Quick trips feed the need: How to pick a destination

Not every traveler is looking for a grand adventure at a far corner of the compass. Here’s a reader question about how to find day and weekend trips closer to home:

Question:

Hi Lisa. I enjoyed reading the article in today’s Times (Get Outta Town, published every Sunday on this page) giving a few ideas for day trips in Minnesota. I think the hot-air balloon festival in Faribault would be fun …

Because my husband is on kidney dialysis, we really can’t be gone for more than one or two nights, so this is the kind of thing I look for. I was wondering if you could give me either more ideas that you found when you were doing the research, or even better if you could tell me what you search on to find this type of thing.

Answer:

It’s a bit of a shame that most of the travel industry’s energies are focused on providing services for big trips far from home.

Even without a medical limitation like the writer’s husband has, the reality of most of our lives is that weekend and day trips are our bread-and-butter travel. Short trips fit our schedules, our bank accounts (and often our routine relaxation needs, too) better than a month in Bora Bora.

So where do I find the quick ideas?

I hate to break it to you, but being a travel editor means this kind of information magically lands in my email box. I get a fair number of ideas for the Get Outta Town feature that way.

But here are some other rich trolling territories:

  •  Explore Minnesota: The state’s visitor information site is a great resource for residents, too. Head to www.exploreminnesota.com and click on “events” to find a powerful search engine listing thousands of events going on all over the state. You can sort by location, date and type. It’s my first stop when I’m conjuring up a quick getaway.
  •  Special interests: People with a hobby are almost certain to find some way to indulge it with a weekend trip. Check out websites devoted to the pastime and ask for ideas. Many hobbies have apps for that, too. The Knitmap app will find yarn stores across the globe, for instance, while Taphunter will lead you to craft brews. Find yours!
  •  Google: Simply typing “what’s going on in (location)” into a search engine can be pretty useful. The results will include links to local newspapers, chamber websites and entertainment venues with lots of ideas. Try combining this strategy with your special interests, too.
  •  Look back and out: Minnesota’s historic sites, museums and state parks have very active events calendars and the offerings cover a surprising array of topics. Check out state parks and historic sites at the Minnesota Historical Society www.mnhs.org, for starters, then branch out to the Walker Art Center, Annandale’s Pioneer Park, Duluth’s Glensheen Estate or Austin’s SPAM Museum.

Casino run

Sun Country Airlines will be flying more of its charter flights from St. Cloud to Laughlin, Nev., this fall.

The Oct. 11 departure is sold out, but seats are still available on the Nov. 11 flight.

The flights transport vacationers to Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino for three- or four-night stays.

Minnesota-based Sun Country operates Boeing 737-800 aircraft on the route, seating about 162 passengers. Ticketing details are available through St. Cloud Regional Airport’s website.

Get travel news daily at www.sctimes.com/travel, on Twitter @LisaSSchwarz, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sctimeslisa. Send questions to lschwarz@stcloudtimes.com.
Lisa Schwarz

About Lisa Schwarz

By day, I'm a St. Cloud Times editor guiding coverage of politics, government, public safety and business beats. By night, I'm leading the cubicle jailbreak as the Times Traveler. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LisaSSchwarz and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sctimeslisa
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