Posted by Carter | Under Vacation plans
Tuesday Feb 11, 2014
Short Trips for Long Weekends
Bank holidays may seem lackluster when compared to the great headliners like Christmas and Independence Day, but they are a boon to working professionals and busy students. There’s nothing better than an extra day off without time-consuming holiday obligations attached to it. With that extra 24 hours of leisure, you are free to consider a myriad of options, ranging from road races to retail. Among the many possibilities, I would like to suggest a weekend getaway this Presidents Day. There are many accessible cities that are ripe for mini-vacations. After even a quick vacation, you can return to work, school and life with great stories, revived enthusiasm and unique perspectives. By using your long weekends for short trips, you can infuse your whole year with accomplishments and satisfaction.
There are a few simple guidelines for choosing a perfect long-weekend destination. The idea is to hop off a plane after a relatively quick flight, and land in a whole new world of unique scenery, tempting cuisine and fun activities. It can be a delicate balance, but what you want is a place completely unlike where you are right now, and you want to get there without losing an excessive amount of time to air travel. It’s important to keep your expectations realistic: in a short stay, you won’t be able to do every possible activity, but you can do a lot. If you are looking for a good starting point, here are a few great places to spend a long weekend, or longer!
As far as exotic destinations go, it doesn’t get much more otherworldly than Iceland. Reykjavik is a small, hip city with a robust nightlife, geothermal hot springs and unparalleled scenery. This arctic capital is set among a breathtaking island landscape shaped by both volcanic and glacial activity. Given just a couple of days in Reykjavik, I would want to soak in the mineral-rich waters of the natural spas, gaze into the enigmatic northern sky, and take a nod to the maritime traditions and incredible wildlife of this proud seafaring nation with a whale watching tour. It’s also possible to rent some famed Icelandic ponies and ride into the jagged mountains at the outskirts of Reykjavik, or dance until well into the winter’s night at the plentiful bars and dance clubs in the downtown area. Kemwel provides convenient car rentals right in the Keflavik Airport, so you can get right on the Iceland roads. Both hot and cool, Iceland truly is the land of fire and ice.
Flight Time: Approximately six hours from New York*
Fun-loving Amsterdam has long been known as an intense city for revelry; however, it is more than merely a decadent playground. Among the rivers edge and fresh sea air, there is a wealth of history and beauty to experience in the lovely capital of the Netherlands. Hire a small boat and discover why they call this historic city the ‘Venice of the North’. Amsterdam hosts dozens of world-class museums, performance spaces and parks, so choosing the ones you hope to visit can be quite a task. In town, some of the must-see’s for beginners include the fantastic collection at the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House. Those who are curious may want to take a stroll through the red light district, though keep in mind that doing so is much safer by day. With a rental car, you can take a quick journey to the historic De Gooyer windmills, which thirsty travelers will be delighted to learn is also a brewery.
Flight Time: Approximately eight hours from New York*
Get an early start on the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day festivities with a long-weekend trip to Dublin. Start with an informative and tasty tour of the Old Jameson Distillery, and then make a nod to the deep literary tradition of this proud city which birthed such celebrated writers as Bram Stoker and James Joyce with a literary tour or pub crawl. To get a real sense of the Irish way of life, you can explore the outlying areas with a rental car. Walk the jagged cliffs of Howth and then continue just a little further north to see the roots of Celtic culture at the megalithic tombs of Meath, a UNESCO World Heritage site. For a quintessential Emerald Isle experience, be sure to catch the traditional Irish music and enjoy a fresh Guinness in a Dublin pub. Look to our helpful Ireland driving guide for tips on cruising the roads around Dublin!
Flight Time: Approximately seven hours from New York or Boston*
As a relatively small island with only one city, Barbados is perfect for a weekend getaway. You can relax and warm yourself in the sun, ride some of the most powerful Atlantic waves, snorkel with sea turtles, or take on a round of golf in the island’s internationally renowned courses. Whether you prefer the nightlife of Bridgetown or the wildlife of the tropical coral reefs, Barbados is a gorgeous and welcoming island, perfect for either a long or short stay. Keep in mind, however, that once you sink your toes into the white sand beaches and sample the famed island rum, you might start having second thoughts about ever leaving this lush locale.
Flight Time: Approximately five hours from New York or four hours from Miami*
With only one word to describe Miami, I would choose “caliente.” From the sun-drenched beaches to the thumping club scene, this city is hot! Take in the pulse of Cuban drums in little Havana, explore the gorgeous greenery of lush Floridian parks and zoos, and catch an eyeful of the gorgeous and fashionable locals. If you’re able to tear yourself away from the surf and sand, check out the 10th century Ancient Spanish Monastery in its tropical new home, or catch a glimpse of the sweet life with a visit to the luxurious Star Island. Never leave Miami without dining heartily on the flavorful local fare, and keep in mind that you can always return to this city of sun.
Flight Time: Approximately three hours from Chicago or New York, six hours from Seattle*
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is the place to go for miles of luxurious beachside resorts beset by authentic Mexican culture and gorgeous natural scenery. Located at the southernmost point of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, this city is blessed by some of the best sport fishing, surfing and sailing in the world. You can explore vibrant reefs with snorkel gear or from the comfort of a glass-bottomed boat or hit mountainous trails in a well-equipped dune-buggy. Cabo is a great city for young adventurers looking to swim in a sea of margaritas, but with a historic old town and the striking beachside rock formations, it’s also a worthwhile family destination.
Flight Time: Less than three hours from Los Angeles, less than five hours from Chicago*
When you only have a couple of short days to enjoy your chosen vacation spot, you don’t want to spend it waiting for busses or trains. Renting a car for your long weekend is a great way to save time when you travel. Kemwel provides a large selection of convenient rental car pick-up offices, a lot of which are right inside the airport. Book your rental car right on the Kemwel website, or call our reservation specialists at 1-877-820-0668.
*listed flight times are approximated for direct flights.