Joe and I are, I realize, very lucky in that we get to travel as much as we do. Part of that is because Joe’s a whiz with points and miles, which stretches our dollars further. But part of it is also because we plan our trips wisely, utilizing weekends whenever possible. As it is, we generally only do one “long” (read: 1 full week, occasionally longer) vacation per year and the rest really fit more into the “long weekend” category (usually Wednesday or Thursday through Sunday or Monday or so).
Some people get to travel all the time, albeit for work. But I’m sure most of them go to
their destination, do their work stuff, and then go back home. Did you ever think about the opportunities they may be missing because they don’t take the time to check out the city they’re in for those few days?
Or what if you have to go to a wedding? People never think twice about staying a few extra days if the wedding is back in the hometown they left, so they can catch up with family and friends they haven’t seen in a while. But maybe the bride and groom are getting married in a town you’ve never gone to. Why not make a few days out of it and see what the city has to offer?
Going to a convention? There’s no reason to not check out what’s in that city besides an airport, hotel, convention space and restaurants.
I mean, think about it. With the internet at our fingertips, what’s stopping someone from taking 1 vacation day, or using part or all of their weekend, adding it on to the beginning or end of their travels and checking out the city? Say you have to be at a business meeting in Austin on Monday…why not get there on Saturday and make a weekend out of it? When you Google “Austin Tourists,” you get over 18 million hits and the first 2 are from Austin’s official visitor page and Trip Advisor. You have access to an event calendar, what’s going on in the music scene and entertainment districts, find out where to find good BBQ, or what time the bats are supposed to fly out from under the South Congress Bridge, etc. You can even drive to San Antonio and see the Alamo!
Let’s try another one…a convention in New York City! A Google search for “NY tourist” gives you a choice of places to go, things to do, places to stay, events and travel tools, and that’s just from the iloveny website that’s the first hit. NYC had thousands of restaurants, Broadway, the Staten Island Ferry (it’s free!), Central Park, all kinds of museums, and enough stuff to keep you occupied for weeks, never mind a day or two.
Tend to get sent to smaller cities? Dubuque, IA has a riverwalk, aquarium, botanical gardens, caves, casinos and wineries. El Paso, TX offers golf, shopping, nature trails, music festivals, film festivals and the White Sands National Monument. Tampa, FL has a zoo, Ybor City (where cigars were made a century ago), Busch Gardens, and is just a few miles from the beaches lining the Gulf of Mexico.
Get sent overseas? I don’t even have to Google to tell you the things you can visit in London…Big Ben, the London Eye, the British Museum, the Harry Potter tour at Warner Brothers Studios, heck, even cheesy stuff like The London Dungeon are all in the city or just outside it.
Joe, his dad and I went to a wedding in Fort Worth a couple of years ago – one of Joe’s cousins was getting married and the couple were settled in the Fort Worth area with all of their friends nearby, so that’s where their wedding was. We arrived the day before and made a half-day out of it, complete with a visit to a museum and taking time to get some Texas BBQ. It was our first visit to Downtown Fort Worth – and it might be our last – but at least we can say we’ve seen things while we were there.
Even before that, I had a staff meeting in Fort Lauderdale for a company I was working for at the time. I was still relatively new to Florida and had never been to Fort Lauderdale. My company was making the plane reservations so I worked with the scheduler to allow me to arrive a day earlier. I had the whole day to myself and could have gone to their antique car museum, art museum, or even historical houses, but I lounged around at the beach, simply because I could.
So yeah…before you sigh because you’re getting sent out of town for work again, why not try to make a little 1 or 2-day mini vacation out of it? Vacations don’t have to be big or long or expensive – and what better way to see parts of the country that you might not visit otherwise?
A tip of the hat and a THANK-YOU to Mary Lee C. for the suggestion of this post!
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