I was lucky enough to escape for a few days to Orlando a few weeks ago. It was a much needed distraction for my daughter and I at this difficult time. We had an amazing time, bonding, relaxing and laughing and I can’t wait to share with you what we did. In the meantime, I thought I would share my thoughts on what makes a mini getaway (or any vacation for that matter) memorable and stress free.
(Photo taken at Cocoa Beach)
1. Book flights early.
Apparently, the best time to book a flight within North America is 57 days in advance of your trip, according to an Expedia report. If you leave flight booking until just a week or so before you travel, then you may end up with a connecting flight to get to your destination. As in our case, I booked through Expedia last minute and therefore had connecting flights each way. The first leg of our return flight was delayed which meant we would miss our connecting flight as there was only 1 hour in between flights. As a result, we had to stay an additional night in a hotel (at the airline’s expense) and fly out the next morning. Not the worse thing that can happen but it could sidetrack you if you had to be back home for something urgent. Whenever possible, choose a non stop flight so you don’t run into the same situation as we did.
2. Avoid booking an early morning flight.
You may think that you will have more time at your destination if you leave early in the morning. However, if your out of country flight is at 7:00 am, that probably means you need to wake up at 3:30 am to allow for travel time to the airport and at least a two hour arrival before departure. So, what ends up happening is that you are exhausted that first day and can’t really enjoy it. You are better off to book an 11:00 am flight and then you will feel restful the entire day. I can attest to this as well!
3. A carry on is a must.
Who wants to waste time at the baggage carousel when you only have 2-3 days at your destination? Remember to check with your airline before flying for the allowable dimensions of carry ons and be aware that they have become smaller over the years. On a few flights I have been on, the person’s carry on was just too big for the overhead bin so they had to have it brought to the cargo area.
4. Try not to pack too much in one day.
It’s only natural that if you have two or three days in a destination, that you will want to pack in as much as possible. It’s much less stressful to choose one major event/destination per day. While in Orlando, we really only had one full day without travel so we packed in a drive to the beach (one hour each way) as well as a visit to Disney World at night. Although we are glad we did both, (how can you visit Orlando and not stop in at Disney?) in hindsight choosing one of those activities would have been more relaxing.
5. Do your homework beforehand.
Don’t use precious time planning out what to do or where to eat while at your destination. I was casually speaking with a friend before we left and she mentioned a great restaurant she ate at a few times while staying at the same hotel as us in Orlando. We were able to book our reservation online through Open Table prior to leaving. Good thing too, as the restaurant was booked solid for the time we were there. And my friend was right, the food was absolutely delicious.
All photos taken by me with my Iphone
I should have heeded my own advice but hindsight is 20/20 as they say and with everything going on around here (will share that soon), it was a very last minute trip. Hopefully these tips will help you get the most out of your next mini getaway. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of my posts in the next few days.
Thanks to my friends at Expedia.ca for sending me to Orlando. Interested in going? Check out some four and five star hotels here. I’m sort of partial to the Ritz Carlton and can’t wait to share more with you soon.
Happy Travel Planning! I hope you go somewhere fun this July 1st or July 4th long weekend!