How to Turn Holiday Travel into a Mini-Vacation

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Holiday travel

Taking a side trip to a national park while enroute to your final holiday travel destination is a great way to create a fun and exciting vacation. Image credit: Adam Kliczek

We often hear that the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. But what are all those travelers doing once they reach their destinations? Many will visit family and friends and then turn right around in two or three days to head home once again. Why not take advantage of the time and money you’re already spending and turn your holiday travel into a mini-vacation? Here are some tips on how you can do just that!

Holiday Travel Tips
  • Get some extra mileage out of the money you’re already spending to get to your holiday travel destination by extending your time off by an extra day or two.
  • If you’re staying with relatives, take a day trip from their town that allows you to save on a motel room.
  • Avoid feeling guilty about not spending all your time with relatives by inviting them to join you on your outings.
  • If you’re driving to your holiday travel destination, plan a stop or two along the way. Visiting a museum or historic site en route is not only fun, but can break up the monotony of an otherwise tedious drive.
  • Check out any National Parks that might fall within a couple of hours of your holiday travel driving route. Fall is a great time to visit many of our National Parks and Monuments.
  • Take the scenic route rather than interstates and let the journey itself become part of the destination.
  • Are you a major league sports fan? Research what teams might be playing in the vicinity at the time of your stay. Taking in a game with relatives is a great way to enjoy your time together.
  • Does the region you’re visiting have terrain different from yours at home? If so, a nice hike or snowshoe trek may be an invigorating and fun way to enhance your holiday travel adventure.
  • If your budget allows, stay in a motel rather than with relatives. This gives you more freedom and “feels” more like a vacation.
  • If you have little ones, the grandparents might be honored to keep them for a day while you and your spouse go out exploring.
  • Depending on where you’re headed, many regions are still having good golf weather at Thanksgiving. So don’t forget your clubs!
  • Many city tours only take two or three hours, and give you an enjoyable vacation feel that doesn’t require a lot of time away.
  • Is the area you’re visiting known for any specialty food or cuisine? If so, suggest that you all go out to dinner one evening to give the Thanksgiving cooks a break.
  • Do you have a hobby like visiting lighthouses or covered bridges? If so, check out where there might be some close to your destination or holiday travel route.
  • And lastly, be sure to check out Atlas Obscura. It’s a website that allows you to key in your location and find all kinds of crazy and interesting things to explore around you.
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28 thoughts on “How to Turn Holiday Travel into a Mini-Vacation

  1. Vickie

    What a great idea. Often spending time with family can turn a little overwhelming. Having a distraction to share together would be a great way to spend time together.

  2. Carli

    Love these! We like to do Segway tours when we visit new cities, but never thought about taking one when we visit family.

  3. Jolynn

    Great ideas! We did this when we went to visit out daughter in Jacksonville, FLA last summer. We spent 2 days in Charleston, SC on the way down- a nice halfway point from Richmond to Jacksonville. Then we made several day trips once we got to Jacksonville. Thanks for these other tips that I hadn’t thought of.

  4. Debbie

    I love these ideas. I’ll have to try them with my nieces and nephews this Thanksgiving and on other holiday get togethers.

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