Big Trips vs. Little Trips

Last year, I was the queen of little trips. In my time living in England, I made the most of accessible and affordable travel to a crazy diverse amount of destinations, and managed to do a little trip about once a month. In a full calendar year, I spent:

– Canadian Thanksgiving in Manchester

– a number of weekends in Hastings

– three days in Cologne, Germany, for the Christmas Markets

– four days in Naples, Florida after New Year’s (okay, I was coming from Toronto for this one)

– four days in Iceland

– a weekend in Cambridge

– four days total in Quebec City, Montreal, and Ottawa (yes, also coming from Toronto)

– ten days in Prague, Vienna, Munich, Strasbourg, Paris, and London

– a weekend in Brussels

– five days in Champagne and Paris

– four days in Dubrovnik, Croatia

– six days in Vancouver / the Okanagan for a wedding (via Toronto)

– a day trip to Bath

– four days in Helsinki and Tallinn

– four days in Bermuda (with family, via Toronto)

Ridiculous, eh? And now, after a two-and-a-half month hiatus, I’m off to New York City this weekend for three days. It’s all got me thinking, though, that once I start a job, making these little trips is going to be increasingly more difficult, especially because affordability in North America is not good*.

I’m glad I made the most of my ability to take little trips, because it looks like the future holds something different. I think I’m going to make the switch from multiple mini-breaks to one or two small trips and one big trip per year. It makes sense, non?

This year, we’re hoping to get down to Papua New Guinea, where my boyfriend’s parentals have just taken up residence for a couple years. We’ll go via HK and hopefully Australia, and take about 2 weeks. Next year? Well, we both want to go to London to see the 2012 Games and all our friends and family. It’s likely that we’ll extend our trip and do something uber-cool while over there…go to Tanzania to climb Kili? That would be amazing.

It’s actually pretty exciting to finally begin planning for these big trips I’ve always wanted to go on, and it’s fun to see a shift in how I travel. I’ve done a few big trips in the past, but lately it’s all been city breaks, and while I love, love, love them, I think it’s time for a change.

Now all I need is a job…




*We’re driving from Toronto to Buffalo (2 hrs) to catch a flight to NYC from BUF because it’s half price versus a flight from Toronto. And we’re not alone; approximately 21% of Canadians do this. I also flew from Bellingham, WA in 2008 to Vegas because it was infinitely cheaper than going from Vancouver. Damn Canadian taxes.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Lizzie says:

    Big trips are probably more sustainable too. Less flights throughout the year. Now you just have to make sure the job you get gives you lots of vacation days.

    1. So true, and it’s so much easier to offset one set of flights rather than the 23 or so I made last year (oops). And yes, mucho dias de vacacion are v. necessary…fortunately companies in the tourism industry understand that :)

  2. says:

    Cool. Really cool. Thanks for an idea, I think I’ll write something about Big trips vs. Biz trips… Last year I was in Beijing, Johannesburg, Moscow, Birmingham, Sao Paulo, Essen, Düsseldorf and Helsinki, but it’s all fully scheduled biz trips, where you get to see almost absolutely nothing… Few days here, couple of hours there, always in a rush and sometimes not enough time to even whip out your camera and snap a photo of something interesting. But you DO get to see places, the number of pins on the map IS growing, and most of all: the company pays for it! ;-)

    1. I agree – although you may not get a ton of quality time in each place, you still get to see them! And then you know where you want to go back to spend even more time! I once spent less than 24 hours in Brussels, but knew it was a place I wanted to see more of, and finally made it back this year…albeit only for 48 hours, but hey, I had a way better experience, and still plan on going back again at some point!

  3. Little trips are best especially with low cost airlines driving flight costs down. I went to Norway this year which is a place I would probably never have visited if it wasn’t for Ryanair.

    1. If you’re in Europe, absolutely! Low cost airlines are fantastic at helping you get to all sorts of destinations. Same with carbon-neutral Eurostar and its services to Paris, Brussels, and beyond (and it can be pretty cost-effective if you book well enough in advance too).

      A good deal from Icelandair is what got me over to the #1 country on my list of places to visit. We got three nights hotel plus flight from LHR for about £270 (I think)… EasyJet also made it easy for my friend and I to go to Cologne for the Christmas Markets and to Helsinki to visit our friend.

      I really miss low-cost airlines now that I’m living in Toronto (the most expensive airport in the world to fly in and out of!). I think that’s probably why I’m thinking more “big trips” now – I can’t keep paying for airfare! Flights for a weekend in NYC was going to cost over $300 if we flew from Toronto, but we went from Buffalo, NY (about a 2 hr drive from T.O.) and it cost us only $140. If I can keep going out of Buffalo, maybe I’ll consider more little trips in the US.

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