words Alexa Wang
Not every vacation or trip away from home has to be a big one. A trip doesn’t have to be a week-long or to a far-away destination for it to bring value and benefits to your life.
For example, according to the website Branson Shows, Branson, Missouri is a destination within a half day’s drive for people in a large chunk of the country.
If you don’t prefer Branson, there are beaches, mountains, urban getaways, and something for everyone you can explore.
The destination is up to you and your preferences, but regardless of where you choose, weekend getaways can have some real benefits in your life.
A quick trip or getaway is usually defined as anything lasting two to four days.
Below we explore the reasons you should make sure you get away for brief periods of time.
It’s Easier to Coordinate a Short Trip With Your Schedule
One of the big reasons people don’t travel as much as they’d like to is because they don’t feel like they can work it out with their schedule. You may have home or work commitments that keep you from vacationing, but weekend getaways give you a lot more flexibility.
You can choose to travel on long weekends when you’re off work, or your kids are already out of school. Then, since you don’t have to ask for time off, no one even knows you’re gone.
Some people find that for their busy schedules, several weekend getaways work better than one longer trip.
You don’t have to use any of your paid time off if you have it, and you can save it for something else.
Depending on how flexible your schedule is, your boss may let you front-load your work week and take off just a day earlier or a half-day.
Short Trips Are Cheaper
Traveling can be expensive. The costs are another factor people often cite when they explain why they don’t go away more often. The shorter your trip, the less you’re going to spend for the most part, so it creates a budget-friendly opportunity to explore.
You may be able to drive rather than fly, and you’ll spend less on your accommodations since you’re staying a shorter time. You’ll also spend less on transportation once you get there, on activities and food.
You can feel like you get a mini-break without breaking the bank.
If you’re someone who tends to overpack or get stressed out about the prospect of getting everything together, a weekend trip makes it more manageable for you.
If you’re flying, packing just a carry-on can save you time and also money. This can be a pretty big money saver as airlines continue to raise their baggage fees.
A Quick Mental Switch-Off
It can be easier for some people to fully disconnect from things back home when they take a short trip.
There’s a reason for this. If you’re traveling for a more extended period of time, you might feel obligated to check in with work or whatever else. When you go for a short weekend jaunt, you know things will be fine. Your office might not even be open, so there may not be anything even to check on.
You can turn off notifications without having to think something’s going to happen you need to know about.
You’ll be able to relax better when you aren’t worried about what you’re missing.
Bond with People You Care About
When you stay at home, even on the weekends when you aren’t working, you can feel like you still have so many responsibilities. There’s shopping, errands, chores, and what feels like a million things pulling you in so many directions.
The result is that even when it should be your downtime, that’s not what you’re actually experiencing.
Instead of having quality time with your family, you’re thinking about everything else you have to do.
When you leave town every once and a while, it takes you out of that environment of feeling like you have to do other things and lets you focus on the people most important to you.
Improve Your Well-Being
A Gallup study found when people make time for trips in their lives, they have significantly higher scores on well-being studies. Three days after a vacation, subjects in the research had better quality of sleep, fewer physical complaints, and their mood was improved over what it was before their trip.
These gains were still around five weeks after the trip, especially for those people who reported having more overall satisfaction and personal time during their trip.
Just planning a trip can make you feel happier, and in some research, people have an elevated mood up to eight weeks before their actual trip. If you add the enjoyment during and after the trip, that’s a lot of happiness from a weekend away.
Many of us experience emotional burnout on a regular basis. When you’re burned out, it negatively impacts your quality of work and productivity. Burnout can also make you feel less creative and motivated.
When you take trips on the weekends, at least every once and a while, you’re addressing your own spiritual, mental and physical needs and taking a step back that can reduce or eliminate burnout.
Get a Dopamine Rush
If you can go somewhere new, even if it isn’t far from home, it gives you a real rush of dopamine. Dopamine is our feel-good hormone. When we have new experiences, dopamine helps us feel a thrill and sense of excitement.
When you do new things, it helps your brain build new connections. New experiences keep your brain active and engaged, which can help combat some of the effects of aging, like cognitive decline and memory problems.
It doesn’t necessarily matter what you do or where you go. What does matter is that it’s something you enjoy that brings you pleasure and lets you get outside of your daily routine for a short time.