Alright so I’m currently flying to Vegas for the weekend as we speak so I’m in the mood to write about a travel-related topic that I truly believe in; the idea that budgeting your year for multiple small trips is better than having one long vacation.
So here’s the main premise. Regardless of where you live, whether it be the United States, Europe, Asia…wherever….there are plenty of places close enough you can either drive or fly to in order to take a 3-4 day mini getaway.
If you live in Europe, it is super cheap to fly anywhere within your continent. When I was studying abroad in the south of Spain for a semester my classmates and I were able to travel anywhere within the continent for like 60 euros tops. It’s insane. I assume Ryan Air still exists but if it doesn’t there are still plenty of great deals to go see other cultures and hit awesome vacation spots that only require a few hours of flight time.
Now, let’s say you live in the United States. Also, quick note, keep in mind I’m not going to break down every continent because I only have traveling experience in North America and Europe. I’m sure the same principles can be applied to anywhere in the world. Well, unless you live in like Australia then perhaps short trips are a bit limited. Anyway, if you live in the good ol’ US of A, there are tons of great trips to take.
Want a beach trip? You have the East or West Coast to choose from. Florida, California, I mean, even if you’re in the Midwest you can always shoot up to Michigan for some decent beaches.
More of a hiking aficionado? You can find this in any state that has elevation. California, Arizona, any of the north central national parks, Denver, New York, PA, you name it.
Cities with tons of activities to do (think shopping, history, entertainment, whatever)? Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Charleston. I could name 50 cities easily.
People long to travel. Look in any dating app or Instagram bio and you can confirm that. We long to explore and experience different cultures or activities that we don’t get every day. It’s in our nature. Too often we think that we have to save tons of money to hit that one vacation per year, often leading to going to the same spot. In reality, with proper budgeting and saving, the average individual can easily hit 3-5 long weekends per year to exciting new destinations within a few hours of flight time from their own back yard.
Now, let me throw a disclaimer in. Long trips are also fun. I went on a 7 day cruise this year and I”m ready to do that once per year until I can no longer physically snorkel and ride a jet ski. However, Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into thinking that is the only option year after year. At the very least, taking a lot of shorter trips will help you to discover what type of travel you are best suited for, and you can schedule future trips accordingly.
Here’s something you can practically do. Make a list. Make a list of 5-10 destinations that you could realistically travel to for a 3-4 day long weekend. You can prioritize them from most to least desirable. Then, once you’ve done that, look out for flight deals. Google actually has a flight tool now that you can put in your destination and it will notify you when cheap flights are available. It’s pretty amazing.
Another proactive idea I recommend is picking out a weekend you have available a couple months out and taking a Friday, Monday, or both off. That is now your vacation weekend. You then can spend the next month finding a destination that suits your chosen time slot. Find a place that has inexpensive flights, where the weather is ideal, and that has activities you are interested in. After some research you’ll find that you’ve got an exciting trip to look forward to, motivating you over the next few months as the time approaches.
Look, if you’re set in your ways, I get it. We used to do a week vacation to the same hotel in Wildwood Crest New Jersey every summer, and I loved it. Hitting the beach every day, going to my favorite fudge shop, cruising the boardwalk, these are great memories that I have. But, ever since I’ve prioritized shorter getaway vacations I find I have a more fulfilling year when I look back and think about the vacation time I took. In one year I can go for a ski weekend, a beach weekend, a hiking weekend, and a historical city weekend without breaking the bank. That’s what I call a full year of travel.
My last words of encouragement? Make that list. Everyone within 20 min can write down not only 5-10 places they’d like to go, but can list activities they’d like to do at those locations. Make the list, look at some flights, and the possibilities are endless from there.
Make the list.