There’s no time like the present to pack your bags and get away for a few days. But what about really getting away, as in, leaving the country?
What is the best countries to visit for short vacation?
International travel doesn’t always require weeks. There are plenty of countries you can visit for a short vacation. You can still pack plenty of adventure and sightseeing into just a few days. Try one of these destinations:
- Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Turks and Caicos
If you’re ready to get out of the country for a few days to a week, stick around. And if you need a new weekend bag, try Amazon’s highly rated Suitcase Luggage. It has spinner wheels to ensure smooth-rolling, and the protective hard shell is extra thick and scratch-resistant.
I have the 10 best countries to visit for a short vacation coming right up. All you need is your passport and suitcase.
Catch a Tropical Vibe in the Cayman Islands
The best part about this option is that it is a quick flight from just about anywhere in the US. Most flights are four hours or less. That’s travel time well spent if the destination is as beautiful as the Caymans.
The Cayman Islands are very popular because of their international status with short travel distance. You will want to check when peak season is, especially since the islands tend to get more popular during common vacation dates.
The Caymans are three different islands with varying experiences depending on what you are interested in doing. Since these are islands, they are great if you enjoy the beach and ocean.
Of course, my favorite activity in the Caymans is diving and no activity at all. Lounging on the beach and enjoying the view of the crystal clear ocean is my definition of a good time.
If you choose to go the route of hours on the beach, be sure to bring lots of sunscreen. The Cayman sun can burn your skin in no time, which puts a damper on the rest of your vacation. I always keep a bottle or two of the Sun Bum Sunscreen Spray. It blocks the sun and smells fantastic.
The cost can vary depending on what you plan to do while visiting, but the overall plane ticket will typically be around $500. Prices do tend to vary, so it is good to check in advance for the best prices.
You will usually find the best overall prices in March or April, as it is out of season. However, these months are still earlier enough that you can avoid the rainy season.
Some of the best activities you can look into while visiting is snorkeling around the beach. Some options are more expensive that allows you to feed a stingray or even swim with sea turtles.
Another fun stop in when you’re in the islands is Hell, on Grand Cayman Island. Hell is a kitschy tourist destination with a post office for anyone that wants to mail a letter from Hell. But the actual namesake of the spot is a group of black, limestone formations that resemble volcanic rock.
If You Want to Go European, Visit Portugal
Lisbon is often compared to Barcelona, without nearly as much tourism. If you’re pressed for time, avoiding big crowds is always a plus.
Lisbon is an incredibly beautiful city with just as fantastic food and drinks to enjoy around the town. This is a very relaxing city that allows you to explore to your heart’s content.
From New York, the flight to Lisbon can last around six hours. It is one of the further away options, but many prefer this over visiting locations that are more beach heavy. This depends on your preference, but if you love to enjoy a city’s culture, then this is the perfect location for you.
Plane tickets vary greatly, but the best deals are around $400. This will, of course, depend on where you are going to be flying out of. Sometimes it may be best to consider driving closer to an airport with a cheaper ticket than the one near you. This could allow you to put that money towards enjoying Lisbon even more.
The majority of activities around this city are based around enjoying the view and trying out the fantastic wines and food. There are other options, but most of these are within very reasonable price ranges and never feel overly expensive.
Lisbon is actually cheaper than most major European cities, which is why tourists often prefer it. This is an excellent option if you aren’t looking to spend a lot to get away for a few days.
This location is on a lush island in the Atlantic and is one of the longer flights. However, the longest flight is under six hours but can change depending on where you plan to fly out of.
This is one of the largest of nine islands the makes up the Azores. It is a fantastic location to visit for relaxing. They are well known for the beautiful landscape, with waterfalls and hot springs that are iconic for anyone to visit while in the country.
The cost for a roundtrip tends to be around $800. However, there are also cheaper options at about $500 if you are willing to visit outside of the popular seasons. Avoiding visiting in the summer will not only save you money but allow you to avoid some of the more massive crowds that may enjoy visiting during those times.
Much of the Azores’ allure is the unique landscape and volcanoes. You can take tours if you want to see some of these with a guide, but hiking and taking in the scenery is free if you do it on your own.
Get Some Extra Vitamin D in Bermuda
Visiting Bermuda is excellent if you live near the East Coast, as it tends to be a relatively short flight. But, if you can get a flight to Miami from anywhere else, it’s right around three hours to fly from there.
Hamilton has a nice variety of being warm and sunny, while not being tropical. Many people enjoy visiting Bermuda in general due to the wide variety of activities that anyone can enjoy. This is great if you plan to visit with others, and they would prefer doing one activity over what you like.
The main reason many people enjoy visiting this location is due to the cheaper and shorter flights. They even have direct options that can come in under $300, which is optimal when considering a short vacation.
While there are plenty of activities that you can spend money on to enjoy while visiting, there are also plenty that is free or for a much lower cost. This is great if you aren’t looking to break your bank just for a short vacation.
Head North to Canada
Alberta, Canada, is a perfect destination for a quick getaway. Alberta is a mountain town that is surrounded by the Canadian Rockies. People tend to enjoy visiting this location for the fresh mountain air and to visit Lake Louise in Banff National Park.
There is no direct flight to this location, so you would need to fly around five hours to the nearby town of Calgary. After arriving, you would then need to drive about two hours into the mountains to reach Banff.
Depending on your needs, you can visit no matter the season. It is essential to be aware that there will be snow if you visit in the winter since these are the mountains. This is why most people tend to prefer going when the weather is cool without being the same coldness of winter.
Flights to Calgary tend to cost around $400, but you will need to remember that you will need to ride into the mountains. The best option to fully enjoy the mountains is to rent your vehicle for the trip. It’s an extra cost but removes any stress about needing to worry about finding transportation.
It is good to be aware that you will want to make sure you have suitable winter clothing if you go in the winter. On the other hand, if you visit outside of winter, then you will need to bring bear spray just in case. I always make sure to carry bear spray when I am in the mountains, and I tend to prefer Sabre Frontiersman Bear Spray.
The mountains are always a great place to hike, so the only cost you may need to worry about is if they require any permits. If you visit in the winter, you may be able to ski or ice skate. While skiing can be slightly more expensive, it is still a relatively reasonable cost. Otherwise, many people tend to enjoy visiting to see the views of the mountains.
Vancouver is perfect for a short vacation and is well-known for how amazing the forest and hiking trails are. So be sure to look into these if you are planning to visit the area.
Flights to Vancouver vary in length but can be anywhere from two to five hours long. This will mostly depend if you are willing to have layovers or are interested in using direct flights. I recommend visiting between April and October to avoid the rainy season and most crowds.
Roundtrip flights to Vancouver are relatively cheap, usually being the most expensive at $300. However, there are also other options to reach this location if you are within the US. These tend to be by train or similar methods, which may be longer trips at a low cost. Many people prefer train rides due to the bonus of enjoying the scenery on the way.
The most popular activity is hiking. You can often do this for free or relatively cheap. The main cost would be if you intend to camp or the location requires a permit. As always, some options may require more money, but overall this is a relatively inexpensive location to visit.
If you do plan to hike remote, make sure to bring the correct gear to be safe. This can be something as simple as a Survival Kit, or even bringing along a satellite phone if you do get lost. One of my favorite tools is the Survival Kit by Kosin, which has a little bit of everything in a small package.
Or Head South to Mexico
The longest travel time within the US to reach Isla Mujeres, Mexico, is around four and a half hours. This time may vary, but it tends to be a relatively short flight no matter where you are coming from.
This is a grand island to visit if you are interested in going to Cancun, but don’t want to deal with all the people there. Make sure to note that this location is not a party town, but much more relaxed.
Anyone who visits prefers to have a lazy weekend and recharge instead of going out drinking or being overly active.
A round trip can cost you less than $250 if you find the right deals. The only other cost to consider when attempting to arrive is that you will need to pay for a ferry to the island. When purchasing a plane ticket, you will need to fly into Cancun before taking the ferry over.
Most who visit prefer to spend their time doing more everyday activities, so they are often much cheaper than others you may see at different locations. However, they do have several different experiences that can get more expensive, but for obvious reasons.
If you would like to explore using a cheaper activity, you can always look into snorkeling. Doing this at almost any beach can be entertaining, and it can be relatively inexpensive to buy your snorkel to bring.
This can be an excellent trip for a short vacation, as you can often find great experiences anywhere you go. Even walking around to enjoy the overall city is an adventure on its own, allowing you to appreciate how life moves around the city. Stopping at a café and being among the unique culture is always an ideal trip for many.
You can typically reach Mexico City in under four hours, or even as short as two hours, depending on where you live. These are all based on the US’s locations, but even some areas in Canada may be close enough to make the short trip.
Doing proper research when visiting anywhere is essential, as I mentioned at the beginning. I always watch travel guide videos of the country, like the Mexico City Vacation Travel Guide by Expedia. These help you better understand the country overall and allow you to enjoy the trip even more.
Roundtrip tickets are around $500 depending on the season and airline you are flying with, and as with all other locations, going outside of peak season may be the best option for a short vacation due to the lower costs.
This city is great if you aren’t looking to overspend on activities, as you can usually find something to explore within the city itself. While this is true, there are also many iconic locations nearby that you should still look into visiting.
Experience the Rain Forest in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a well-known location for many and is well known for being a peaceful location. The top in the happiness index, and you can easily understand why, after exploring it. There are many places that you can visit, and it may not feel like you have enough time during such a short vacation.
So it may be best to narrow your trip down, or you will feel overwhelmed by all of the possibilities available. Due to this country’s location, you will most definitely be able to find something you are interested in doing. This location is, at most, a five-hour flight to reach one of its two airports.
If you are willing to go during the off-season, you can find flights as cheap as $200. The off-season tends to be May through November, which is excellent if you don’t mind the cooler weather and smaller crowds.
Costa Rica isn’t all that far from the US, but when you arrive, you’ll feel like you’re in a whole new world. Costa Rica varies so much in its landscape, with thick jungles, sandy beaches, and coffee plantations. But, the country is small enough in size that you might be able to catch all of these views in just a day or two.
Make sure to pack shoes that can easily go from one terrain to another. This will make it easy to transition from touring the coffee fields to walking along the beach without hauling around anything extra. I really love my New Balance Trail running shoes (you can get a pair for women as well). They are tough and perfect for traveling.
Something to note is that the best way to enjoy the country is by renting a car. The biggest issue with this is the cost of renting one, so you will want to make a note of your plans so you know if it will be necessary. If you plan to stay within the same town or just travel nearby, you should avoid this cost.
Due to the wide variety of activities that this country has available, you can easily adjust your experience to whatever cost range you would like. You can enjoy the beaches or enjoy hiking; almost anything is available depending on your preferences.
Just don’t forget to make time for the rain forest. The views are extraordinary, and truly a once in a lifetime experience. Don’t believe me? The Real Tarzan can prove it to you with his video below.
Vacation Like a Celebrity in Turks and Caicos
This is a well-known location due to many celebrities enjoying having vacation homes in the areas. It is good to pay attention to which seasons will have the most massive crowds and highest prices due to being so popular as it is easy for them to raise prices due to the celebrities drawing in larger groups.
It’s a relatively short flight at four hours being the longest and is a beautiful blue ocean for you to enjoy. Be aware of hurricane season from June through November, typically when fewer people will be willing to visit. So this may be the best time to consider as long as you pay attention to the weather forecast.
The cost may be somewhat more expensive than others in certain areas, but there are also cheaper options you can look into. Roundtrip tickets are mostly under $500, which is no more expensive than any other option on this list.
Turks and Caicos have a wide range of accommodations, with luxury beachfront hotels costing upwards of $500 a night, or properties lower than $100 a night. Finding one that’s right for you won’t be hard at all.
Activities are reasonably priced, as they include enjoying the beach or snorkeling. There are also local vendors in town free to enjoy, along with music or other free shows in the streets. There are also more expensive options, like riding a horse through the water.
Cut Down on Travel Time With a Trip to Cuba
Cuba is ideal for a quick vacation because it’s not far off the coast of Florida. There’s a specific element of mystery that comes with traveling to Cuba, considering that before 2015 it was tough to do so without extremely crafty travel arrangements.
Within a matter of hours, you can be on the ground in Cuba, ready to absorb everything it has to offer. Cuba has a rich history, and there’s evidence of that everywhere you go. If you’re looking to venture off the beaten track, National Geographic has a few ideas for you.
Cuba is great for those that enjoy sightseeing, as well as those that like a beach vacation. There’s a little something for everyone.
The best times to visit Cuba are typically within September, outside of peak tourist season. This is also when you’ll find that not only are flight tickets cheapest, but any activities within the country as well.
The highest cost noted from Cuba is the original flight into the country. It is said for a week to stay in the country; you should expect to spend $300. This doesn’t include the original ticket, which can average around $700.
The cheapest month to fly into Cuba may change, so it is always smart to watch the ticket costs as you plan when you will be going. It is a highly popular location, so if you visit during peak tourist seasons, be aware that some experiences will be overcharging due to tourist fees.
See the Fire and Ice of Iceland
Iceland is a majestic country that was initially named to keep others from knowing just how amazing it is. The biggest issue with taking a shorter vacation to this country is you may not feel as though you have explored it well enough. However, there’s plenty you can capture in just a few days.
The most popular times to visit Iceland are June through August, specifically if you are interested in outdoor activities. Iceland is relatively new on the scene of tourist destinations, but it’s an industry that’s been booming over the past couple of years.
Visiting Iceland makes it possible to explore an ice cave and catch a glimpse of tectonic plates all in one trip. And don’t forget to take a dip in the healing waters of the geothermal Blue Lagoon.
Iceland is one of the most expensive countries to visit on this list, and for a good reason too. For a week-long trip, a family is known to spend around $9,000 (it can be done cheaper though). If you are planning this trip solo, then it’s much more affordable. However, this is one of the most expensive countries in the world, so it is essential to take note of this.
A short vacation may not allow you to feel as though you have fully explored the country; however, it may be the perfect option if you are limited on how much you plan to spend. The average price for roundtrip tickets is usually around $800. Ticket prices do raise and lower depending on the season.
Check out Underwater Adventures in Belize
If you want culture and scenery, Belize has to be on your shortlist. From Chicago, the middle of the US, a flight is right around six hours, not bad at all. Belize is a destination ideal for families or groups because there’s something for everyone.
Belize is also home to some of the best scuba diving in the world. Divers can sneak a peek inside the world’s most giant sea hole, a cave system under the water called the blue hole. Actual scuba diving in Belize is mostly for experienced divers, but it is also possible for beginners to gain experience as well.
Note: There’s plenty for snorkelers to see while exploring the surrounding reefs.
If underwater exploration isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other water sports to do in Belize, including world-class fishing. And you know what great fishing means? Equally great seafood. Belizean cuisine is focused on fresh seafood and Caribbean flavors, with a splash of spice from the Guatemalan influence.
Traveling Belize appeals to a range of budgets. There are lots of things to do for free, and many hotels include activities in their fees. But, one major complaint of recent travelers is that anything beyond the hotel can get pricey. However, almost everyone who visits acknowledges that you can still enjoy all Belize offers with careful planning.
If you are interested in visiting another country for a short vacation, it is important to consider your budget and needs. Some people are interested in just relaxing when they plan a getaway like this; however, some are more interested in adventures and activities.
Knowing what you want to do will help you plan these trips much better. Please note that by planning your trip for off-seasons, it saves you money that you can put into other trip areas. This could be an experience, in a more superior hotel, or even just saving it for your next vacation.