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7 epic destinations that require only 5 out-of-office days

Contiki Six-Two: 7 Epic Destinations That Only Require 5 Out-Of-Office Days

Hoping to travel somewhere incredible in 2021, but can’t afford to take that much time away from your desk? No worries! From floating down the Nile River in Egypt to roaming the Amazon in Ecuador, the short trip opportunities are endless as long as you plan ahead and choose some strategic flights (a little red-eye never hurt nobody!).

With all that said, the most important thing about earning paid vacation days is using them – so let’s hop to it, shall we? I’m Rachel from the blog Rachel Off Duty, where I encourage career-minded people to get out and see more of the world. Here are my 7 picks for the best short trip destinations (and Contiki adventures) that require just five weekdays away from home! 

1. Explore Egypt and cruise the Nile

If witnessing the only remaining Wonder of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Great Pyramid of Giza – sounds like your kind of vacation, a short trip to Egypt is for you. This trip will see you cruising down the Nile, exploring the sights and sounds of Aswan, Edfu, Luxor, and Hurghada along the way. And, since this trip ends on Saturday, you’ve got a full day to recover before dealing with your inbox on Monday (cue collective sigh of relief). 

How do I get there?

Direct flights head to Cairo (where this trip starts and ends) from various cities in Europe, New York and DC in the US, Toronto in Canada, and various cities in Asia.

2. Have a Peruvian adventure

Explore the very best parts of Peru – from the bustling streets of Lima to the heart of the Amazon jungle – in just 7 days. Who said it couldn’t be done? This trip includes a special stay in the Rainforest Lodge, a unique accommodation nestled in the jungle where you can encounter all sorts of jungle life in a once-in-a-lifetime setting. Another short trip ending on Saturday, you’ll be able to fill up on pisco sours and still have time to finish all that neglected laundry, before clocking in for the work week. 

How do I get there?

Direct flights go to Lima from all over South and Central America, from several cities in the US (like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, and Atlanta), from Montreal and Toronto in Canada, and from Spain, France, Amsterdam, and England in Europe. This trip starts in Lima and ends in Cusco, but you can usually find cheap flights back to Lima for less than $80 USD so you can start and end in the same place! 

3. Give back in Ecuador

Why spend your precious vacation days in just one hemisphere when you can do both at once? In Ecuador, you can dance on the equator line, explore rainforests, visit an active volcano, go salsa dancing and connect with local cultures, all in just seven days. Want to give back to the community while you’re in town? You can by choosing the ‘ME to WE’ version of this trip – almost the same itinerary, but with a full day dedicated to volunteering and learning about sustainable development projects that fuel local neighborhoods in a small province called Los Rios. This trip ends on Monday, so hop on an early morning flight if you can! Otherwise, Tuesday might be the perfect day to work from home and decompress. 

How do I get there?

Direct flights head to Quito from select cities in South and Central America, from Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, and Ft. Lauderdale in the US, from Toronto in Canada, and from Spain, France, and Amsterdam in Europe. This trip starts in Quito and ends in Guayaquil, but flights back to Quito at the end of your adventure usually don’t cost more than $40 USD.

4. Go on safari in Kenya

I don’t know about you, but a drive through the Kenyan hills in search of wildlife has always been a dream of mine. In 7 days, you can go on not one, not two, but 5 exploratory drives through the Masai Mara and Amboseli National Park, spotting everything from elephants lions to zebras and wildebeests. If spotting these beautiful animals in the wild, learning about Masaai warriors, and glimpsing Mt Kilimanjaro sounds like an ideal use of your vacation time, start looking for flights to Nairobi STAT. 

How do I get there?

Speaking of flights, direct flights head to Nairobi from New York in the US, from Switzerland, Germany, England, France, and Amsterdam in Europe, and from various cities in the Middle East and Asia. 

5. Discover Turkey

Woman in Turkey
Photo: Contiki

Bustling cities and perfectly preserved cultural meccas, Turkey has always had a special allure to it. In a 7-day short trip, you can experience everything from Istanbul and Canakkale to Troy and Izmir. In addition to some great historic sights and culinary experiences, you can experience Pamukkale up close – a thermal pool and falls with unmistakable white calcium terraces that almost look too perfect to be real. Almost. 

How do I get there?

When it comes to flying to Istanbul, you shouldn’t have any issues finding a quick route. Direct flights to Istanbul depart from pretty much every continent (excluding Australia).

6. Take a quick (but unforgettable) trip to Europe

The beauty of visiting Europe is that, if you’re short on time, you can actually explore several countries in one go. In fact, why not have breakfast in Croatia, lunch in Montenegro, and dinner in Albania while you’re at it? This whirlwind adventure takes you from Croatia, through Bosnia & Herzegovina, into Montenegro, on to Albania, out towards Greece, and then back over to Italy. Having spent 7 months of my life in Italy in college as a study abroad student, taking the train from country to country and sometimes stopping in a new destination just for the afternoon, I know firsthand how unbelievable and surreal it can be! 

How do I get there?

This trip starts in Split, which has no direct flights outside of Europe, unfortunately. However, it’s easy to get to Split from Rome (which is where the trip ends), so you can book a round-trip direct flight to Italy and just hop over to Croatia for an extra $50 – $150 USD!

7. Head to Japan

For a sensory overload in the best possible way, look no further than Japan. From the dizzying display that is Tokyo, to the sights and sounds and tastes of Kyoto and Osaka – you can spend your time in each getting accustomed. A combination of the heritage and the innovation makes Japan unlike anywhere else in the world. You can also enjoy a meal complete with robots, lasers, and cabaret dancers. I’ll just leave it at that. 

How do I get there?

There are direct flights to Tokyo from several cities throughout Europe, North America, the Middle East, and all of Asia. You can also find direct flights from Cairo in Egypt, from every major city in Australia, and from Auckland in New Zealand. This trip starts in Tokyo and ends in Osaka, but you can take a flight back to Tokyo for less than $80 USD or hop on the bullet train for around $130 USD. 

There you have it! So, stop sitting on those well-earned vacation days and make your next week off an unforgettable one. There’s so much to see and so little time to waste.

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