are over, Medellín is a sprawling and vibrant city with a fascinating story that you should explore.

Volunteering in Medellín over New Year’s Eve would certainly be one that you won’t forget!

5. Kiribati

You might not have heard of this small tropical island in the centre of the Pacific Ocean. But, it’s the first country in the world to welcome in the new year.

Whilst being one of the first people to celebrate the new year is a unique way to start the year, the islands of Kiribati are an incredible destination too.

Kiribati is for travellers looking to get off the beaten track and have an adventure. The islands offer ultimate tranquillity, turquoise waters and idyllic beaches.

6. Sydney

Sydney Harbour

If flying to an isolated island in the middle of the ocean sounds a little too difficult for you, then Sydney could be a good alternative. It’s the first major city in the world to celebrate the New Year.

More than one million people head to Sydney every year to watch the impressive fireworks light up the sky above Sydney Harbour. Watch as the lights reflect off iconic monuments such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Another bonus is that New Year’s sits in the middle of the Australian summer. You can nurse your hangover on one of Sydney’s famous golden-sand beaches.

If this is a destination that you’d like to explore, make sure to check out Worldpackers work exchange and volunteer programs in Australia.

7. New York City

Times Square, New York City

Of course New York City had to make it onto this list!

As the clock ticks closer to midnight, eyes from around the world turn to Times Square and the famous Ball Drop. Instead of watching it on the TV this year, why not witness it in person?

Soak up the excitement and energy of thousands of people also wanting to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new. The unity in these few minutes is indescribable!

There aren’t many great hostels in New York City, so an awesome way to make new friends to celebrate with is to join a work exchange or volunteering opportunity in the city.

8. Tulum

Over the past few years, Tulum has been appearing on most travellers' radars. We’ve all seen the extravagant beach clubs, exotic outfits and delicious cocktails.

There are countless parties to choose from for New Year’s Eve in Tulum. You can even spend the night dancing in a cenote – a natural sinkhole filled with vibrant blue water.

Whether you’re arriving in Tulum with friends or alone, you’ll leave with friends for life after having shared this night together.

In particular, Tulum is an ideal location for solo travellers due to the number of fun hostels there.

The only downside to Tulum is its prices. They’re pretty high all year round, but soar even higher during holidays and celebrations.

A solution to this problem is to volunteer in Tulum. This way you’ll receive free accommodation in exchange for your skills and time. Plus you’ll get to meet some interesting people to celebrate with.

9. Prague

Renowned for its nightlife as much as its beauty, Prague is a New Year’s Eve hotspot.

People from all over the world flock to Prague for New Year’s Eve, knowing that they are guaranteed a good time. Whether you want to party or enjoy a delicious meal, there are plenty of options in Prague.

At midnight the parties flood onto the streets so that people can revel in the glow of the fireworks over the Vltava River.

If this sounds like your kind of place to see in the New Year, why not stay a bit longer and volunteer in Prague?

10. Budapest

Ruin bar in Budapest

Budapest has a vibrant party scene all year round. Its ruin bars – drinking spots situated inside neglected pre-war buildings – are a unique place to spend New Year’s Eve.

Covered in graffiti, plants and lights, they are the perfect background for some awesome New Year’s Eve photos with new friends.

Budapest is one of the cheapest destinations in Europe to buy alcohol – ideal for those on a budget.

After you’ve made your New Year’s resolutions make sure to spend time exploring Budapest. Some great spots to visit include Budapest's thermal baths, Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle.

If you want to have a different experience to most tourists that visit Budapest, make sure to check out Worldpackers work exchange and volunteer programs.

11. Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv skyline

Despite not officially being a recognised holiday in Israel, each year more and more Israelis are keen to join the worldwide party. And its pulsating nightlife makes it one of the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Whilst the bars and nightclubs are pretty insane in Tel Aviv, there are plenty of other ways to see in the new year.

Join a street party and get some iconic pictures in front of Tel Aviv’s street art. Have dinner at one of Tel Aviv’s top restaurants. Or find an intimate spot and enjoy some live music.

One word of warning, Tel Aviv is an expensive city. So, avoid this problem by volunteering! You can save on accommodation, and sometimes food, by applying for one of the opportunities on Worldpackers.

12. Lisbon

Ready to eat 12 raisins, make 12 wishes and toast the new year all whilst the bells toll twelve? It sounds like a lot to do at the same time, but that’s how the Portuguese welcome the new year.

All of the fun isn’t reserved for just the 31st December. There are also events on the 29th and 30th, including concerts in Praça do Comércio and even a 10km race.

Some potential ways to spend your New Year’s Eve can be joining a pub crawl, hopping on a river cruise, enjoying a fado evening or taking part in a dinner that lasts all night.

Most people that visit Lisbon fall in love with it! If that turns out to be you, it’s possible to extend your trip by volunteering in Lisbon.

13. Koh Phanghan

Fire performance on Koh Phangan

Koh Phanghan has had a lot of practice when it comes to throwing the most epic parties. This island in Thailand is famous for its full-moon parties.

Every New Year’s Eve, around 20,000 travellers head to Koh Phanghan to cover themselves in paint, dance around bonfires on the beach and drink their body weight in alcohol.

Partying all night long alongside other travellers is likely to be one of the best New Year’s Eves that you’ll ever have.

Why not extend your trip to Thailand? There are many Thailand volunteering opportunities on Worldpackers such as teaching, permaculture and hospitality. 

Are you going to volunteer this New Year’s Eve?

Wherever in the world you pick to celebrate New Year’s Eve, combining it with volunteering is going to make it a unique and memorable experience.

If you’re travelling alone, volunteering is a great way to find new life-long friends to celebrate with. Even if you’re travelling with someone else, the more the merrier, right?

What better way to start a new year, than giving your time to help others and spending it with like-minded people.  

Did you like these ideas? Subscribe to the Worldpackers Community for free and start saving your favorite volunteer positions until you are ready to get verified. 

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