Hey y’all! I’m finally back from travels for a bit and am so happy to be home. Summer has been BUSY, anyone else?! I’ve been traveling a lot, and realized that the majority of my trips were pretty short which I really love to do. After a few days I crave my normal routine in Dallas, but I LOVE to bop around seeing different places.
I wanted to write up a post surrounding those quick vacations that I seem to be the queen of this summer. Another great thing about them is if you plan it out before, you can end up getting a lot out of your trip! The shorter days kind of forces you to streamline what you want to see, do, and how you want to spend your time. Plus, they can be more affordable. #winning all around!
Where Should You Go?
First off, if you only have a few days to take off, it’s smart to go somewhere within a few hours. Whether that’s flying or driving, I try to focus on locations that I can get to within half a day to take advantage of the limited time. Pick a place where you don’t have to change flights three times and save those locations for longer trips. I’m lucky that Dallas is pretty central, so a lot of US destinations end up being doable. I was stoked that our flight to Seattle was direct so traveling there was super simple AND Southwest flies there which is a win-win for me (I HEART southwest so much! and 2 checked bags for FREE! #score)
If it’s within a few hour drive, driving is just easier – plus you’ll have a car when you arrive and can make stops along the way and see even more. When driving, I like to map everything on Google Maps (also download the maps in case you’re driving and the WiFi goes out).
Check out the direct flights your local airport offers and have that list in the back of your mind when planning your vacations -especially the short ones where time is scarce! And once you know the direct flight options, you can consider areas surrounding those major cities as well that you can get to by renting a car. For instance, this was the case for my recent trip to Seattle that I already mentioned – we visited the surrounding areas as well via our rental car as well as my recent trip to Banff (we flew into Calgary and drove to Banff). Follow a few travel accounts on instagram to get inspiration for upcoming trips and search popular travel hashtags too! Oh, and don’t forget about Pinterest – your ultimate guide to wanderlust!
How Should You Get Around?
Obviously if you drove, you’ll be covered. If you flew, I’m a big fan of checking out public transportation prior to arriving. Some cities – Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, NYC, etc., have great ways to get around the whole area and for cheap. If that’s the case, reading up on them and downloading a map of the system beforehand is great.
If you’re not in a metropolitan city with easy public transportation, rent a car if you want to cover a lot of ground. If you’re happy with cabs, Uber, and walking, I personally love not having to deal with renting a car. BUT, having a car is totally worth it if you’re trying to explore outside of town or go more than 20-30 miles in a different direction like I talked about in my road less traveled post here.. A lot of car rental prices can be under $50/day, especially during off-season, so ask to talk to a manager and try for a deal! Also, try and get the weekday rate because it’s so much cheaper than the weekend rate. Also, usually they’ll give you a special deal if you rent the car for a longer period of time – so play around with the dates if you can!
Where Should You Stay?
Again, this depends on the location and type of trip you’re taking, but if you’ll be busy and not home much, a cheap hotel is the way to go. You’ll save money for experiencing the location and if you’re just sleeping and showering somewhere, just make sure it’s safe and good enough!
Airbnb-type places are becoming one of my FAVORITE ways to travel, especially when I want to cook my own food and hit up Farmer’s Markets and things like that. Plus, if there are a few of you going, it’s super affordable!
A nice hotel is obviously the most luxurious choice, and if you’re looking for R&R or will be spending a lot of time resting, it’s nice to be somewhere that can cater to you. Since most hotels have a restaurant, gym, etc. it’s a good way to keep up with your routine in the easiest way.
What Should You Do?
I personally love finding ways to see a lot of ground unless I’m somewhere to fully relax – and that’s usually hard for me because I have so much energy. Plus, I like to save the laying on the baech for longer trips. As I mentioned earlier, I recently went to Seattle and instead of the usual exploring on foot or by car, we went sailing! It was FREEZING (and windy as all get out!) but so much fun; plus we got to see so much of the city from the water that we probably wouldn’t have been able to see on foot! The skyline was stunning! We almost went on another ride when our time was up because it was so nice to relax, chat, and view the city! There’s something about being on a boat that’s just amazing to me and I’d highly recommend this for waterfront cities. Just bring more layers than I did, lol.
Asking friends for recommendations – or going on forums like Reddit – is great because you can usually comb through tourist traps if that’s not your thing. Especially for cities or places I’ve been before, I LOVE finding restaurants, parks, shops, that are away from the madness. I prefer experiencing a city as if I was a local and not a tourist, so that’s always important to me. Reach out to friends on Facebook that live in the area and ask them what an ideal looks like for them in their city, then go from there!
I like to give myself a buffer when getting around and site seeing too. The worst thing is to stress yourself out with too big of an agenda and not enough time to enjoy yourself. Schedule in an extra 15-30 min per activity, meal, whatever, and try not to rush around.
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