Try a New Way to Travel

(Family Features) Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, families are still finding ways to make the most of unusual schedules to plan a getaway. With more flexible work and school arrangements, many families are embracing the idea of a “flexcation,” an emerging travel trend where families rent vacation homes later in August, September and October, consider staying longer to mix work and play, and often get better value in high-demand locales.

“Though this year has been incredibly difficult for families, it’s inspiring to see how they have become resilient and resourceful by choosing alternative ways and dates to take vacations,” said Lish Kennedy, vice president of brand marketing at Vrbo. “More flexibility in our work and school schedules is allowing families to enjoy a welcome change in their surroundings and a relaxing break together.”

If you missed out on your family’s annual summer trip this year or just want to take advantage of more flexibility in your work and school routines, consider these reasons to take a flexcation.

Save money and avoid crowds. Prices for vacation rentals typically drop during shoulder season, the time period after Labor Day and before the holiday travel season. Families not tied to strict in-person school or work commitments can benefit from fewer crowds and lower prices by choosing later travel dates. For example, you can find drops of at least 20% in average nightly rates for vacation homes in popular destinations like Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Cape May, New Jersey; and Ocean City, Maryland, through October compared to prime summer travel dates.

See familiar places in new ways. Traveling during a different time of year lets you see favorite destinations from a different perspective. It’s a chance to create new family experiences together, like seeing the leaves change colors or visiting the beach when temperatures are milder.

Stay longer. Travel data from Vrbo indicates families want to take longer vacations. With the ability to work remotely or complete online assignments anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi connection, there’s no need to cut a weekend trip short to get back in time for class or punch the clock on Monday morning. If a full week isn’t realistic, you might consider an extra-long weekend, extending your trip from Thursday-Monday instead of the more traditional Friday-Sunday.

Enjoy a change of scenery. According to a study from New York University, people feel happier when they have more variety in their daily routines, such as going to novel places and having a wider array of experiences. After months of sheltering in place, a flexcation may be an ideal way to reestablish a healthy sense of balance.

Before you go, be sure to research how COVID-19 might affect your travel plans, including any travel restrictions, quarantine policies or changes in hours and access to popular attractions in the area. It’s also a good idea to make sure you understand and verify details about your accommodations before you make reservations, such as enhanced cleaning procedures at the property and flexible cancellation policies.

Start planning your next trip at

Photo courtesy of Getty Images