No one is going to deny that it has been a tough year, so if you’ve saved some pocket change, you have earned a trip when it’s clear that it’s safe to do so. Not only will it be a good way to relax and get back into a familiar routine, but you are also helping local businesses bounce back by staying at hotels, eating at restaurants, and visiting attractions.

It should certainly be noted that many of these destinations depend on just what kind of travel restrictions are in place. After all, it’s not much of a weekend trip if you have to quarantine for two weeks before and after. While that might mean you’re at the mercy of when certain rules for certain places change, it also means you can enjoy the thrill of booking a last-minute vacation when you need it the most.

Down to London 

It may not be the most original choice, but spending 2020 avoiding as many people as possible might just make you thirsty for getting back into the thick of it. A long drive might be the safest way south, but if you trust the protocols put in place by the airline industry, you could get down there in ninety minutes. The city would love to see you, rolling out the red carpet for any visitor during this and at least being slightly warmer than central Scotland.

Coming out of an autumn lockdown and the beginning of nationwide vaccinations means there is a palpable sense of relief in the air, and there is something exciting about being in a large, global city when a turn for the better is occurring. It’s something you will always remember: 

Being in London when a health official might escort you to a safe spot in a restaurant that got great reviews. 

However, because some people are sensibly wary of travelling this season, it might be a good chance to experience world-class museums and art galleries with reduced attendance and fewer crowds. Anything that seemed too busy or expensive when you thought about visiting this city might be much easier to do now, so take advantage before everything gets back to normal.

Southern Spain

If you are absolutely desperate to get some sun and fun in that order, zipping down to Malaga on a Friday evening is never a bad idea. Since travelling these days is already more of an adventure no matter where you’re going, you can expect much emptier beaches, and maybe even some fancier shops and restaurants lowering their prices just to get any sort of business coming their way.

Of course, just spending time on the beach will be absolutely wonderful in the winter months, and even if the Mediterranean is a bit too cool for your liking, the hotel pool will certainly suffice. What you are looking for a trip like this is not much at all, just some better weather and warm sun, and a comfortable lounger to absorb both (although the odd sangria and paella dish wouldn’t hurt).

If you do want a touch of culture, then the city of Granada is only an hour’s drive away. There you’ll find the exotic and captivating Alhambra, a fortress/palace whose earliest construction began over a millennia ago. Its history is just as exciting as walking through its gardens and architectural wonders today. The fact that it’s not the first thing you imagine visiting when going to the beach is why it would be a wonderful and rewarding surprise if you make it an afternoon side trip.

The ‘Exotic’ Edinburgh

While you might be loath to admit it, there is plenty to see and do in Edinburgh, and it’s only a hop, skip and a jump away. Even if you can’t do a long weekend, one night the capital can do a world of good. For the year we’ve just had, even a bit of a scenery change can go a long way, so perhaps the historic neighbourhood of Old Town will seem doubly impressive because you’ve seen a bit too much of Paisley all year. At the same time, Edinburgh Castle is always worth a visit even if it’s for the second or third time.

Since Glasgow is almost certainly going to be the go-to city for a night out for the citizens of Paisley, that just means that the restaurants and bars in Edinburgh will have a slightly more unfamiliar lustre. City walking tours can range from haunting tales of murder and decent in the evening to family-friendly ones that focus on Harry Potter since JK Rowling wrote much of the series in Edinburgh.

The Darkness of Iceland

If you thought Paisley could use a bit more sun in January and February, why not voyage to a place that gets even less light? It’ll make you appreciate what the rays you’ll get when you return. Although that’s not to say that going to Iceland is just waiting in your hotel room to come back. Even under constantly dark skies (because of its proximity to the Arctic Circle) there is plenty to do. The Aurora Borealis is a wonderful sight, and excursions to Blue Lagoon hot springs just outside of Reykjavik will keep you nice and warm even in the subzero temperature.

 Even in this slightly changed time of tourism, there are still some festivals that are worth visiting in Iceland during the winter months, focusing on outdoor markets and film and music. You’ll also find that the people are quite friendly and approachable, even during challenging times such as these. Considering tourism is usually down during this time of year, you might find yourself getting some attention all of a sudden. For two or three days, Iceland can be a great place to visit if you are okay with the cold.