cape town

It’s like a buy two get three free, for adventurers…

Some places in the world just seem too far away for a quick trip, and that’s precisely why you should go. While everyone goes for easy option A, it’s the outside the box travel thinking that’s rewarded with fewer selfie sticks, better flight prices and international adventure. Here are a few slightly crazy destinations from around the world which may surprise you, but the compelling trip logic will win you over. Maybe…

a group of red telephone boothsUSA to Europe

Most U.S. to Europe flights leave late in the evening, which allows travelers to put in a full days work and arrive in Europe first thing the next morning. With this optimal schedule you could leave Thursday evening, arrive in Europe Friday morning and enjoy your destination until a late Sunday evening flight home. With the time difference, you’ll still land back on Sunday evening. You’ll get almost three full days with only two nights of hotel to pay for, which is a win in itself. It’s amazing just how much you can see in three days and is plenty of time to discover most cities. Next time you see a flash sale to Europe, you really should jump on the chance – if only for a weekend.

cape townEurope To South Africa

Few feelings rival standing atop Table Mountain, taking in the city of Cape Town. What may seem like true insanity for some, is one of the most surprisingly manageable European getaways. Cape Town is a city of beachside relaxation, cultural wonder and an outstanding gourmet food scene. With direct flights from all over Europe departing late in the evening, you can apply the same long weekend logic you’ll see repeated here. Late overnight flight, no jet lag thanks to minimal time change and with an overnight flight – you save on hotels. Take Friday off, leave late Thursday night, enjoy a full day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and schedule an out of office meeting until 10AM Monday. The tan is the only thing that might out you. That’s right, it’s summer there when it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere…

a city with many colorful signsIndia To Japan

By now, you probably get the gist. Late flight, land in the morning, leave late, land home the same day. Flights between India and Japan are much like those between the US and Europe, but with the benefit of only 3.5 hours of time difference. You’ll feel less jet lagged and can take advantage of perfect flight times leaving major Indian cities late at night, arriving in the AM in Tokyo. Coming back, you can leave late and still arrive the same night, or at least back in time for work. Japan is awesome any time of year and especially during Sakura Season! This is also an incredible route to use frequent flyer miles.

a red flower on a pool with a mountain in the backgroundAustralia To Bali

Like many of these eccentric and exciting getaways, it’s all about getting major long haul travel to wonderful places without cashing in much, if any vacation time. Optimal flight times from most major Australian cities and just 3 hours of time difference mean you can trade one paradise for a slightly more tropical version on the incredible island of Bali. It’s one of the most misunderstood destinations, but also one of the very best. There are plenty of flights which arrive only 3 hours after they’ve departed thanks to the time change, so doing a half day Friday and coming back on a Sunday still means 2.5 full days of sunshine. Here’s a perfect example.

a beach with people walking on the beachUSA to South America

Hopping on a ten hour flight doesn’t seem like something worth doing for a couple days. But with almost no time difference and ideal flight times, it could be the best thing you’ve ever done. You could leave late Friday evening (missing no work) and be in sunny Rio the following morning. With only one hour time difference, you won’t have any jet lag to fight, especially if you manage some sleep on the plane. Returning you could leave late Sunday and be in the office in time for work on Monday, or ideally miss just one day and return to work Tuesday morning. Again, you’d get two days for one night of hotel or three days for two. When people ask the obligatory “how was your weekend”, your answer will be more interesting than theirs. South America is a destination “must”.

a large building with towers and a garden of flowers with Rashtrapati Bhavan in the backgroundEurope To Dubai, Muscat, Abu Dhabi

There’s something very attractive about perfect sunshine, warm weather, palm trees and endless buffets. Middle East cities like Dubai, Muscat and Abu Dhabi are some of the most surprisingly affordable weekend destinations from Europe. Overnight flights save on first night hotels, minimal jet lag from the three hour time difference keeps your eyes open and late afternoon flights home get you back into base with plenty of time to press your office outfit. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Doha and many other great options are famous for cheap hotels, so flight + hotel deals can be a brilliant way to get three days of travel with just two nights of hotels at incredible rates.

Have you visited any long haul destinations in just a long weekend?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Great post, don’t forget the many Caribbean Islands that work for a weekend. I live in Florida and I can be in St Martin in a few hours.

  2. Ask me next Wednesday once I’m back FROM Singapore! Everyone at work thinks I’m mad. I think the flights are ideally times to avoid jetlag and 3 days is ideal for Singapore!

  3. Any East Coast or Southern US person can be to any number of Caribbean islands in 4-6 hours. Depending on which airport many are nonstop. I snagged a quick trip from JFK-FDF in December for 2 days (on sale of course;-)

  4. I often visit Bangkok for the weekend. Flight times with ME3 and TG work well and maximise time in the City. So long as you can sleep on board!

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