In the era of budget flights and short-haul adventures, weekend getaways have never been easier. While we're big fans of those espresso-style Big Short Breaks for when you're short on time, there's something wonderfully luxurious about long holidays. More time in a destination means more authentic experiences and a real insight into the local culture. With many of us still working from home, Ella from our marketing team, took the opportunity to spend a month in sunny Lisbon on a 'workcation'. Read on for a roundup of the benefits of a slower-paced holiday...
Live Like a Local
Many of us, when we travel, crave an authentic insight into the destinations we visit and the chance to get a taste for what it's like to live as the locals do. A long holiday is a great way to really get under the skin of a place. During my month in Lisbon I got to experience the city as a tourist - riding the iconic yellow trams and eating far too many pastel de natas (custard tarts) - but also as a local - shopping for food in local markets and returning to my favourite cafes and restaurants where I became, for a while anyway, one of the regulars.
Discover Lesser-Known Spots
When you're short on time, it makes sense to tick off the highlights of a destination, whether it's the best restaurant in town or an architectural wonder which has stood the test of time. Long holidays give you the chance to explore at a slower pace and intersperse the popular sites with the lesser-known ones. A typical day in Lisbon during my month-long stay involved morning outings to the popular Time Out Market with its many fantastic food stalls, and afternoons spent wandering around Alfama - the oldest district in the city - and hiking uphill to one of the many viewing points for the best views over the terracotta-roofed skyline.
Slow it Down
Trying to experience the essence of a destination can be challenging when you're tight on time, and speeding from one hotspot to the next gets exhausting after a while. Long holidays offer the chance to slow it down and take the time to truly appreciate a place. I spent whole afternoons getting to know districts like Principe Real with its upscale boutiques and escaped the city altogether on the hottest days with trips to neighbouring beaches and the pretty resort town of Cascais.
Find your Favourites
There's something truly satisfying about being somewhere long enough to find your favourite places, whether it's a favourite restaurant or bar or your favourite tucked away spot on a busy beach. During my stay in Lisbon I fell in love with a little local cafe which was open all day, serving up Mediterranean breakfasts in the morning through to outrageously good burgers in the evening. It quickly became a firm favourite, beckoning me back again and again and rooting itself in my memory as a highlight of the trip.
Make Your Holiday Count
While working from home is still an option for many of us, there has never been a better time to go on a workation (a holiday that combines work and leisure). Working from abroad gives you the chance to enjoy bonus travel time as you make the most of your lunchtimes, evenings and weekends and squeeze in exploring that would usually be reserved for a holiday. Throw in some actual holiday and your trip will feel like it has lasted a lifetime.