It’s amazing what a long weekend can do to our mood. Our offices and homes seem to be in good spirits when there is some free time.
If long weekends can raise our spirits, two-week vacations can do miracles. According to an article in Psychology Today, vacations have the potential to break stress cycles. Clearly, there are plenty of advantages to leaving home and spending time alone, or with families and friends to relax and get away from normal routines.
Where would you go if you had just 2 weeks of vacation?
That was the question posted by Emily Brennan from Chicago. Two weeks is long enough for some people to get away from it all, but if you live Down Under like Michelle Dunner from Melbourne, Australia, things can be tough:
Two weeks is a pretty short time for anything really long-haul, so from Australia I’d definitely look at perhaps doing a bit of island hopping, say Cook Islands and French Polynesia, especially Tahiti. Another place on my bucket list that I could easily find a nice palm tree and some great food to laze away two weeks is Maldives.
Michelle is lucky because in Australia, workers are guaranteed 20 days of paid vacation under federal law, in addition to seven paid days off for holidays. That’s a lot more than what American workers get. Most Americans have to make do with the little vacation time they have.
To help answer Emily’s question, here are the 9 best places to visit if you have just 2 weeks:
1. Great Britain
Recently I spent 11 nights in England, visiting London(5 nights), the Cotswolds (day trip), Yorkshire’s villages and market towns (day trips) and York (7 nights). While I was there I walked the medieval streets of York, learned the difference between Moors and Dales, enjoyed pub food and more. You can’t go wrong with visiting Great Britain for 2 weeks.
First off, Americans don’t need visas to visit Great Britain. Second, there are plenty of daily flights from the U.S. to London. The last time I checked, the lowest fare for travels between October 3 to December 10 was $516 from New York City (JFK) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) with Icelandair. Icelandair is a decent airline and offers a free stopover (maximum 7 days) in Reykjavik Iceland. Trippy member, Justin of WanderingJustin.com, recommends Iceland as a destination.
From Chicago, flights cost around $590 for a non-stop roundtrip ticket in October with either Delta or Virgin Atlantic.
When visiting Great Britain, driving isn’t necessary; trains are convenient and affordable, so you won’t have to drive on the ‘wrong side’ of the road.
Almost 25% of the answers to Emily’s question on “Where Would You Go for 2 Weeks?” mentioned Italy. When asked “where they dream about traveling if money were no object” Americans voted Italy as the top travel destination.
Maria O’Dwyer from Dublin recommended Italy:
At the moment my favourite place is Italy. It’s a wonderful country to while away some time in. The weather is usually good from March until November, the rail system is excellent (and cheap) with stations in many of the small towns, the regional food is wonderful and the art and culture is very much part of life. The places I love most are Bergamo, Verona, Venice, Ostuni, Lecce, Parma, Florence, Siena and Bologna. Regions worth exploring are Puglia, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Lombardy. The lakes (Como, Garda and Ischia) are worth a few days wandering and are served by rail and water bus. Driving in Italy is also doable but there’s nothing like travelling through the countryside by train – stopping in places you think you might like!
It is easy to do a combined tour of Paris and London for two weeks. You’ll fly into Paris from your hometown, then see the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower among other prominent landmarks. After visiting all the famous sites, people watching in cafes and dining in French restaurants in Paris, take the Eurostar from Paris Gare du Nord Station to London St. Pancras Station. Stay a few nights in London and fly home from London.
Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city, is only 9 hours 17 minutes from Miami by plane and is one time zone ahead of Eastern Time. Pablo Zulueta, a Buenos Aires local expert, and Trippy member, recommended starting your vacation in Buenos Aires. Continue your journey to Mendoza, Argentina’s wine country – the place for the best Malbec in the world. Another option is to combine Buenos Aires with a trip to northern Patagonia, covering El Calafate and Perito Moreno Glacier.
5. Costa Rica
Whether you enjoy the beach, nature or just sipping coffee in a hut, there is something for everyone in Costa Rica. Richard Barone, a Trippy member, recommended 7 things to do in Costa Rica. Read it here.
For families with young children looking for a 2-week vacation in Costa Rica, Trippy member, Rocio Acevedo recommended:
I am glad to hear that you and your family are planning a visit to Costa Rica. Guanacaste is one of my favorite beach area in the country. I will try to help you out with some of the questions you are asking. First of all, I would suggest that you find a house for renting near Playas del Coco, Tamarindo, Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa, Conchal Hotel or surroundings. I will suggest that from there you visit by land Monteverde Cloud Forest and Arenal Volcano. Both places are great options for kids and outstanding spots for grownups to visit. If you need that I also suggest excellent lodging options that I know, please let me know. You will need at least 2 days of stay on each place.
There are excellent rental car agencies in Liberia. Thrifty Car Rental, Alamo Car Rental, Budget Car Rental Liberia Guanacaste, among the best. Rental car insurance is not mandatory but recommended even though credit card insurance is enough.
Spend two weeks in Peru. I recommend flying into Lima, Peru’s capital city, and staying for two nights. Find out why Lima is known as one of the top culinary capitals of the world and explore what this diverse city has to offer.
After two nights in Lima, fly to Cusco in the Andes and spend a week visiting Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, before returning to Lima for another two nights. If hiking on the Inca Trail is in your travel bucket list, it is recommended to book your hiking tour at least six months in advance.
7. Hong Kong and China
Hong Kong and China seem so far away from the West, but it is possible to visit both destinations in two weeks. Fly into either Hong Kong or Beijing. I recommend three nights in Beijing, two nights in Xi’an, two nights in Guilin, three nights in Shanghai and two nights in Hong Kong.
8. Caribbean cruise
Want to work on a tan and get away from the snow like Sloan Smith, a Trippy member from Lincoln New Hampshire did?
Take a Caribbean cruise!
I’ve been on a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise and an 11-day Southern Caribbean cruise. Both cruises undoubtedly were some of the most relaxing vacations I ever had with my family. Imagine not having to move from place to place and all your tours, meals and accommodation already planned out for you.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Carnival are some of the major cruise lines with cruises to Caribbean islands like St Maarten, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Curacao, Aruba, St Lucia,Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands (US and British), Jamaica and the Caribbean coastal cities in Central (Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica) and South America (Cartagena Colombia).
9. Road trip to Disney World
The “Happiest Place on Earth” deserves a mention here. If you have kids, you will appreciate a trip to Disney World.
You can travel to Disney World by plane, car or even train. Amtrak’s closest station is in Sanford (Florida), only 30 minutes away from Orlando by car. We have visited Disney using all three modes of transportation for three separate vacations to Disney World when the kids were under 10.
Article by Claudia Looi