Planning a vacation always requires some consideration. One of the big questions is always how long the trip should be. If you have a specific week off from work, the vacation length is already set for you. In that case, it is easy to book a trip for that particular week – no need to overthink anything. But what if you have an open schedule and need to make the best possible plan?
On one hand, you need to have enough time at your destination to fully enjoy and explore it. On the other hand, you don’t want to be there so long that it gets boring or overly expensive.
So the goal is to find some middle ground. Based on experience and research, here are some thoughts on how long the ideal trip should be.
Best vacation length: 10 days
For most people, the ideal vacation length appears to be 10 days in total.
It generally takes 2-3 days to get accustomed to a place and to shake off the stress. We also must remember that the first and last day of any trip is usually spent inside a plane, a train, a car, or a bus. So a 10-day trip really gives you 8 full days at your destination.
That is enough fully explore the area and to feel like you are doing something new. At the same time, it isn’t so long that you get tired of it.
If you are traveling to a city, a 10-day trip will allow you to see the main attractions, try out plenty of restaurants, and over the span of 10 days, you will be guaranteed at least one weekend where you can attend the nightlife. It also gives you enough time for a day trip to a nearby location. Or simply to take a day off to rest, if you feel the need to do so.
If you are on a beach vacation, this length will allow you to get some relaxation. You will be likely to have more sunny days over the span of 10 days rather than just 7, and it will also give time to try out some different activities in the area.
So how long should your trip be? 10 days is usually the sweet spot.
Affordable vacation: Weekend trip
If you don’t necessarily need a long vacation, but simply want to try something new, a weekend trip is also a great option. It will never be long enough to get accustomed to a new place… But it will give you new experiences, and weekend trips can easily fit into most people’s schedules.
Weekend trips are affordable and straightforward. If you do them frequently enough, you will be able to visit a lot of new destinations over a period of time.
For those living in the United States, you can take weekend trips to interesting places in nearby states. Perhaps even Canada or Mexico if you live near a border.
For those living in Europe, you can absolutely visit destinations in other countries since many EU nations are located so close to each other.
A rule of thumb is that a flight should never last longer than 3 hours on a weekend trip. Anything longer than that and it will be too impractical. But even on a 2 or 3-hour flight, you can cover a lot of ground, so it opens up great opportunities.
The best way to plan a weekend trip is to leave on Friday afternoon and get back Sunday night. If possible, you can take Friday or Monday off from work and get an additional travel day. But most people stick to the Friday-Sunday plan which gives you one full day (Saturday) at the destination, and a good chunk of time on Sunday before going home.
How to keep a long vacation exciting
Some people prefer longer vacations to really get away from home. With long vacations, we generally mean trips that span two weeks or longer.
Studies show that most people start feeling some vacation fatigue after passing 11 days at a new place. So what can you do to keep a long vacation exciting?
One way is to visit multiple destinations. This can be done by doing day trips to other places that are near your principal destination. It can also be done by planning a specific itinerary, such as a road trip, where you travel from place to place over the course of several weeks.
If you have to stay at the same destination for an extended period, some good tips are to be social with the locals, attend various activities, go to non-touristic areas, and delve into the local culture – which could include anything from learning the language to trying out the local cuisine and customs.
A great benefit of a long trip is that it allows you to meet more people and set up appointments more easily. So if you are the social type who loves to meet new friends or perhaps even go dating people, a long vacation could be the right choice for you. Just keep in mind that it gets more expensive and that you might feel some fatigue after a while.
Plan a trip based on your personal schedule
Ultimately, you need to plan a trip based on your own schedule. Try to find out how much time you have available. If you have an entire summer free, maybe it’s a good idea to do a major road trip and go from place to place every few days. Or you could plan a cozy trip with the ideal length of 10 days.
If you have a single week off from work, then make the most of it and travel for all those days.
If you don’t have any holidays, then you might look into weekend trips to make the most of the free days of the week that you get.
For those of you lucky enough to work remotely, there are really no limits, and you might even be able to permanently travel which has its own benefits (and downsides)!
Your personality is also important when we discuss this topic. Some people get homesick very easily, while others just love being on a never-ending adventure. Most people fall somewhere in between. And that’s why you should try doing every type of trip – the weekend trip, the typical one-week holiday, the ten-day city trip, the month-long road trip, and every other type of vacation out there.
Only after having tried a bunch of different trips will you be able to tell what suits you the best. And once you find out what suits you, you’ll know exactly how to plan your perfect trip in the future!