In the ideal world, we’re all free to be year-round travelers, booking one month-long voyage after another and never having to worry about jobs or commitments at home. Until we make that utopia a reality, not every vacation can be a multi-week extravaganza, but short trips are anything but a consolation prize—on the contrary, a shorter voyage can come with a host of upsides that make it an enticing option. Ahead, a few reasons why a short trip might be just right for you and yours—and a round-up of 11 action-packed itineraries to consider for your next getaway. Get Inspired By Photos, Videos, Webinars, Stories, And Exclusive Offers. Sign Up

Stretch Your Vacation Days

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Travelers explore by Zodiac in San Jose, Costa Rica. Photo: Willy Alfaro

According to the Pew Research Center, 46 percent of Americans don’t use all of their hard-earned PTO—and it’s no wonder, between vacation decision paralysis and a lingering sense that you should save some days off just in case.

A shorter voyage, timed right, lets you maximize those days that might otherwise go unused, ensuring you still have plenty left to sprinkle long weekends and extended getaways throughout the year.

For example, spend six action-packed days exploring Costa Rica or Iceland on a Wild Escape with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic and you may only need to use four vacation days, making multiple meaningful adventures over the year a real possibility. 

Test Out a New Adventure or Destination

Before you embark on a new-to-you type of adventure it can feel a little terrifying, if perhaps thrillingly so—just ask any scuba or skydiver about their first experience. Finding your sea legs for the first time on a no-holds-barred 35-day voyage to Antarctica might be understandably daunting. The majority of our Wild Escapes range from five to seven adventure-filled days, making them just the right size to decide if expedition travel is right for you. 

Learn more about what to expect on an expedition cruise >

Shorter voyages also give you the chance to get a taste of a new destination before you commit to a three-week deep dive. Wild Escapes are the perfect compact, yet action-packed way to whet your appetite. If six days in Baja California among the gray whales goes by in a blink, you can plan to come back for a 15-day expedition—and a brand new look at a now-familiar place.

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Porpoising dolphins are a common sight in the Gulf of California. Photo: Sven Lindblad

Give Your Mental Health a Boost

The long-term health and happiness rewards of being a regular traveler are legion—and you don’t have to be venturing out on lengthy trips to benefit. A 2003 study that compared medium-length vacations with those longer than ten days found the two equally effective at reducing stress and burnout. And in one study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, German researchers found that short vacations—as little as four days—had a major impact on stress recovery and well-being that lasted even a month and a half after a trip’s completion. The takeaway? Short trips, taken often, can be a stress-relieving buffer from the grind of everyday life.

Make Big Family Trips a Reality

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The wild wonders of Alaska will captivate kids (and adults!) of all ages. Photo: Andrew Peacock

Finding a two-week stint when multiple families’ school and work schedules align can feel like a logistical nightmare—but short-and-sweet expeditions ease the burden of planning and calendar coordination, ensuring you’ll have minimal school absences or make-up homework and none of the post-vacation-work-pileup that can happen on a longer getaway.

Book it during summer vacation and suddenly you’ve found the ideal way to get the whole extended family in one place for the first time in who-knows-how-long. And with the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic exclusive hands-on program for kids, even the youngest adventurers will be fully immersed in the destination at hand.