Everyone is familiar with the “all work and no play” saying, but it can be incredibly hard for people to find the time to take a decent vacation. This is particularly true for busy professionals who devote long hours and efforts to their companies, but too much time at the office can be bad for one’s physical and mental health.
You don’t have to take two weeks or even one week to refresh your body and mind though, because a quick getaway can be exciting, rewarding and can increase your work productivity upon your return. It doesn’t have to cost you a boatload of cash, either.
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Narrowing Down the Choices
If you’re more limited on time, your quick getaway spot can’t be halfway around the world. Think about where you live, the time of year you can go and if you want to drive or take a short train ride or flight.
Those who only have a weekend to spare and live on the east coast may be able to take short flights to places like Florida, Texas or the majestic Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. And if you have more time and can go farther, be aware of the time changes that might be involved – you’ll lose some time coming or going, and might also have some jet lag.
On the west coast you have endless choices in California, and Tripsavvy lists many of these. Big Sur, the “California Coast Highway” requires a car rental, and you can drive next to mountains and beaches and visit amazing landmarks, restaurants, hike and bike along the way.
Catalina Island is also breathtaking, and just 25 miles outside of Los Angeles – it is known for its exceptional natural beauty, and as a romantic getaway and as a family-friendly, stress-relieving destination.
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Ten Terrific Getaways for Busy Professionals
Upgraded Points shares more great getaway ideas, but your final choice will depend on how much time you have and far you have to go. Here is some inspiration to get the wheel rolling:
1. Cancun, Mexico: With a location close to the Gulf of Mexico and year-round warm temps, Cancun is easy to get to – the beaches are free, and they have a good selection of all-inclusive hotels.
2. Finger Lakes, NY: This part of upstate NY is four hours north of the Big Apple, and is perfect for anyone who appreciates fine wine, craft beer and outdoor sports like biking, hiking and swimming. It’s also full of amazing state parks, gourmet restaurants and charming college towns like Ithaca.
3. Las Vegas, NV: This one can’t be ignored – with its cheap flights, affordable hotel rooms and endless glitz and glamour, this city offers 24/7 excitement and over-the-top attractions.
4. Olympic National Park, WA: This hidden gem has close to one million acres of rainforests, mountains and rugged coastline, and the spring is a great time to see wildlife and experience less crowds. They have a few properties you can stay at for two nights or more.
5. Salt Lake City, UT: The Great Salt Lake is well worth exploring, and you can ski here in the winter, too. The least expensive times of year to visit are in September and October, but you won’t really be able to ski then.
6. Chicago, IL: The windy city has plenty of great parks, concerts, beaches and free museums. You can also research what live shows will be taking place during your visit, and buy tickets ahead of time.
7. Rocky Mountain National Park, CO: You can cover most of this spectacular park in a few days, and a good central place to stay is Estes Park. This is the spot to experience the Rocky Mountains in all their glory, and you can also do some cross-country skiing in the winter.
8. Annapolis, MD: Located halfway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Annapolis is a historic waterfront town that dates back to the U.S. colonial periods. It features cobblestone streets, a public access waterfront, to-die-for restaurants, art galleries and shopping.
9. Hocking Hills, OH: Hikers and other adventurers are drawn to this natural retreat that boasts over 2,300 acres of forested land, with trails for different levels of hiking, ziplining, rock climbing, fishing and canoeing. You can rent a cabin, or stay at one of their charming Innis.
10. Branson, MI: Known as the live entertainment capital of the world, this family-friendly getaway is home to the World’s Largest Toy Museum, the Hollywood Wax Museum, the Promised Land Zoo and Talking Rocks Cavern. It also has plenty of performance venues, and comfortable resorts to stay in – be sure to buy all of your tickets well in advance.
Off the Beaten Track
Still can’t make up your mind? Larger vacation destinations like the Jersey Shore, Orlando, Nashville and New York City are full of amazing landmarks, but if you don’t have a lot of time you might not want to spend it dealing with crowds. U.S. News Travel lists some inexpensive quick vacation getaway spots that can cost less money and offer more privacy.
First on this list is Gulf Shores, AL. It has more than 30 miles of pristine white sand beaches, and spring and fall temperatures that are conducive to sunning and swimming.
Sedona, AZ can be more affordable than Catalina Island, and boasts spectacular scenery, an impressive local art and cultural scene plus world-class restaurants, shopping and golf.
This source also lists other affordable getaway spots, like Stowe, VT, San Antonio, TX, Wisconsin Dells, WI (very family-friendly), Glacier National Park, MT and Memphis, TN. Looking for some more ideas? You might want to consider Myrtle Beach, SC, Savannah, GA or Jackson Hole, WY.
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What Kind of Vacation Do You Really Want?
To make the most of your time off, it first helps to understand what kind of vacation personality you really have. While one person might prefer zoning out and laying on the beach all day, another might look forward to high-energy days filled with bicycling, snowboarding and/or drinking and dancing ‘til dawn. It’s also possible to incorporate all of this into one short trip if you plan carefully enough!
Carolina Country has an interesting post about travel personalities, and their first one (on the beach) was just described: “The Relaxer.” These people are less adventurous, and don’t like to make a lot of decisions. Good choices for these vacationers include cruises, all-inclusive and beach or lake trips. “Adapters” are somewhere in the middle, and can handle adventures and chill out for hours by the pool.
“Explorers” are more about adventure and less about comfort. They tend to extensively research their destinations and plan trips with plenty of action. Suggestions for these personalities include Santa Fe, NM and Bar Harbor, ME.
The last group are the “Trendsetters,” who tend to live more on the edge and take risks. No beach bumming here – suggestions for quick getaways for them include Mount Marcy, NY and Nine Mile Canyon in Utah.