Planning Mini Vacations – Take Advantage of Small Travel Opportunities 10

When you have a full time job and fit travel around the edges, you tend to think that you can only take two or three vacations a year. However, with careful planning, you can really extend the number of vacations you can fit in. I take a few week long vacations every year or even ten day vacations, but I try to schedule them around a three day weekend and work the Saturday at the end of the trip. I hoard all the days I can to create three day vacations to explore a nearby location. I can fit in about twenty extra mini vacations a year with this mindset, although some are only Friday night to Sunday evening.

Mariner Park in Joppa, Maryland

Here are a few tips to make the most of your vacation time:

Travel Local

Consider traveling to nearby locations for these mini trips to make the most of your time. I try to keep my drive time to eight hours or less and leave the night I finish work (or catch red eye flights if I am going further afield) so I end up waking up the first morning of my vacation in the place I am exploring.

Know Your Holiday Schedule

Look at your work holiday calendar at the beginning of the year and pinpoint all holidays that are not going to create traffic headaches. For example, Veteran’s Day weekend is a perfect holiday for an extended vacation. (Bonus! Free entrance to National Parks in the USA all weekend! It is a great time to visit a battlefield to pay tribute to veterans from generations past. If National Parks aren’t your thing, check out events in a small town you’d like to explore and see when their parades and celebrations are scheduled.)

Plan an Itinerary

Even if you are usually a pantser during long trips, it is important to figure out exactly what you’ll be doing on these shorter trips. Otherwise, you’ll spend too much of your short vacation figuring out what to do and where to do it. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate itinerary, but knowing where you want to eat your meals, which museum you want to visit and how much beach time you want is key to feeling like you’ve managed to actually see the place you’re visiting.

Look for Sales

Put every extended weekend on your calendar and make a note of the places you’d like to visit. Then, keep an eye on Groupon,, etc. to see if any of them come up with a good sale on accommodations or events. When you see a deal come through, consult your calendar and book it. I’ve noticed that if I don’t plan ahead like this, I will get to the weekend in question and discover all the affordable and fun places are booked. While I’d like to spend a weekend in Lititz, I would prefer to spend less than $300 a night and I would like my accommodations to be part of the experience. Planning ahead lets me find a cool B&B where I can actually help with the farm chores in the morning and get a home cooked farmhouse breakfast over staying in a bland chain hotel.

Plan Your Work Schedule

Try to plan your work schedule to get more out of your weekend. Many times, I work the Friday shift instead of Saturday when there is a Monday holiday. If I ask to switch to the Tuesday night shift, I’ve got all morning Tuesday to get home and can enjoy three nights at my vacation location.

Do you plan mini vacations to locations that are close by? If so, what tips do you have to help make the most of the time?

About KateTravels

Kate loves to explore new places. She often begins planning her next trip before her suitcase is unpacked! She is currently working on her goal of fifty by 50, with detours to places outside the USA or trips back to states she's already visited to discover new towns or enjoy new sights. In addition to travel, Kate is passionate about photography, dabbles in painting and cannot start her mornings without a good cup of tea. Her most recent travels were to Rhode Island and the Azores. She will also be traveling to the Eastern shore of Maryland and Iceland in 2016.

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10 thoughts on “Planning Mini Vacations – Take Advantage of Small Travel Opportunities

    • KateTravels Post author

      Jen, True! I tend to want to spend longer someplace if I take a flight over 3 hours, as my knees hate flying. If my knees are going to be killing me from sitting 6 hours on a plane, I want to enjoy a full week in my new destination before I turn around and fly home.

  • Maggie

    Great tips! We try to go away 1-2 times per month. I don’t normally plan anything in advance, and just kind of go with whatever is on sale. As a result, we have visited some amazing places that we would’ve otherwise overlooked. Sometimes a weekend getaway is what you need!

  • Rosi C.

    I work full time too. I usually travel by using holidays.. Memorial, indy day, labor day and Thanksgiving to extend the trip days. Of course use vacay days and sick days very wisely. I am also on 50/50/ by age 50

  • Jasmine Caceres

    I try to do my share of longer trips, but working a 9-5 is definitely limiting. Thankfully, from New York, there are so many East Coast towns that are easily accessible for quick weekend trips. Thanks for the tips!

  • Chloe

    I don’t really plan mini vacations apart from going over to London to see my boyfriend. But I’ll keep these tips in mind in future! I’m sure they’ll come in handy

  • Ariana del Rio

    This is some great advice for people looking to get more vacations in various locations/destinations tonfit into a year. It’s hard for me to want just a min trip because I get so excited about seeing new places, and I’d hate to be limited to just 2 or 3 days by still some great advice!