The mini-break might have had its day. Because relaxing they are not. Not only do they mean trying to squeeze as much into forty-eight or seventy-two hours as you possibly could (including getting up at a ridiculously early time and running everywhere for the entire time) they also need a fair bit of advance planning, including finding babysitters for the children or the dogs. As well as finding somewhere that isn’t ruinously expensive – or overbooked. Hoteliers and airlines had wised up to them too and jacked up their prices accordingly.
A micro-break however, according to those who’ve been on them, is an entirely different affair. Knowing that you can’t do so much is, well, liberating. It means travelling at a more reasonable time and pacing yourself when you’ve arrived. It could include a long leisurely lunch or even an afternoon nap.
Not surprisingly, those taking micro-breaks recommend travelling by train. Even a short air flight can involve lots of waiting around at the airports as well as the time spent travelling to and from the airport and city center. Time that could be spent chillaxing.
Staying in a central location is an important part of the micro-break too. As it’s only for one night, it means you can spend a bit more on the accommodation as well as be close to where it’s happening.
Having a theme for the micro-break is useful as it means you can focus on just one thing and ignore everything else. That means leaving off the list anything that involves a queue, however small. A themeless mini-break, on the other hand, involves plenty of queues as you spread yourself – rather thinly – between culture, history, retail therapy, nightlife and sightseeing. No wonder it can leave you exhausted.
Because of Eurostar, Paris is emerging as a good destination for micro-breakers, but those prepared to transfer to other rail lines can go further afield too. This makes Bruges a possibility (total travel time: 3 hours, 30 minutes) or even Strasbourg (Travel time: 4 hours 45 mins).