You’re home from vacation, and now you need a vacation to recover from your vacation. Your feet are sore, you’re tired, and you have a mountain of laundry to do before returning to work. To top it all off, you’re now out of paid vacation days at work. You’re going to spend months listening to Angela from Accounting talk about pampering her cats before you get to escape again.
If this experience sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. It’s exactly why the current micro travel trend has become so popular. The term “micro travel” describes a certain kind of trip taken by people who crave smaller, more focused experiences when they travel. Micro travel trips are short, expertly planned weekend getaways that focus on maximizing the amount of time you spend experiencing the things you love before getting back into the office for the Monday morning meeting. The shorter timetable and tight planning allow you to save money, save your paid vacation days, and take trips more often.
For one reason or another, more and more people are opting to squeeze shorter trips in between their week-to-week demands. Instead of feeling like your vacation consisted of check marks on a to-do list, your trips can inspire jealousy and make your Instagram followers drool. (And isn’t that the goal?) Bite-sized travel experiences allow you to check off more bucket list items, more often.
The secret to a successful short trip is in the planning. Use these micro travel planning tips as a guide to minimize time in transit and maximize your trip’s possibilities.
1. Pick an Easy-To-Get-To Destination for Your Mini Vacation
Hit a Hub City
Cut down on your travel time by picking a city you can get to with a direct flight. If you live in New York or Atlanta, you’re in luck and have hundreds of destinations to choose from. But for those who live in smaller cities, you’ll need to fly into a hub city to get a direct flight.
These are the cities you find yourself stopping in for a connecting flight as these hubs offer tons of flights to and from other airports all over the country and internationally. Save yourself some time by planning your trip to one of these hub cities, which are all exciting destinations in their own right. Then, getting back home easily is just the cherry on top. You won’t even have to worry about missing your connection!
The biggest hubs are in these 10 cities:
- Atlanta (ATL)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Chicago (ORD, MDW)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
- Denver (DEN)
- New York (JFK, LGA, EWR)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Seattle (SEA)
- Charlotte (CLT)
Stay in (or near) Your Time Zone
When your entire vacation experience needs to fit into a weekend, there isn’t much time for adjusting to a new time zone or dealing with jet lag on either end of your travels.
To avoid dealing with long recovery times, plan to head north or south of where you live while staying in or near your original time zone. Snag a map and scope out the cities that are to the north and south of you and inside your own time zone, and the ones on either side of yours. You can enjoy an entirely different culture while also avoiding jet lag. This will minimize recuperation time so you can get back to your routine the minute you return from your trip.
Wake Up There
If you’re the kind of person who can sleep through anything, consider finding an overnight flight or train ride to get you there. Jump on board and snuggle in with a travel pillow, eye mask, and noise-canceling headphones. The next thing you know, you’ll be arriving in your destination rested and ready to seize the day. As an added bonus, you’ll also have saved money by not needing a hotel for that night.
2. Plan the Details of Your Micro Travel Trip Ahead of Time
Ok, so you’ve picked your destination, figured out the timeline, and snagged your tickets to get there. Now it’s time to take care of the details.
We’ve previously suggested tips for planning the ultimate weekend getaway, and the same information can be useful when it comes to micro travel. Keep the trip simple. Plan a couple things you know you don’t want to miss each day, but don’t pack the days so full you won’t be able to relax and enjoy it.
Keep the Plan Simple—But Still Make a Plan
We suggest planning one big activity per day—like a nearby hike or tickets to a show—and choosing at least one place to eat per day before you arrive at your destination. For a hike, plan your route ahead of time, and grab tickets to attractions or shows in advance. You can either keep tickets digitally on your phone or print them and put them with your travel documents. Once you figure out where you’d like to eat, save time by securing a reservation, and you’ll avoid the long lines during peak meal times.
If you know what you want to see, eat, and do, check out deal sites like Groupon for discounts on activities, services, and restaurants. You could find the same experiences there and save yourself some cash for something else on the trip.
Only Pack What You Need
Another way to save time and avoid stress is to pack light. Once you know where you’re going, what the weather will be like, and the activities you want to enjoy, pack only the necessary items. Think about packing and wearing versatile clothing that can be dressed up for more formal occasions but is still comfortable and casual enough to wear anytime.
If you pack only the necessities, you can use a backpack or small carry-on bag for everything you pack. You’ll not only save money on baggage fees, but you’ll save time getting to and leaving the airport by avoiding the baggage check areas.
One way to avoid over-packing is to create or download a thorough packing list of everything you could need for a trip. Start by marking off anything you won’t need for this trip. Then, remove items that you know your hotel will provide. Review what is left on the list and remove anything that is not essential. Then pack only what is left.
Get a Ride
Save time getting to and from the airport by getting someone to drop you off and pick you up at the terminal. If you don’t have a family member or friend who is available, use a taxi or ride-sharing service like Lyft. You’ll save time by avoiding public transit schedules, not having to find a parking spot, not picking up or returning a rental vehicle, and you won’t be waiting on an airport shuttle. When you land at home, you can get back to your regularly scheduled responsibilities without wasting a minute.
Expert Tip: Get TSA PreCheck
Long security lines can eat up time after arriving at the airport. To shorten the window of time between when you get off work and when you board the plane, apply for TSA PreCheck status. It costs $85 to be certified for five years. Apply online, go to a short in-person meeting where you’ll verify your identity, and then zip through the screening lines from then on.
According to the TSA website, in March 2019, 92% of PreCheck members waited five minutes or less in security lines. As a bonus, you won’t have to remove your shoes, belt, light jacket, laptop, or liquids. Just imagine the freedom you’ll feel.
3. Enjoy Hassle-Free Hotel Search with Roomkey
While you’re saving time and money planning your micro travel experience, use roomkey.com to search for the perfect hotel room. We don’t use gimmicks to lure you in; we help you book directly with the hotel (so you get the best possible customer service), and we won’t stress you out by hounding you to bundle a flight or rental car to your reservation.
We’re serious about providing you with a transparent hotel booking experience every time you travel. Our map search feature will help you find the perfect hotel room near the attractions you’re planning to visit during your bite-sized vacation. Where will you go this weekend?
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