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How To Make the Most of a Short Trip

©istockphoto/Minerva Studio

©istockphoto/Minerva Studio

Most people would agree that going on a short trip is better than going on no trip at all.

Whether you have a limited number of vacation days or your travel budget is on the low side of things, shorter trips can still be a ton of fun—you just need to know a few tricks to make the most of your time. Here’s how you can maximize your experience, even if you’re only gone for a couple of days.

Sort the Logistics
When time is limited, every minute is precious—you definitely don’t want to waste a few hours waiting for a train, nor do you want to show up to a major attraction only to realize it’s closed for renovations.

Do your homework ahead of time and set some of your plans in stone, particularly those relating to transportation and accommodation. The more you plan ahead of time, the less you have to do while you’re there—and the more time you’ll have for fun stuff.

Go In With Goals
There’s a time and place for spontaneity, but with a short trip, it’s best to have an idea of what it is you want to accomplish. It’s not realistic to do it all in just a few days, so focus on the places, people, and attractions you absolutely need to see on this trip.

Location Over Luxury
Choose your accommodations wisely. Location is a non-negotiable: find somewhere that’s close to the things you want to do, minimizing the time you need to spend in transit.

On the other hand, there’s no need to splurge on fancy interiors or amenities. Aim to spend as little time in the hotel as possible, choosing instead to maximize your time exploring the sights and taking in the local culture. A comfortable bed and a safe place to stash your stuff is all you really need.

Travel Strategically
Travel—whether it’s to or from your destination of choice, or jumping from place to place throughout your trip—can take up a lot of precious time.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to sleep on planes, trains, or busses, aim to travel overnight to maximize your daylight hours. Spring for direct flights to minimize time wasted on layovers or—even worse—delays.

Attitude is Everything
Accept the fact that you won’t be able to do it all on one trip. If you go in with the wrong attitude, you won’t be able to appreciate all of the awesome things that you are able to do on your short trip.

Remember, traveling isn’t about checking off a list of sights or activities. You can get more out of a conversation with a friendly stranger than from hopping from overpriced attraction to overpriced attraction.

Make Every Minute Count
Soak up the culture as much as humanly possible by taking advantage of every little opportunity. Walk instead of cabbing. Grab your latte from a local coffee shop and skip your usual Starbucks. Listen to local radio stations, not your iPod playlist.

Plan to Return
The best part of a short trip is that it gives you just enough time to fall in love with a place. You’ve had a taste of what your destination has to offer—now, make plans to return one day to explore it in even more depth.


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