When I lived in Austin, Texas, every "Lord of the Rings" movie release was a cause for celebration among a certain group of friends. We saw new releases and DVD versions as soon as we could, a tradition that brought us great joy and hours of entertainment. Now, the first "Hobbit" movie is coming out this weekend, but I live in Atlanta. What's a geek to do?
For this one, the answer is to fly back to Austin for 24 hours to see the movie with my friends at the legendary Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Thanks to air miles, I'm doing it for about $15.
My decision has earned funny looks and awkward conversational pauses, but I'm excited about my "vacation concentrate": no wasting time with filler, just 24 hours of fun.
"You'd be surprised how long a one- or two-day vacation feels if you really get away and go somewhere different," said Travelocity blogger Courtney Scott. "I went to Milan on a long weekend (three full days) last winter because I found a fantastic flight deal, and I came back renewed and recharged!"
Events like movies or ballgames are often the impetus behind these quick trips. Mary DeVore of Seminole, Florida, traveled to Albany, New York, and Foxborough , Massachusetts, to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. She also took 24 hours to see the Eagles in Foxborough.
"The strange thing is that I am really not a concert junkie or anything," she said. "I just feel that these guys and groups that I grew up listening to are aging and I want to be able to see them live when I can. Hoping the Rolling Stones go on one more tour -- you can bet I will fly somewhere for that!"
Anne Bresler of Novi, Michigan, and her husband took a one-day trip to New York last month to catch the superpopular Broadway show "Book of Mormon."
"We bought the tickets and figured we'd plan the full trip later," she said. "When we got around to getting our flights, we realized that it would be easier to just go in and out in one day."
Not to mention cheaper: "With hotel rooms at $300 to $400 for the holiday season, it was much cheaper to just do one day. We got to go to brunch at our favorite restaurant in the city, explored the Microsoft store in Times Square (my husband is a tech nerd) and then saw the show."
One-day trips aren't all fun and games, though. The smaller travel window means more risk of chaos or outright cancellation if there are any problems.