As the holiday season approaches, many people have set their vacation plans for the rest of the year. But even the most rested souls may need a short vacation before the end of November.
If you need a break before the winter holidays but are constrained by limited free time or lack of money, look for a “micro trip”.
What is a microtrip anyway?
A micro trip (or micro vacation) refers to a trip that lasts up to three days. These getaways can be balm for the stressed out soul and let you get away for a bit without having to worry about returning home from an extended trip just to need a break from your vacation.
A micro trip requires the same questions as any vacation:
How do you get there?
Once you have answered these three questions, the other details will quickly become clear.
Location, location, location
When you think of a vacation, you might imagine exotic, far-flung places – but don’t forget cities within reach that are particularly good candidates for a micro-trip. Over the past year, I have micro-traveled from Omaha, Nebraska, to the nearby cities of Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri – both of which I have visited many times over the years. But this year I decided to let myself be surprised and delighted by things that I hadn’t experienced before.
Look for unique local festivals or interesting opportunities that will make a familiar place feel new. For me, handcrafted cocktails in a dimly lit whisper bar were a nifty highlight of my Kansas City micro trip – which otherwise included long afternoons exploring the fantastic Nelson-Atkins Museum. And crab rangoon pizza and tiki drinks in an Alton Brown-approved eatery strengthened my inner gourmet in Des Moines.
Don’t necessarily cut down on distant places for a micro-trip. If you have time to plan ahead, there are many ways you can get a great bargain even when you are far from home. While last minute flight deals are harder to find, they’re not impossible.
When you know exactly where you want to go, sign up for Google Flights notifications to keep an eye out for deals. If you’re unsure of where to go, a tool like Brisk Voyage can help you take spontaneous weekend getaways. Just log on to your nearest airport and receive weekend trips to popular destinations in your inbox every Friday through Sunday.
Optimize how you get there
Choosing a nearby destination for your micro trip can help you save on airfare, but it can also make the rest of your itinerary more flexible.
For example, I occasionally go on a small 500 mile trip to see soccer games at my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. Since hotel rooms can cost hundreds of dollars a night on soccer weekends, I choose to drive rather than fly so I can stop in a smaller town halfway between Omaha and University, where I can get a fraction of the cost of a hotel room pay. Then I strategically use Hotel Reward Points to minimize the financial impact of the nights I absolutely have to spend near campus.
Use your rewards for an overnight stay …
According to NerdWallet research, nearly half of Americans overestimate the value of their loyalty points. Whether that describes you or not, one thing is certain: Loyalty Points can easily lose value if you keep them for too long. So if you have them this is a good time to start using them.
Even if you don’t have enough points to redeem for an overnight hotel stay, it can be worthwhile to join the loyalty program at every location you stay at. Some hotel chains offer membership-only discounts, e.g. B. Free WiFi in the room.
… and optimize as you deserve it
If you have one Credit card that earns travel rewards, make sure you understand the bonus spend categories and maximize them accordingly. For example, some cards offer double points at gas stations, hotels or restaurants. With certain cards, it is even possible to earn triple points or more on some travel expense categories.
To further maximize your savings on a road trip, download an app like GasBuddy, which will give you approximate gasoline prices along your route so you can plan when to refuel.
If you like the idea of rest and relaxation, but you find planning a micro trip too stressful, consider ours Tips for a great stay instead.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what is important to you. Here are our tips for that The best travel credit cards 2021including the best for: