Happy long weekend! This year the Fourth of July falls on just the right day for a long weekend trip. Four days gives you the perfect amount of time for a quick international trip and you only need to use one vacation day (or none if you’re lucky enough to get Monday off too!).

There are three things to consider when planning your trip. First, time zones. It’s easier to travel north or south where the time change an hour or less. You could fly direct to Europe but for me the time change is killer when you’re only there a couple of nights.

The second is travel time. I find five hours is a good maximum time travel distance. It’s about the same time as a taking weekend bus ride between NYC and Boston or DC.

The last is how easy it is to get there. If you’re only going for a short period of time you don’t want to waste time with layovers and transfers. Here are three perfect International Getaways all with direct flights from NYC.


1. Panama City, Panama

Not to be confused with Panama City, Florida this is a great getaway city. Although it’s not so much famous for its beaches you can still spend plenty of time on the water eating, wandering and shopping. Wander through Casco Viejo (Old City), shop the luxury stores among the high rises, head to the park and try and spot a sloth or go see some ruins. Or just spend your time eating, drinking and relaxing. If you have a few extra days and are in need of a beach I highly recommend getting out of the city and spending a night or two on the San Blas Islands.

SEE ALSO: A Guide to Panama City

SEE ALSO: How to Spend the Night on the San Blas Islands

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Mexico City, Mexico

Whenever people mention Mexico your first thought is probably a beach resort in Cancun or Tulum. But Mexico is a big country and a lot of it isn’t on the coast. Next on my personal list for a long weekend getaway is Mexico City. An artists’ and designers’ paradise, it is a mix of old and new famous for its fashion, food and especially design. Visit the ancient ruins outside the city one day and then go on a tour of the city’s amazing modern architecture the next. End the night at one of their internationally renowned restaurants.

Exploring the Street Art of Getsemani: Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

One of my favorite places if you can stand the heat. Eat lots of fish and seafood, spend a day or two on the beach, shop for local artisan goods, eat lots of street fruit and wander the beautiful streets of Getsemaní. End the day wandering on top of the walls of the Old City looking over the sunset. If you are visiting during the summer I highly recommend booking a hotel with a pool so you can cool down in the midday heat.

SEE ALSO: A City Guide to Cartagena, Colombia

SEE ALSO: Exploring the Street Art of Getsemaní, Cartagena, Colombia