By Lisa Xia
My simple view on mini-vacations is that you should take them. Simple.
As I write this, I am, in fact, taking one tomorrow—72 glorious hours with my best friend hiking through Antelope Canyon, skydiving over Lake Powell with a little camping and whiskey thrown into the mix. Yes, in exactly 1439 air miles tomorrow, my mind (and body) will be a universe away in natural bliss—a welcome reprieve from city life.
Although I’m always a proponent for a long trip, even those who can average a half dozen a year, need an occasional pick-me-up. Mini-vacations are like a shot of adrenaline and are spontaneous in way sometimes longer trips cannot. Some of my rules of thumb to making the most of your little trips?
1) Wrap in a weekend to your business trip: Day trips kill me. I find them exhausting. Although sometimes a necessary evil, try to take advantage and connect your Monday meetings with a long weekend to New York or Nashville. Perhaps not the place you’d always dreamed of visiting, but are you really counting if the flight is covered?
2) Practice agnosticism: When you know you have a three-day weekend, being open to the destination will broaden your options. It’s still hard for me to justify spending $500 on a flight for only three days, but $250 is easy. I like to use Kayak Explore for destination inspiration.
3) Book direct flights: …and max your travel time to about 3-5 hours: I’ve also taken overnight flights before, but anything much more than a few hours each way is exhausting. Changing planes can also increase your travel time by 50 percent. What’s the point of a 3-day trip when half is spent in transit?
4) Take advantage of spontaneous opportunities: A colleague today revealed that she had once always rebuffed the idea of taking a long weekend to go to, say, a college football game in Florida, because of the perceived hassle. Now I ask myself, “when will I have this opportunity to go again? Maybe never.” Go. Let’s be honest. You never regret it.
5) Pre-plan… but not too much: Take advantage of your limited time by at least outlining a few things you’d like to do, whether that’s hiking the upper canyon (you need to join a tour) or parasailing over Santa Monica. You run the risk of missing out when you just show up to find the tours are booked. But, don’t plan so much that you destroy the spontaneity and potential of it all. After all, our daily lives fall into routine. Part of the escape to know that there is the option of none.
There will always be a million reasons why you shouldn’t go. If only you could save another $100. You have so much work waiting for you on Monday. Let’s be honest. You’ll spend the $100 anyway on something much less. Work will be there until you die. Just go. You’ll forget you’ve spent the money, and the experiences will be worth its weight in gold.