Start the New Year in These Interesting Locations

New Year’s Eve – the one night a year you stay up until midnight and count backward from 10 – is one of the biggest party nights of the year. But even before the ball drops in Time Square in New York City, multiple time zones have already ringed in the New Year.

We have cobbled together some far-off and amazing locations for you to consider ringing in 2014, places both near and far.


Kiribati, a tiny chain of islands located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, is the first area on Earth to ring in New Year’s. Known for its fishing expeditions and bird-watching areas, Kiribati was host to World War II battles. Costal defense guns and concrete bunkers are still visible, and during low tide, rusted tanks, downed planes and shipwrecks can be seen along the coastlines.

How to Get There
There are no direct flights to the island, so expect a couple layovers. You will have to fly into Hawaii, Fiji, Australia or New Zealand and make a connecting flight. Also, travel dates are limited to Monday through Thursday, depending on what carrier you fly. And with the International Date Line bordering the easternmost island, you will need to pay extra close attention to your schedule. The government has a nice breakdown of flights, time and airlines right for you.

Or you can let FareCompare help you plan you find a cheap flight to Kiribati.


Auckland/Wellington, New Zealand
If you are looking for a place a little more reachable – and a place you won’t have to explain to your friends when they quizzically ask, “Where?” – and celebrate the second New Year’s Eve celebration, then head to New Zealand. This set of islands off the east coast of Australia feature more sheep than citizens and boasts beautiful scenic landscapes. Ever seen “Lord of the Rings”? You can take a tour of where some of the movie was shot.

Auckland and Wellington – two cities that are in the second time zone to kick off the festivities – are two of the largest cities on the pair of islands, so expect celebrations throughout the cities.

How to Get There
Auckland has direct flights from cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sydney. If you are heading to Wellington, it is a short layover in Auckland before reaching the capital city.

Let us do the work for you – find the cheapest airline tickets to Auckland and the lowest airfares to Wellington.

You’ve got the first two places to celebrate, now how about the last two?


American Somoa/Hawaii
The westernmost islands before the International Date Line, American Somoa is located in the Pacific Ocean, halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. While it may be in the middle of the ocean, they use the dollar as currency, so Americans don’t need to exchange money. And when it comes to celebrating the stroke of midnight, residents love the fact they are the last place on Earth to ring in the New Year.

How to Get There
Like Kiribati, flights in and out of American Somoa are limited by carrier and by days. Most flights operate from Monday-Thursday, so plan ahead and realize you can’t just up and leave whenever you want. See more details about the flight schedule.

Let us help you find a cheap flight to American Somoa.

If you want to celebrate in a bigger city but still a tropical getaway, then head to Hawaii. Fireworks displays pepper the series of islands, so there’s always something going on somewhere. And what’s not to love about Hawaii? Volcanoes, pristine beaches on the Pacific Ocean and a great history of the Hawaiian natives.

How to Get There
When it comes to flying, Hawaii boasts 11 airports across the state, but the most popular destination is Honolulu International Airport, located on the island of Oahu.

Search all your options for cheap airline tickets to Hawaii.


The home of Greenwich Mean Time, London puts on an amazing New Year’s Eve show. The Mayor’s midnight fireworks on the banks of the Thames River attract more than 250,000 people every year. If you’re going, get there early for the best spot, as locals start lining up three hours before midnight.

How to Get There
When flying to London, while the most popular choice for airport may be Heathrow, don’t forget about Gatwick Airport, about 25 miles south of London. Smaller airports tend to be easier to navigate and offer cheaper flights.

Find cheap tickets to London and don’t forget to mind the gap.


Looking for something a little quieter? Tokyo, while a bustling city in the heart of Japan, does not celebrate New Year’s with as much fanfare as the rest of the world. Fireworks aren’t very common and don’t expect rowdy crowds and a lot of noise. Instead, families tend to visit shrines and temples to worship at midnight. It’s also common for people to stay up all night and watch the first sunrise of the new year. When it comes to entertainment before and after the holiday, keep in mind many museums, restaurants, gardens and attractions are closed for multiple dates, so plan ahead.

How to Get There
When flying to Tokyo, the biggest airport is Tokyo International Airport, a major hub for connecting flights throughout Asia. But again, smaller can sometimes be cheaper and easier, so look in to Narita International Airport, about 40 miles east of Tokyo.

Don’t forget to learn a couple Japanese words before looking for cheap flights to Tokyo. Konichiwa!


New Orleans
Looking for some Southern hospitality coupled with great creole cooking in a historic location? Look no further than New Orleans, a festive city at the foot of the Mississippi River and sitting on the banks of the beautiful Lake Pontchartrain. While the Big Easy is mainly known for its Mardi Gras event, New Year’s Eve is one of the city’s biggest party nights of the year.

How to Get There
New Orleans’ main airport is Louis Armstrong International, but don’t overlook Lakefront Airport, just east of the city.

Either way, when you are looking for the lowest airfares to New Orleans, you are in for a great time.


New York
Nothing screams midnight like the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Times Square. An estimated 1 million people descend on the area to ring in the New Year. And when the ball finally drops and people start celebrating, 1 ton of confetti is released on the energetic crowd.

How to Get There
New York offers three airports to choose from, all less than 15 miles from the city that never sleeps. JFK is the go-to airport, but don’t forget about LaGuardia and Newark. Again, smaller and possibly cheaper. And every dollar you save can go toward buying goofy glasses and noisemakers.

Let us help you find cheap flights to New York and ring in the new year in the Big Apple.


Updated: November 13, 2014