No matter how much PTO we have, it never seems to be enough. A wedding here, a college reunion there, family holidays — before you know it, all of your precious days off have been eaten up by those occasions that, while fun and meaningful, wouldn’t exactly qualify as relaxing. You’re craving a chance to totally escape, yet you’re looking at your calendar wondering how you’ll ever find the time (or money!) to take off on that two-week trip to Italy.
But, before you resign yourself to living a life without wanderlust, consider planning a 24-hour getaway. It doesn’t need to be fancy; it doesn’t need to be far. All you have to do is get in the car, hop on a train, or book a quick flight somewhere that you can get to and from in just a weekend. A short trip is all you need to reset your outlook, avoid burnout, and feel restored and refreshed.
1. Short trips make travel more accessible
Before we even get into all the other wonderful things about taking a quick getaway, I want to point out that short trips allow you the chance to travel more frequently. You could book one big trip across the Atlantic, or you could plan four weekend trips within a few hours of your home. Don’t get me wrong, I love a grand adventure, but it’s not always realistic given schedules and funds. And, as NBC News reported, short weekend excursions may actually be better for your mental health than one longer vacation.
Plus, short trips allow you the chance to travel with different groups of friends! A spa weekend with girlfriends, a trek to a nearby mountain town with your book club, a romantic escape with your partner — you’re given the opportunity to reconnect more often and with more people.
2. The lead-up is almost as good as the trip itself
A 2010 study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life found that our greatest pleasure in traveling doesn’t necessarily come from the vacation itself, but rather from the anticipation and planning that leads up to the trip, according to HuffPost. We can spend months, or even weeks, looking forward to a trip and fully immersing ourselves in giddy escapism. Lunch breaks are spent researching restaurants, finding the perfect bed and breakfast, and pouring over lists of the best coffee shops in the city.
So, to circle back to frequency, if it’s the planning that’s bringing us happiness and taking short trips leads to taking more trips, all this vacationing means we’re exponentially happier, right?
3. Those emails can wait until Monday
We know the benefits of disconnecting from both our work and personal email (and, yes, social media too), but how often do we actually do it? The most stressful part of setting our out of office is the build up: trying to make sure everything is in place for things to run smoothly while we’re gallivanting around. Then, on top of that, there’s the worry that you’ll come back to a giant mess (can things really run without us?!).
When you get away for only 24 to 48 hours and it’s on a weekend, you avoid the stress of preparing for time away from your desk. It’s less intimidating to unplug just briefly and you’ll avoid those post-vacation scaries.
4. Affordable travel is stress-free travel
Guess what one of the biggest perks of a 24-hour getaway is? Two words: Budget. Friendly. You’re only paying for one night in a hotel or Airbnb, you’re only splurging on four or five meals out, and you’re not booking an expensive flight. That means you can escape for just a couple hundred bucks — or spend your dollars elsewhere, like on a massage or that bougie bottle of champagne.
Plus, one day away is easy to plan. Forget the Google doc itinerary, get in the car, and go.
5. There could be an unexpected post-trip benefit too
Finally, my absolute favorite part of the quick trip: returning home with a new, fresh perspective. When you get out of your routine, you open yourself up to be inspired. You notice all of the beauty in a new place, all of the quirky spots waiting to be discovered, and when you get back home, you begin to nice everything that’s wonderful and special in your own community.
Sometimes all it takes is a little time away to realize how good home is.