Sorry rest of the world, this one is for those of us who have been stuck under three feet of snow. One of the most common things I hear amongst friends is "I don't have time to travel". While I totally get it, I think that with a little creativity and a hint of craziness you can have some great weekend trips and avoid peak holiday weekends without using a vacation day.
For starters, vacation can start on friday without losing a vacation day. If you are creative there are no shortage of destinations that offer 7pm and later flights allowing you to stay at the office until the bell and still make it to the gate before it closes. If you follow the same thought, coming home, Sunday night flights could buy you an entire extra day in paradise and early Monday morning flights can mean a long weekend without being late on Monday.
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
Its tropical drinks, sandy beaches and the Caribbean without the passports. We recently did a weekend trip and found the ease of being somewhere tropical without having to worry about customs to be a blissful experience. Flights? No problem. There are cheap direct evening options from all the major carriers including JetBlue. Oh and did I mention its 90 degrees and sunny there currently? Sigh.
If you don't enjoy Barbecue you have gone astray somewhere in life. Regardless, Austin is home to some of the best live music and cuisine in America with a thriving night life scene on 6th street. Hotels are affordable, and due to increasing tech business in the city, there are lots of direct late evening flight options going both ways on all major carriers.
San Francisco/Los Angeles, California
Wine or Sun...who cares. I know this sounds insane... but I promise it's not. San Francisco is actually one of the best options despite the distance due to the business based flight schedules. Leaving New York there are plenty of late evening flights and leaving San Francisco there are flights that leave late and fly overnight maximizing your California time. DId you know 50,000 miles per person could get you round trip in flat beds with three course dining and airport lounges?
Aside from an insane music pedigree, Nashville is a hotbed for all things hip and creative. Nashville has created the perfect storm allowing brilliant chefs without the budget to open a NYC restaurant to get going and showcase their talents in a buzzing young city. One of my personal favorite venues in America is the Ryman Auditorium. I think a concert there and a special dinner the next night would make for an unforgettable weekend.
If you are more ski than sun why not use only 9,000 miles per person to fly round trip for some legendary skiing, European culture and great night scene? There are many daily flights from LaGuardia and JFK direct to Montreal and for 9,000 miles round trip per person for a free ticket, what's to lose?
Personally I think the ultimate beauty of getting creative and taking one of these trips is that you avoid peak times and the peak prices paid by traditional holiday goers. By avoiding peak weekends you can book free flights using the least miles possible with the most flexibility on your preferences. Use the money you saved from your free flights to really explore the city or upgrade your hotel and make your time out of the office totally worth it.
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