A version of this article was previously published on our Atlantic Luggage blog.
A new vacation trend we’ve been hearing about is the micro-cation, and it’s ideal for people who want to travel, but not take the one- or two-week excursions we used to. A micro-cation is more or less a weekend-long trip, but it doesn’t have to be over the weekend. A micro-cation is typically a Friday evening, Saturday, half the day Sunday. Or you could do that schedule on a Tuesday-through-Thursday trip.
The point is, you’re taking a short trip instead of a long trip and you can get a break from your house and your city, even if it’s for 48 hours.
According to a 2019 study by Allianz Travel Insurance, (n)early three-fourths (72 percent) of Millennials took at least one micro-cation in the (previous) year, while 69 percent of Gen X’ers and 60 percent of Baby Boomers did the same.
That’s not a bad option these days. After all, it’s hard to get away for a couple of weeks when we’re trying to shelter in place and limit our exposure to others. But with a micro-cation, you could hole up in a new city, limit your excursions to socially-distant-and-masked-up events and sites, and still avoid exposure. Even just a change of scenery could do you some good and help you avoid cabin fever.
Here are five things you could do on a micro-cation.
- You can go in the off-season. Peak travel season is probably not the time to take a trip this year. Even though places like Disney World are open to tourists, they’re limiting attendance, especially during the normal peak seasons. And that’s still too many people to be comfortable and safe. But you could head to a northern city in March during the off-season and visit a couple of museums that are mostly empty. Or come south to Florida in January, or in May after Spring Break and before school lets out. Plus, it’s easier to get into restaurants in the off-peak season.
- Things may cost less during the week. Hotel rates and plane tickets are often lower during the regular workweek. There could even be special mid-week travel packages and hotel rates. But stay away from the business hotels, because that’s when they’re busiest. (They’ve got the weekend specials though, so if your micro-cation is over the weekend, look for the hotels near airports and convention centers.)
- You can take more micro-cations. Nearly a third of Millennials in the Allianz study took three or more micro-cations in a year. If you normally get two weeks of vacation — that’s 10 actual weekdays — it’s a challenge to visit more than one or two places in that time. But if you were to combine Friday with a weekend (and leave on a Thursday evening), you could take one micro-cation nearly every month to any city you wanted to use up your vacation days. That certainly fits in with our frequent traveler philosophy.
- It’s financially easier to take shorter trips. If you’ve ever saved for a whole year just for that one big vacation, you see why our families didn’t take that many when we were growing up. But with micro-cations, you could do a lot more for a lot less, which makes saving for them a lot easier. For one thing, you can use a credit card that gives you hotel points and rack up free nights that way. You can also stay at inexpensive Airbnbs in a residential neighborhood rather than springing for a luxury hotel. You can also prepare meals in the Airbnb’s kitchen instead of going to restaurants for every meal.
- If you don’t like the trip, you haven’t wasted your whole year’s vacation. Anyone who’s ever been on a terrible vacation knows it can’t end soon enough. It’s upsetting too!. You get one vacation a year, and you wasted it all on. . . this? You certainly don’t want those thoughts on day 2 of a 14-day trip, but day 2 of a 3-day vacation isn’t so bad. You can tough it out for another day before you leave again. But if you love your micro-cation, it’s easy enough to repeat if you want to do it again. And the beauty of micro-cations is that it doesn’t have to be that long before you take another one.
Micro-cations are a fun new trend that suits our pandemic reality, and they’ve become favorites for Millennial and Gen X vacationers: 25% of Millennials don’t want to spend more money on a longer vacation, and 40% of Gen Xers say it’s easier to take time off work for a short trip.
Have you taken a micro-cation? Would you rather take a lot of short trips or one long trip? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: David Mark (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)