Finding the time to get away for a night or two can sometimes seem like an impossible task. And if you do find the time, it is often even harder to find something that you can accomplish in a few short days that actually excites you. The last thing you want is to spend all of your time traveling to and from your destination, but what if you can’t find anything you want to do in your local area or you’ve done them to death?
First of all, you don’t have to travel to a high-profile destination to have fun. Sometimes taking the time to explore your own backyard or treating yourself to a luxury hotel is all you need to get away from the daily grind and revitalize for the days and weeks ahead. And of course, if you live in a region with an abundance of attractions and activities, then you will naturally have a lot to choose from.
But for those of you that have no choice but to look further afield, consider destinations that are within a few hours or so driving or flying time from where you are. That way you can spend less than half a day traveling each way and have 48 hours or more in your destination of choice.
Whether your idea of the perfect getaway is filled with adventure, seeing new things, taking in a little culture or something more subdued like lying by a pool, sipping wine or indulging in a full day of spa treatments, here are some short vacation ideas to get you started.
1. The Classic Spa Resort
Okay, not the most inventive, but it’s a classic for a reason. With a few quick clicks you can have yourself booked in for a weekend of pampering and relaxation. Plus, with the popularity of spa treatments, even if you can’t find a nearby spa resort, you will surely find a first-class hotel that also offers a spa.
2. Get Country For The Weekend
A farm or ranch stay offers a fantastic opportunity to get away from it all. Breathe some fresh air, ride a horse, pet some animals, pick some fruit or simply sit on the porch and enjoy some country sunsets.
3. Join A Cruise
If you live in a major port, chances are there are some short cruise options for a quick getaway. From Miami there are 2-3 day Bahama cruises or 4 days from New York. On the west coast you can take a 2-night cruise from Seattle and visit the stunning Canadian cities of Victoria and Vancouver, and for those in the south that can stretch their trip to four days, you can visit Baja, Mexico from San Diego or the Western Caribbean from New Orleans.
4. Go To Wine Country
This one only works if you live near a wine area or can hop a short flight to reach one, but if this is an option for you, it won’t disappoint. Whether it’s a romantic getaway or a girls’ weekend, this one is best enjoyed with a car and driver so everyone can enjoy the wines that await.
5. Take A Road Trip
Pack a bag, load up your favorite tunes and hit the road. Even if you live in the middle of nowhere, chances are there are at least a few destinations within a handful of hour’s drive from your home that are worth visiting. From national and state parks to quirky small towns or big urban centers, there’s always more around you to explore than you think.
6. Go Camping
Unless you’re outdoors adverse, camping is one of the best ways to leave the stress of everyday life behind and reconnect with nature. You can go as high or low tech as you like, but as long as you have a tent, a warm sleeping bag and some food, you’re pretty much ready to go.
7. Charter A Yacht
For the ultimate in water-based getaways, charter a yacht and sail out into the sunset for a day or two. With a crew on board to take care of the sailing, housekeeping and meals, all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the water.
8. Meet Up With Old Friends
Don’t let too much time slip by. Make meeting up with out of town friends easy and fun by choosing a city halfway between your locations and flying in for a weekend catch up. You’ll get to see somewhere new and spend time with one or more of your favorite people.
9. Relax At The Beach
Even if it’s not the nicest beach in the country or even if it’s too cold for swimming, a night or two by the ocean can do wonders for the soul. Choose a quaint seaside boutique lodge, a mega-resort or anything in between, as long as you’re right by the water to maximize your enjoyment.
10. Hop On A Train
So, you might want to skip the California Zephyr for a long weekend trip, but there are still plenty of destinations that are doable over a few days – and many of them travel through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. For example, from Seattle you can be in Vancouver or Portland in four hours or less and your views will be incredible. Likewise, you can be in Boston or Washington D.C. from New York in just a few hours or so. You can also make your train trip the destination with historic railways like the Grand Canyon Railway or the scenic Durango to Silverton Railway in Colorado.
11. Have An Adventure
Book yourself in to do or learn something you’ve never tried before. Go to a surf camp, a ski resort, try zip lining – anything that gets your heart pumping. There are loads of activity-based destinations that offer stay and play packages or you can DIY and book your own activities and accommodation.
12. Book A Swanky Hotel
If you can only getaway for a one night, book a room in a luxury hotel in your city. Go out on the town, grab some dinner or a show, and after a refreshing sleep, indulge in room service and a dip in the pool. After checkout, go to the movies or spend the afternoon shopping before your quick commute home. Don’t forget to ask for a late checkout so you can enjoy your swanky surroundings just a little bit more.
13. Choose To Staycation
If all else fails and you absolutely can’t get away, you can still have a vacation at home. Turn off your phone and do not turn it back on for at least 48 hours. Do not do any work: either professional (like answering emails) or personal (like cleaning). Plan some fun outings or meet up with friends that you haven’t seen for a while. Get outside and enjoy the fall weather. Schedule some you time and get pampered or pick up that book you’ve been dying to read.
Whatever – or wherever – you choose for your next getaway, just be sure to follow these five tips:
- Keep it simple
- Don’t jam pack your days with too many activities
- Choose destinations where you get to spend at least double the amount of travel time
- Go midweek if you can, especially in high tourist season
- Try to do something completely new or memorable