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Microcations: who wants to go on a small vacation?

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What’s happening to the traditional vacation? The days of leisurely long holidays, where the whole family heads out together to spend time away from the world and with each other, seem to be far behind us. Anywhere you look, the long vacation is on its way out and it is quickly being replaced by short trips, or microcations, as they are fancifully called today.

In fact, it has been seen that the younger you are, the more likely you are to take quick and short holidays, sometimes not extending beyond 4 nights at a time.

What is the reason for this shift in behaviour? Is this a passing phase, or can we expect it to stay around for longer? More than 4 nights, at least?

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What makes the new-age traveller choose shorter vacations over traditional holidays? Is it because the millennials do not get paid vacations or is there a bigger underlying reason to this phenomenon? Let’s take a peek into the world of holidays and travel to understand it for ourselves.

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The evolution of microcations

Look around you. Short vacations are happening everywhere.

Most millennials feel that taking time off from work creates a massive backlog once they return home. As it is, most of them have demanding jobs and feel that they cannot stay away from work for too long. Just the idea of attacking those emails and staying back late in the office for a few days after the vacation is a complete buzz-kill, and even has the potential of ruining the mood while on vacation.

Then there is the issue of affordability. Many youngsters cannot afford longer vacations and actually find it easier to pack and head-off for short trips to unwind or for sightseeing.

Don’t get us wrong; we’re not trashing the trend completely. Taking these short getaways is, quite simply put, like taking long weekends instead of extended vacation time. It’s actually a great way to get the most out of your paid time off especially if you want to see lots of different places in short amounts of time.

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Here’s why microcations are getting popular

They’re easier: Microcations are that much easier to plan and execute. There is less packing to do; often less or no flying is involved, making these smaller vacations less stressful. And of course, there is much lesser expense too.

Short attention spans: In this day of being ‘always-on’, it becomes difficult to focus on just one thing at a time, and to focus on it properly. More and more people are finding it tough to spend long holidays in one location because they can’t seem to bring themselves to take the time and effort to get to know a place intimately.

You can make the most of your vacation days: One of the key reasons many people prefer microcations is to minimise vacation day usage. If they time it right, usually with a weekend or an existing holiday, it becomes possible to take more holidays and visit more locations, instead of blowing up a week’s worth of vacation time on a single longer trip.

There’s hardly any missed work: There’s no denying the attraction of this benefit. If timed well, you can leave over a weekend and not miss any work at all. There will be no pile of work or emails clamouring for your attention. As it is, with the advent of smartphones and other devices, it is becoming expected of people to stay connected while on vacation, and thus the communication never really stops.

You save money: We’ve said this before and we will say it again. For those with a limited travel budget it is nearly impossible to splurge and take long vacations. Instead, by planning vacations in two-, three- and four-day increments it is possible for individuals or families to actually be able to take any holiday at all.

Domestic over international: Thanks to microcations, people are once again getting interested in domestic destinations over international ones, which is actually giving a boost to the local economy. And if people are willing to travel for shorter durations, but more often, it can only mean good business for everybody else.

Flexibility: People today are busier than ever before. But, then again, many companies also offer flexible working hours. This gives employees the opportunity to take advantage of last-minute deals, lower-cost short-haul flights and last-minute booking apps.

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How is the microcations trend affecting us?

It is interesting to note that the millennials aren’t the only group to be concerned with their vacation time. A survey shows that 40% of Gen X-ers also said that they find it easier to take time off work for a shorter duration. About 38% of Baby Boomers said they spend their vacation time to attend events, so they don’t need more than five nights.

Considering the earlier argument, shorter vacation time may seem like a practical, or even a prudent, idea. However, there is a flipside to it too. Enough studies have shown the numerous benefits of taking a break, especially an extended break, where the mind and the body, both, get to rejuvenate. Taking shorter breaks or eliminating vacations entirely may lead to burnout or lower productivity at work.

While we still wait and watch to see how much further microcations go, it is important to know that all of us are in immense need of some quality time off. Some groups are looking for newer and less traditional ways to get it, and it seems to be working for them.

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Why don’t you connect with us at Thomas Cook and allow us to plan a vacation, as long or short as you wish, to the next destination on your bucket list?

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