A lot of times when we travel, we block off days, request off of work, save thousands of dollars, book the itinerary months in advance and that’s all after synchronizing schedules with a travel buddy or two to accompany you on your trip. PHEW! That’s a lot of effort for only a week’s break from reality every couple years. Well… what if there was another way to get away without all the hassle? (Scroll down for a quick list of tips)
Change your perspective, change your life.
First, scrap the whole idea of taking a long vacation. Long vacations are fantastic and can be vital to replenish your zen, but lets talk about adventure! All you need is a couple of days to experience a new city you’ve never seen before. Consider it a long layover on a short weekend.
Go to SkyScanner.com/inspire/map right now and I bet you can find at least 3 destinations for around $100. I chose the middle of the country as an example, but you can have success out of LAX, JFK, ATL, DFW, you name it! Tickets from Kansas City to Orlando are $70 round trip (RT), but you can also go to Los Angeles for $106 or Denver for $79.
Once you click on a destination you want, it will find all the prices across all airlines. It will have an option that says View Month to see what prices are available on which dates, making it even easier for you to tailor your trip to your needs.
Next, you have the wonderful world of AirBnb. If you have not at least scrolled through AirBnB for an afternoon of daydreaming, you’re REALLY missing out! From personal experience (in many cities and countries), AirBnB hosts are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Think of your aunt and uncle who loves to entertain and invite guests over for game night with lots of food and drinks. Now, your host may not provide food and entertainment, however they know the area like the back of their hand and will probably have a ready-made list of things for you to do and how to get there. For just $41/night, you can stay in downtown Denver in a queen size bed with your own bathroom in a brand new townhouse.
You can spend a weekend painting a town red for the price of a date night or less than concert tickets! Are you getting into it yet? Here’s a quick list of tips to travel like you’ve only got one night in town:
- Use sites like Skyscanner that will show you a list of places from your home airport so that you can just pick a random city with the prices you want.
- Its great to have a travel buddy, but this is 24 hours of You Time. Please dont wait, just go!
- Book a Private Room on AirBnB with at least a dozen great reviews. You’re only there for one night and you will be exploring all day; booking the Entire Place is for long vacations not long layovers.
- Star places you want to see on your Google Maps and ask your host questions prior to arriving. This will take out all the guesswork once you arrive. Downloading the area on your Google Maps app will be a lifesaver when you are in an area with limited cell service. Be sure to download your path from the airport as well.
- Pack a portable charger, extra underwear, meds, good shoes and cash. Travel as light as you can, you only need a backpack for this adventure.
- Once you arrive, take the train from the airport! Yes, I know, you are a strong, bad and boujee individual. You are totally worth a Lyft ride from the airport, but this is an adventure and we’re saving that $40 for dinner. The train is less than $10, take the train.
- Say, “YES!” You are away from work, your kids and your stressors. Be bold and say, “yes!” to activities you wouldn’t normally participate in back home.
- Budget not only your money, but more importantly, your time. Two hours is generally enough time to get all you need out of an experience. If you want to stay longer, stay! If you’d had your fill, move on to the next thing.
- Be sure you are safe and that someone you trust has the addresses and general itinerary of where you are that day.
- Take lots of pictures to reflect on later. It will really solidify what a great time you had. If you can, unplug from social media altogether and just decompress.
You will find yourself sampling flights of tequila you never knew existed, chatting with amazing people in local bars, or trekking through snow capped mountains. Think of finding an amazing skirt at a local thrift store and feeling the like “wow, Amazing Skirt, we were destined to meet each other in Orlando.” In only 24-48 fleeting hours of escape, you will feed your inner nomad and find yourself ready to return to the comforts of home.
(Stay tuned for some of my favorite long layovers in Denver, Chicago and more!)