Everyone wants rewards to come easily. Sure, we all like to think that the tried-and-true adages of hard work, diligence, and dedication describe how we strive to attain a reward, but really, that's not always true: Just think about ordering takeout for a delicious meal, or using a shortcut to get to a destination faster. When we can have what we want with little time and effort, we're satisfied. And that immediate gratification can also apply to travel.
"The primary factors that make a place 'easy' to visit come down to the expense and convenience of getting around," says Scott Keyes, co-founder of Scott's Cheap Flights. "Places where flights are cheap, or where the U.S. dollar goes a long way, qualify as easy to me. And places where you can fly directly or quickly, as well as cities with great public transportation, are easy. Final, lesser factors are the amount of tourist infrastructure a place has and its degree of familiarity."
When you're looking for a getaway that meets these qualifications, then the profit of traveling can be yours without much struggle. For Keyes, the easiest places for him to travel to include Mexico and Costa Rica for their proximity and reasonable flight fares, Western Europe for its mostly single currency and public transportation, and the Caribbean for its many resort options and plane routes. Of course, none of these options include airport connections or a hefty budget. That wouldn't give the same satisfaction of an easy reward.
If you want to make your own list of quick travel destinations—say, for instance, if you need a break from work or harsh weather—then these are the types of stipulations to consider, too. We asked Keyes to describe how to go about finding the easiest places for travel according to personal needs, and where to go based on the size of a party and its level of experience. When his tips provide a guideline for your own destinations, feel free to test them out. It should be easy enough to do.
How to Choose an Easy Place for Travel
Choose non-stop flights. "Nonstop flights reduce the chance that your vacation will go haywire because of flight delays," Keyes says. "After all, you don't have any connection you might miss."
Don't overpay for flights. "If you set your heart on a single destination, it's much harder to find a cheap flight than if you've got a number of different places you're willing to go and letting airfare be the deciding factor," he continues.
Beware of budget airlines. "You're more likely to face a major trip delay on budget airlines," Keyes says. "That's because larger airlines have partnerships or interline agreements that allow them, in event of flight delays or cancellations, to put passengers on another airline. Most budget airlines have no such partnerships or agreements, so a cancelled flight could mean waiting 48 hours or more for the next open seat on that airline."
Find out where an airport is located. "If you're taking budget flights in Europe, be aware that many Ryanair and EasyJet flights operate out of airports quite far from the city they purport to be in," he adds. "You may end up spending all the money you saved just on fare to get out to the airport."
Make your credit card work for you. "Many credit cards carry automatic travel insurance or protections in case of flight delays, cancellations, or missing bags, but only if you pay for your flight with that card," Keyes notes. "See whether your card has this benefit."
Where to Travel, Based on Your Circumstances
First-time flyers: "Chicago and Denver are both inexpensive to fly to—they have three-hour-or-less flights to almost anywhere in the U.S.—and both have an easy train direct from the airport to downtown," he says.
Couples: "Hawaii and Turks and Caicos are great couples getaways with a lot of tourist infrastructure, and flights have been regularly $300 roundtrip or less in 2018," Keyes adds.
Solo travelers: "Mexico and the Netherlands have tons of inexpensive direct flights from the U.S," he continues. "They're also mainstays for backpackers, so you may make friends along the way."
Group of friends: "Germany and Colombia have both seen a lot of cheap flights in 2018 and have a ton of friend-friendly activities, from beer halls to soccer games to tejo (think cornhole, but with small explosives)," he says.