TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Day Trips


What are day trips?

Day trips are an excellent way to take a break from the routine without having to travel too far from your residence. Depending on which part of the world you are in, a day trip could involve anywhere between under an hour to three hours to reach your destination.

man driving straight on pathway during day time

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This leaves ample time to enjoy your planned excursions without feeling you might miss out on a few activities. Interestingly, day trips are not limited to your permanent residence but can also be undertaken while on holiday.


Why should you pick a day trip over a staycation?

woman sitting on cliff during daytime

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While both day trips and staycations are mini breaks, there are a few differences that set them apart. Let us take a look at some factors:

  • Duration

Day trips involve a short drive to a nearby area for an excursion or an activity. After completing the itinerary, day trips end back at home. On the other hand, staycations involve an overnight stay and offer residents a chance to act like tourists in their locality. It is an excellent option for a quick break if you can't get time off work.

  • Travel time

While day trips require some travel, there is essentially no travel required for a staycation. Since the amount of distance covered varies depending on road conditions and speed restrictions, it is better to state that day trips should not involve more than three hours of travel time. If you are traveling beyond that time frame in one direction, it would leave you too little time at your day trip destination.

For a staycation, one only needs to consider the amount of time it would take to reach the hotel or resort.

  • Budget

Budget-wise, day trips do turn out cheaper than staycations primarily because accommodations are not involved. Food and activities are part of staycations and day trips and will not make much of a difference in the budget. However, both are cheaper than vacations and are much easier to plan than a long holiday.

  • Activities

Both day trips and staycations involve activities that could include sightseeing or something like a cooking workshop. But since staycations take place in your area of residence, activities could also mean dining at your favorite restaurant. Overall, staycations are more laidback while a day trip is more active.

  • Planning

Day trips are a lot easier to plan since they do not require bookings beforehand. If you wake up and decide to go to the beach, you can be sure it will be open all day. The same goes for religious sites and national parks.

However, if you decide to visit family or friends during your day trip, you should call ahead and confirm if they will be at home.


Types of day trips

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The charm of day trips is that you can choose to do as much or as little as you want. Day trips can take a variety of forms and sometimes even be a combination of two or more different types of outings.

  • Nature trip

A short trip away from the city can do wonders for the soul. A nature trip does not have to be to a national park but could also be to a beach or the mountains. It could also be a short trip to a seasonal waterfall and involve a home-packed picnic. A nature-based day trip from Mumbai could be a trek or a day spent on the beach or in the mountains.

  • Cultural trip

A cultural trip can be a multi-faceted outing that can include a trip to a museum, a heritage site, or a local village. A day trip from Milan could transport you to the canals of Venice or have you surrounded by the historic architecture of Florence in under three hours.

  • Culinary trip

A culinary trip does not have to be an elaborate affair. It could simply mean driving to a restaurant on the city outskirts or in a secluded location. It does not only have to be about food but could also mean wine or whiskey tasting.

If you stay in Virginia, you could plan a day trip to the many vineyards in Loudon County. And if you are traveling to Scotland, do not miss the opportunity to tour the whisky distilleries of Speyside.

  • Urban exploration

Countless unexplored spots near major cities can be discovered one at a time. If you plan to visit Hanoi, you could easily plan a day trip to the UNESCO-listed Halong Bay and enjoy kayaking and cave exploration.

  • Family trip

It is best if you have family and friends living in the same city as you. If not, the next best option is to have them within driving distance. Sometimes, a day trip could just be driving to see your best friend in another city for a cup of coffee or a short outing.

  • Wellness trip

Who doesn't need a luxurious break every once in a while? A wellness trip allows you to check yourself into a spa for a full day of aromatic treatments and soothing massages. If you are in Japan, a wellness trip could be a day trip to a hot spring or onsen, and from Budapest, it could mean spending a day at a thermal bath.

  • Pilgrimage trip

A pilgrimage trip is a day trip to visit a holy site, such as a temple or a church in a neighboring city. These trips are quite common in Asian countries such as India. An example of a day trip from Mumbai is a visit to the Shri Saibaba Temple in Shirdi, about 240 km (149 mi) away.


Perks of going on a day trip

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  • Easy to plan

The best thing about day trips is that they are relatively easy to plan, even if they are impromptu. If you decide to head out for the day, all you need to ensure is that you have a tank full of gas and company.

You would need to check the route and travel time, but other than that, your main concern should be travel snacks and pit stops. In most cases, for a day trip, you would already know the places you would be visiting.

  • Budget-friendly

Limited budgets often restrict people from planning long breaks. But that does not mean that you should deprive yourself of a holiday. A day trip could sometimes only involve food and gas expenses.

  • No need to book a hotel

Since day trips take place over a single day, they do not involve prior hotel bookings. Unless a wine tasting turns into drinking rather than tasting, you might find yourself booking a room for the night.

  • Easy transportation

Depending on where you are, all you need to do is hop in your car or purchase a train ticket and head to your destination. There are some scenic train rides in Texas and train rides in Switzerland that can be considered.

  • Finding hidden gems close to home

More often than not, we get used to the cities where we live and do not see the beauty that the tourists see. A day trip offers the opportunity to play tourists in our own country and explore the areas close to home.

If you reside in San Francisco, the convenient location of the city makes it possible to plan day trips in multiple directions. Or if you find yourself on the sandy beaches of Koh Samui, you can plan day trips to several remote islands that would not be possible otherwise.

  • No need for a passport

Since most day trips are a visit to places close to our primary residence, they do not include international travel. Unless, of course, you live in Europe, then you could cross borders. If you reside in Luxembourg, a day trip from the country could take you to Bastogne in Belgium or Trier in Germany.

  • Great option for working individuals

Once you enter the workforce, you are only entitled to a certain number of leaves. But it is always a good idea to take regular breaks to continuously feel refreshed.

  • Great option for parents and pet parents

When you have children, your holidays revolve around the school breaks. But sometimes, short day trips are a great way to break the monotony of school runs and after-school activities. Instead of children sitting in front of a screen, a day trip can take them out in nature or introduce them to interactive museums.

It is not always possible to take your pets along for a long holiday, but a day trip is an excellent way to get the pets out of the house. Pet-friendly beaches and nature trails are top choices for day trips with pets.


Factors to consider when planning a day trip

While day trips are easy to plan and can also be impromptu trips, there are a few factors to consider when you decide to step out. Here are some factors that should be considered when heading for a day trip:

  • Location and accessibility

Since day trips can be taken in a day, the destination should be easy to access and travel time should typically not exceed three hours each way. If you are not using a private vehicle to get to the place, it should have direct or quick public transport accessibility. You can also check if the location is amenable for persons with mobility issues.

  • Weather

Weather is an important factor to consider so that you do not dampen your travel plans. For example, Dudhsagar Falls in Goa is a top attraction during the monsoons, while day tours from Santorini are best from June to September.

  • Activities to indulge in

As with any holiday, a day trip can be as packed as you want it to be. Alternatively, it could be an excuse to escape the city for a few hours. Scenic drives in Colorado or California are top ideas for an unplanned day trip. If you are in the mood for sightseeing, day trips from London can offer history, culture, and nature.

  • Schedules for attractions/activities

If you are planning a day trip to museums or want to participate in activities such as walking tours in France or cycling tours in the US, it is best to check timings and availability beforehand.

  • Food stops

No trip is ever complete without delicious food along the way. Depending on whether you are visiting a nearby city or a remote location, you might wish to try local food or pack a picnic.

  • Flexible itinerary in case of any unexpected changes

While nothing is better than a flawless trip, sometimes we encounter unexpected challenges. If something unplanned does occur, do not panic, and do not let that situation derail your plans for the day. If there is a crowd at a must-try restaurant, you can stop for a meal at your second choice or try back a little while later.


What to prepare and pack for a day trip

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Day trips are not long, but they still require some preparation. Here are some things to prepare when planning a day trip:

  • Full tank

It is best to fill your gas tank before leaving the city if you are unsure where gas stations are located along the route.

  • Snacks and drinks

No road trip is complete without snacks. Pack your favorite snacks and drinks for the drive, but don't forget water. If you are going to be indulging in strenuous activities such as rock climbing or trekking, it is best to pack energy bars and drinks.

  • Light carry-on baggage

This could be a light backpack for your personal belongings so that your hands are free. Make sure to pack sunscreen, wipes, and a bottle of water.

  • Comfy outfit

You are going on an adventure, so make sure you wear something that you will be comfortable in for the entire day. The outfit also includes shoes, so make sure to pick an activity-appropriate pair.

  • Phone chargers/power banks

Always carry a power bank or a charging cord that can be connected to your car. While most day trip places maintain a heavy footfall, you never want to find yourself stranded with a low battery alert.

  • Cash for emergencies

Credit cards and digital payments have made cash quite uncommon to carry. But if you are traveling to a new destination, it is recommended that you always carry some cash in case of emergencies.

  • Medicines

A basic first-aid kit should always be a part of every travel plan. If you plan regular day trips, you could think about keeping a permanent kit in the glove compartment.

  • Map of the destination

Don't worry, we don't mean a physical map. However, it is always a good idea to download an offline map in case you have connectivity issues.

  • Activity- and location-specific equipment

If you think you might require specific items at your destinations but are unsure if you can rent them, it is always better to carry them with you. Alternatively, you can do a quick search to learn if they are available locally.

If you are spending a day at a nearby beach town, this list of packing things for the beach will surely come in handy.

  • Spare set of clothes

If you are traveling with children, it is always a good idea to pack at least a couple of extra sets of clothes as well as diapers. If an all-adults day trip includes athletic activities, you might consider bringing extra clothes for the car ride home.


Destinations

Day trips are not just for tourists but also for locals to re-explore attractions and activities offered near and within the area. No matter where you are in the world, it's always easy to find a place to visit close by. Some might be worth visiting only once, while others might turn into annual trips. Let's take a look at some destinations from where it is easy to plan day trips.

Destinations offering day trips in the US

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  • California:

The topography of California offers mountains, beaches, and deserts. Depending on your mood, a day trip could be a hike, a trip to the vineyard, or a day on the beach. If you are trying to make it big in Los Angeles, you can opt for a day trip from this city and spend a day or head to Santa Monica Beach to clear your head. The state is also surrounded by several green spaces, such as Angeles National Forest and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation, that will appeal to exercise enthusiasts.

Day trips from San Francisco include a mix of history and nature-based sites such as Alcatraz Island, Monterey Bay, and Mount Diablo State Park. Tech employees must give their eyes a break and reward them with some greenery by planning day trips from San Jose.

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  • New York State

If you live and work in the concrete jungle of New York City, it is essential to take a short day trip out in nature. Day trips from New York offer a mix of activities, and trips can be planned depending on individual interests. There are plenty of things to do in the Hamptons, making it one of the top choices for a day trip. Other options from New York state include a trip to Philadelphia in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania and Bear Mountain State Park. Day trips from Buffalo are also quite popular, with Niagara Falls being a top choice. The falls can also be accessed as a day trip from Rochester.

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  • Colorado:

This state is famous for its jaw-dropping scenic beauty and exciting outdoor activities. Exciting day trips from Boulder include the town of Breckenridge, which is most famous for its ski resorts. However, there is no shortage of things to do in Breckenridge, even during the summer. The sandstones of Colorado Springs and wine tasting in Canon City are popular activities from Boulder and Denver when the weather is warm. Moreover, day trips from Colorado Springs can take you to Garden of the Gods and Phantom Canyon.

Destinations offering day trips in Canada

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  • Quebec:

Just like the US, Canada is a vast country that cannot possibly be explored in a single trip. However, several cities, such as Montreal, make it possible to explore a larger stretch of this beautiful country. One way is taking in the several scenic drives from Montreal as well. It is possible to leave the bustling metropolis behind and lose yourself in the narrow lanes of the fortified Quebec City. And if you do not wish to travel far, Nun’s Island in Montreal is an excellent spot to spend a day.

If you want to get away from the city, spend a day cruising the St. Lawrence River or cross the river to spend a day at Parc National du Mont-Saint-Bruno. Another top choice is the small town of Mont Tremblant, and check out the many things to do in Mont Tremblant year-round.

The other major city in the province, Quebec City, also offers many choices for a day trip. A day trip from Quebec City can take you on an urban adventure to Montreal and Ottawa or bring you closer to nature at Saguenay St. Lawrence Marine Park.

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  • Ontario:

On the border of Lake Ontario, Toronto is the largest and most populous city not just in the province but in Canada. The city is exceptionally positioned to offer a variety of day trips. While the most famous day trip is to Niagara Falls, locals, and visitors can also spend the day cruising on the historic Kajama or spend a leisurely day on the islands.

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  • British Columbia:

Situated on the opposite side of the country from Toronto and Montreal, Vancouver, in stunning British Columbia, is an ethnically diverse city. It is possible to plan a day trip to the slopes of Whistler during the winter months, while Vancouver Island can be explored during the pleasant summer season. Moreover, British Columbia is an interesting place to reside in and visit, with the possibility of several day trips from Vancouver and things to do in the city itself.

The capital city of Victoria is on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and is surrounded by scenic beauty. If you are based in this city for school or work, take advantage of the stunning location and plan day trips from Victoria. Options include The Butchart Gardens, Goldstream Provincial Park, and sailing in the Salish Sea.

Destinations offering day trips in Mexico

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  • Cancun:

This coastal paradise is a popular getaway destination in North America and offers tourists a dose of beauty and history in equal measure. Several day trips from Cancun allow travelers to explore both land and water. Overlooking the glittering Caribbean Sea, tourists can spend days exploring its beaches, diving with colorful fish, and even swimming with sharks. When you wish to explore more of the sights inland, Puerto Morelos and Valladolid are top options.

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  • Puerto Vallarta:

Located on the Pacific coast, this resort town is an excellent choice for a laidback family holiday. Day trips from Puerto Vallarta can help tourists explore hidden gems such as Yelapa, where visitors can visit fishing villages and snorkel in clear waters. Moreover, Islas Marietas is a group of protected islands that will be loved by water babies who can snorkel and paddle board to their heart's content.

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  • Guadalajara:

It is the second largest city in Mexico and one of the best places to reside in South America. Day trips from Guadalajara will introduce visitors to mariachi music and the art of tequila making. Spend a day in the town of Tequila, visiting distilleries and learning about traditional production methods. Do not forget to sign up for tequila tasting.

Destinations offering day trips in South America

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  • Buenos Aires, Argentina:

The Argentinian capital is one of the most popular destinations with tourists in South America. There are interesting things to do in Buenos Aires, including sightseeing historic monuments as well as taking food tours around the city. Before making their way to the pristine Patagonia region, tourists must explore the capital and its surrounding areas with planned day trips from Buenos Aires.

Visitors can plan day trips to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Colonial del Sacramento in neighboring Uruguay. If you wish to stay in the country, San Antonio de Areco, the gateway to the Pampas, is a top choice.

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  • São Paulo, Brazil:

The thriving São Paulo is the largest and most populous in Latin America. It is also a top destination for tourists visiting Brazil. Day trips from São Paulo make it possible for tourists to explore regions beyond the city limits. Just like the locals, visitors can make their way to Guarujá on Santo Amaro Island to spend a day on the beach and indulge in water sports. If you wish to experience Swiss culture in South America, Campos do Jordão is an interesting city to visit for a day.

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  • Lima, Peru:

One of the most visited countries in South America, Peru is brimming with culture and history. The capital, Lima, is the starting point of any Peruvian holiday and offers multiple day trips to help experience the country's beauty. The pyramids of Caral and the dunes of Paracas are excellent off-beat destinations to discover.

Destinations offering day trips in the UK

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  • London, England:

The British capital is the starting point of all trips in the UK. Even if you do not plan overnight stays in any other British city, it is possible to explore them from London. Good roads and an extensive rail network make it convenient for travelers to navigate around the UK. Day trips from London could take you to Southampton for an afternoon or to the historic city of Bath.

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  • Bath, England:

The city of Bath is best known for its therapeutic hot springs and is a day trip option for Londoners. However, if you are here for a weekend or a short stay, it is possible to use it as a base to explore several nearby cities as day trips from Bath.

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  • Glasgow, Scotland:

The beauty of the region is best experienced by taking part in scenic drives in Scotland. Not only will this help you appreciate the natural beauty surrounding Glasgow but even transport you to scenic spots such as Arthur's Seat. Day trips from Glasgow can introduce visitors to some of the county's famous lochs or lakes, such as Loch Lomond. Who knows, you might even find the Loch Ness monster. A visit to this lake can also be combined with a short hike at Trossachs National Park.

Destinations offering day trips in other popular European countries

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  • Budapest, Hungary:

Straddling the Danube, the districts of Buda and Pest help form the romantic and classic city of Budapest. While there are numerous things to do in Budapest, a stay in the city can also be used to explore nearby areas such as the Etyek wine region and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hollókő. Day trips in Budapest can also mean staying in the city and opting for a cruise along the Danube with lunch served onboard.

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  • Ljubljana, Slovenia:

The central European country of Slovenia is an offbeat destination that needs to be on every traveler's bucket list. It is renowned for its natural beauty and offers some of the most picturesque hiking trails. Some of these, such as a hike to Mount Visevnik, can be completed as a day trip from Ljubljana.

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  • Munich, Germany:

This city might experience the maximum number of tourists during the annual Oktoberfest, but it also hosts a spring and a winter festival that must not be missed. Day trips from Munich can help travelers and locals explore the many small towns in Bavaria. It is one of those unique cities where a day trip can also mean a trip across the border. Salzburg and Innsbruck in Austria are favored nearby destinations.

Destinations offering day trips in Asia

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  • Bangkok, Thailand:

Bangkok is one of the most popular cities in Southeast Asia and a major travel hub. It is possible to use Bangkok as a base to visit cities across Thailand as well as the neighboring countries. Viator offers several interesting day tours in Bangkok and neighboring provinces. Day trips to UNESCO-listed Ayutthaya, the seaside resort town of Pattaya, and the WW II site of Kanchanaburi are popular options from Bangkok.

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  • Mumbai, India:

The bustling and vibrant city of Mumbai is a popular stop for tourists visiting India. The beauty of this place is that in addition to its countless attractions, it allows locals as well travelers a chance to explore several nearby smaller cities and towns. Day trips from Mumbai are a great way to explore the beaches of Alibaug, the hill station of Matheran, and historic forts such as Visapur.


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  • Singapore, Singapore:

This financial hub might be a tiny island, but it offers several day trip options to neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia. While talking about day trips, one should not forget the entertainment-packed Sentosa Island on the southern coast of Singapore.

Destinations offering day trips in the Middle East

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  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE):

Dubai is a modern Middle Eastern destination that is known for its skyscrapers and mega malls. Many who travel to UAE choose to stay in the city of Dubai and plan all their excursions from there. Since UAE is a small country it is possible to visit the spectacular theme parks of Abu Dhabi and the Formula 1 race track of Yas Island from Dubai.

Day trips from Dubai can also include excursions to the hot springs of Al Ain and Al Qudra Lakes in the Dubai desert. Travelers and locals based in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi can also plan day trips to these destinations with ease. Sharjah is 28.9 km (17.9 mi), and Abu Dhabi is 138.7 km (86.1 mi) away from Dubai.

Destinations offering day trips in New Zealand and Australia

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  • Auckland, New Zealand:

The beauty of the North Island can be experienced from Auckland. With day tours and day trips from Auckland, you can cover several attractions in the north before heading down to the South Island. It is also possible to visit the filming location of the popular Hobbit movies from Auckland.

a red train on a track with Wellington Cable Car in the background

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  • Wellington, New Zealand:

Located on the southern tip of North Island, Wellington is famous as a base city for exploring the beauty of the country. Day trips from Wellington can transport tourists to the protected reserve of Kapiti Island, the heritage site of Cape Palliser Bay, and the town of Otaki.

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  • Melbourne, Australia:

One of the most visited cities in Australia, Melbourne offers a mix of historic and family-friendly attractions. Day trips from Melbourne are a great way to escape city life and head out to one of the many state and national parks around the city. Moreover, a day trip to Philip Island is one of the best chances to witness a penguin colony.

Destinations offering day trips in Africa

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  • Cairo, Egypt:

The majestic Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx are some of the top global attractions and can be visited as a day trip from Cairo. The city sits along the Nile, and a must-do day trip is a cruise along the longest river in the world. Another option is to visit the grand city of Alexandria, which sits on the Mediterranean.

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  • Cape Town, South Africa:

Sitting on the southern tip, Cape Town is surrounded by attractions that can be explored through day trips. Day trips from the city include a mix of nature and history-based options such as Robben Island and Cape of Good Hope.

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  • Marrakech, Morocco:

The city is most famous for its vibrant markets and decorative medinas and is a popular destination to escape the cold winter. Day trips from Marrakech include the Agafay Desert, the Atlas Mountains, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou.


Take a break and go on a day trip

man fishing on seaside

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It is always good to take periodic breaks to feel rejuvenated and refreshed after hours of sitting in an office or doing your usual routine. It might not be possible to always head out for a long holiday, but day trips are an excellent alternative. So, pull out a map and find your next destination.


Destinations for day trips in the United States

Other American destinations for day trips

Destinations for day trips in the United Kingdom

Other European destinations for day trips

Destinations for day trips in Asia

Destinations for day trips in the Middle East

Destinations for day trips in Africa

Destinations for day trips in Australia and New Zealand


FAQ's about Day Trips

  • What are day trips?
    Day trips are short one-day trips to nearby destinations that do not require an overnight stay. They can include visits to national parks, pilgrimage sites, and cultural attractions.
  • Are day trips different from staycations?
    Yes, they are. Staycations refer to taking a break and booking a stay in your city of residence, while day trips include traveling to a nearby destination. Day trips do not include an overnight stay.
  • Are day trips cheaper than staycations?
    Yes! Even if you have an activity-packed packed trip planned, you would still end up spending less than a staycation since there are no accommodation bookings to take care of. Accommodations make up a large chunk of the budget during trip planning.
  • Do I need a passport for a day trip?
    Well, it depends. Most day trips are in your country of residence, unless of course if you reside in Europe. It is possible to cross a border when you are day-tripping there.
  • Can I take my pet along on a day trip?
    It depends on where you are going for your trip. Some beaches and national parks in the US allow leashed dogs. It is always best to check before bringing your pet along.
  • Do I need to book a hotel for my day trip?
    Nope! There is no need to book a hotel for your day trip, since you will be heading back home at the end of the day.
  • What should I pack for a day trip?
    No road trip is complete without snacks, so definitely pack those. Never leave the house without sunscreen and sunglasses. Other than that, it depends on your destination. Swimsuits for beaches, comfortable shoes for a walking tour, and your favorite knife for a cooking class.

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