When it comes to travel, sometimes getting where you want to go is half the battle.
Six years ago when we took our first trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, it was easy to find a direct flight (to Cancun, at least, which is about a 45 minute drive from Playa). This year we struggled to find any flight that worked with our plans (you know, without a massive layover) — let alone a direct one.
We absolutely love the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, but even though they’re relatively nearby it takes at least one very long day of travel to reach them. When you add up all of the modes of transportation — car, subway, airplane, taxi, ferryboat, taxi — you can imagine two exhausted travelers dragging themselves toward the check-in desk.
I’ll admit we’re older than we used to be, but it definitely feels like it’s getting more and more difficult to book a quick getaway. And, generally speaking, we have to keep our trips short because we both hold jobs in the “no-vacation nation,” where time off is treated as a perk and people only use about half of the time off they have available.
That’s not to say our employers aren’t willing to grant our vacation time requests. On the contrary, they’re typically delighted and supportive of a well-deserved break (yes, we’re lucky and we know it!). But no matter what the reason for a short getaway, it’s frustrating to book a five-day vacation where days one and five are both dedicated to travel.
Making the Most of It
Of course, even the shortest of trips can be excellent if you use your time wisely.
For example, when we booked a quick visit to the Bahamas for our wedding anniversary, I scheduled a massage for shortly after we arrived. It helped me cast off the (admittedly mild) travel stress and downshift into vacation mode right away.
We’ve also done our best to schedule some kind of excursion — a sailing trip, SCUBA, etc. — for the morning after we arrive. That way we get up and get our first day started at a reasonable hour. If we want to sit on the beach or by the pool for the rest of our trip that’s fine, but pre-planning for that first morning or day helps us embrace the fact that we’re on vacation.
I’m also fortunate to be married to a planner. Zeke enjoys looking at all of the review websites and picking out places we can explore, possible dinner locations, and anything else that catches his eye. Sometimes we stick to those loose plans for dinner at a Greek restaurant a few blocks from our hotel and other times we toss that idea out the window and opt for the local fare across the street, but it’s always nice to have a few possibilities in mind before we’re trying to decide what to do next.
What are your tips and tricks for getting the most out of a short getaway?