How a ‘Micro Trip’ Can Unlock Summer Travel Possibilities

Meghan CoyleJun 25, 2019

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Time and money to spend on a summer vacation are in limited supply, but according to a recent national survey from Discover, that’s not stopping people from traveling.

The survey found that 71% of consumers plan to take a vacation from May to September this year. That’s up from 58% in 2018.

Most of these survey respondents (55%) said they were planning on taking a "micro trip" — one that would only last one to three days. Meanwhile, about one-third of respondents were planning a four- to seven-day vacation, and only 11% were planning on spending more than a week on vacation.

Here’s are 4 reasons to consider a micro trip for your summer travel plans:

There's less planning

Micro trips are so short you won’t have to spend a lot of time creating a Google Docs itinerary, booking tours or figuring out how many cities you can squeeze into your trip. Keep it simple. The Escape website can help you find the cheapest flights from the nearest airport for any dates you choose. You can use some of Google’s new booking insights to book a flight or hotel at the best price.

According to Discover’s survey, 46% of respondents said they planned their trip less than three months in advance. So it’s not too late to start planning an easy micro trip.

It's easier to coordinate with family and friends

Spending time with family and friends is one of the main things people want out of their vacations. Some 28% of respondents in all age categories cited this quality time as the most important reason for travel. That’s more than the percentage of people who want adventure (10%), to explore a new destination (20%), to practice a passion like photography or yoga (3%) or to volunteer (2%).

Planning a micro trip makes it easy to accomplish spending time with people you care about because it’s more likely that friends and family will be able to align their schedules and budget to accommodate a short vacation instead of a longer one.

You're more likely to be able to pay with points

The Discover survey found that more consumers plan to redeem credit card points for their summer vacations this year as opposed to last year. Eighteen percent of respondents will use points entirely to pay for their trips, up from 13% in 2018.

NerdWallet has found that 45% of people overestimate how much their travel rewards points are worth. You might think you’re racking up free flights every time you swipe your travel rewards credit card, but the truth is, it may take more points than you think to redeem them for a free flight. That’s another reason why micro trips are great: You don’t need to save up a ton of points to book a one- or two-night hotel stay.

Sitting on a huge stack of points can also be risky because loyalty programs and redemption rates can change on a whim. The popular strategy is to save enough points for your next trip and then book it right away. Also consider applying the 80/20 rule to your travel rewards.

You can save money

A shorter vacation also means fewer expenses on everything from transit to lodging and all the meals in between. Perhaps you can save money on your beach vacation by going to a destination that isn’t as expensive as the most popular beach towns. Maybe you can save on a road trip instead of booking a vacation that requires a plane ride.

Discover respondents said they like to splurge on food and activities, so with a micro trip, you'll be forced to prioritize what you really want to spend on in such a short amount of time. The end result is a short and sweet affordable summer vacation.

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