I want to travel all the time.
Actually, that isn’t quite true. I love being at home, and I love my cats and my life in London. But I do wish I had the freedom to go where I want, when I want and then trot back home whenever I pleased. I mean everyone needs a regular cuddle with my cat Clive. He’s the best.
But the other reason why I’d love to be able to live my life a little more free and easy is so that I don’t have to choose what type of travel to experience I get to take. If you’re not on the road full time, living your life like a flashpacking superstar you have to make a choice how to use your holiday days. Sometimes I want to flit about the back streets of a city. Sometimes I want to lie on the beach for two weeks with a book.
So what is better? A big holiday or a weekend break?
The case for the big holiday
I haven’t had a two week proper belter of a holiday for almost three years. They were pretty much the only holidays I used to take, and boy, I lived for them. Lived for them. I’d plan for ages in advance ticking off the months, weeks and days before I could run out of work, onto a plane and into the Caribbean Sea. Every year I’d buy a new summer holiday wardrobe of swimwear and wafty kaftans and flip flops and get excited for my luxury two week break.
I always spent ages picking the best hotels, the ones with the incredible dining options, great beachside views and if the hotel room had a jacuzzi – well that was just to be expected. I’d work my backside off all year to be able to afford it and spend those two weeks chilling the hell out. After all, I’d earned it, right?
Within that two weeks on the beach I’d always spend some time seeing stuff too – I’d pick my locations not just because of their fabulousness. In Mexico and Cuba I went on a range of excursions to see different parts of the country and I’d come home feeling relaxed, cultured and pretty satisfied with my choices.
But it is never enough.
Because the list of places I wanted to see just grew and grew, and long haul took up so much time and money. I started to weigh up whether one big blow out to one place fulfilled my travel needs or not. And the answer was it did not. At all. I loved having two weeks off work to look forward to, but the return to normal life was always so much harder, and I’d be back at my desk knowing I’d have another whole year until my next trip.
And if I was taking the world on in yearly bites, I’d never get through the list of all the things I wanted to see!You've only got so much annual leave to take so what's the priority? A big holiday or weekend break?Click To Tweet
The case for the city break
I have become the consummate city breaker. In 2017 alone I racked up 14 cities across Europe, ranging from a night to a few days in each destination. There were no beaches, often no sunshine but jetting off on the regular started to really become the way I love to travel.
I’ve had the chance to experience so many different cultures – Italy, Spain and France offering so many different things to cure my raging wanderlust. In three days I can see wonderful art, eating perfect food and sit with a drink watching the sun go down over busy cities.I can’t even count how many UNESCO World Heritage sites I’ve been to this year, and I’ve travelled to places I only dreamed of before because I always focussed on the two week blowout.
Leaving work on a Friday and being back on a Monday meant I could fit so much more travel in around my day job. I felt cultured, classy and so mature, especially when work would ask how I’m spending my weekend – oh you know, I’m just jetting off to Lisbon for the weekend. I always had something to look forward to, because the next trip was just around the corner.
But, constant travel in small breaks is tiring, especially if you have a full time job. I spoke to a little of this when I talked about dealing with travel burnout. Not only do I not get one big break from work, which I so think is needed to maintain balance and wellbeing, I’m constantly on the go, and don’t have enough time to travel, work, sleep and do life admin.
And city breaks are tiring. There is so much to see and do, and the way I like to see cities mean I’m walking way more than I would in my work life, staying up later, waking up earlier and eating a hell of a lot of rich food. I’m back at my desk on a Monday feeling shattered, full and a little bit shellshocked to be honest.
After a year of constant city breaking, I’m gagging for a big blowout beach break.
So what’s the answer – well, I’m not going to give you one, because I just can’t pick. Big holidays allow you the opportunity to slow down, relax and lean in to the sun, beach and luxury (I’m not talking about backpacking here – that’s a different kettle of fish entirely). But city breaks are thrilling – they are cosmopolitan and exciting and they give you that culture injection which you can do on the regular. You don’t have to wait for that two weeks to roll round.
This year, I’m planning on meshing my travel experiences. Less of them, but more of a balance. Can I do a bigger trip and a few city breaks on the side? See things more locally? That’s my aim – you don’t have to choose a big holiday or a weekend break. I’m going to spend the next year showing you can do both!
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