Here are my top tips for planning the best long weekend getaway possible
1. Finalise on a Travel Budget
Before you settle on a destination for your long weekend trip, the first step is to set your budget. Not everyone can afford to spend thousands of dollars on each and every trip they take, so setting a rough budget before you do any other planning can help shape your getaway into something you’re financially comfortable with When planning out your budget, you’ll want to consider the cost of things like transportation, accommodations, activities/sightseeing, and food.
And while a lot of people believe that all travel is expensive, remember that you can absolutely travel closer to the home on a smaller budget.
2. Planning Fly or Drive
Once you have a rough idea of how much you want to spend on your long weekend trip, you can start thinking about where you want to go. And where you want to go will largely depend on whether you’re willing to fly somewhere, or whether you’d prefer to save money and drive. There are pros and cons to both, of course.
Assuming you have a car of your own, driving will usually be your cheapest option and will give you the most flexibility since you’ll be able to stop places along the way and stay wherever you want since you won’t need to rely on public transportation or taxis/Uber to get around. The downside is that you may not be able to travel quite as far, and you may have to factor parking fees into your budget. If you’re willing/able to fly, you can go even further.
3. Factor in Travel Time
My biggest piece of advice is to factor in travel time when considering how long you want your trip to be. If you’re only driving 2 hours away from home, you could easily take just 1 day off work and still fit a lot into your weekend. But if you’re flying somewhere 5 hours away, a 4-day trip probably makes more sense.
I recommend deciding where you want to go and figuring out how long it will take you to get there before asking for time off work. THEN you can start booking your travel.
4. Do some Research Before Went
Once you’ve decided where you want to go and how you’ll get there, it’s time to do a little pre-trip homework. Do some research on things like where to stay and what there is to do in the destination.
When considering where to stay, take into account things like how easy it is to park there if you’re driving, or how walkable it is to other things you want to see/do if you’re flying And when it comes to things to do, I recommend making a list of your must-dos first, and then the things that you’d like to do/see if you have time.
5. Book Hotel & Travel Thing in Advance
While many travelers like to allow for flexibility and spontaneity in their travel plans, the truth is that a long weekend trip isn’t really meant to be super flexible. You don’t really have the time to make decisions on the fly on a trip that may only be 3 or 4 days long.
Because of this, I recommend booking all your accommodation in advance. And I recommend staying in the same place for the whole time since changing hotels every day just eats into your already limited time.
When considering accommodation options, remember that you don’t have to limit yourself to hotels. You can also look into B&Bs/guesthouses, Airbnb rentals, campsites, etc. Where you stay is largely based on where you’re going and what kind of traveler you are, but I do recommend staying as close to the action as possible.
6. Have a Rough Plan for Each Day
Like I mentioned above, a long weekend trip isn’t really meant to be super flexible. So, in order to get the most out of such a short trip, I recommend coming up with a rough plan for each day of your trip. This might be something you outline before you leave home, or it might be something you do on Day 1 of your trip once you get to your destination.
Since you’ve already done your research and have your lists of things you want to do/see, put together a loose itinerary that maximizes your time. To do this, you’ll want to consider things like opening/closing times, and the proximity of sites to one another.
7. Plan Must-do Tours & Activities in Advance
If there’s one specific tour or activity that you 100% know you MUST DO on your long weekend trip, go ahead and book it in advance. Not only will this help you plan your rough itinerary, but you also won’t have to worry about it selling out or being full when you get there.
If you’re headed to Disney or Universal, buy your tickets in advance. If you know you want to do a food tour or see a specific show, book it before you leave. Want to eat at a specific award-winning restaurant? Make reservations. And if you’re going to a major city, look into buying an attraction pass in advance. Then it’s one less thing you have to stress about once you get there.
8. Pack Light
Lastly, you don’t need 17 different outfit choices for a long weekend trip. Pack one outfit per day, along with some comfortable walking shoes. Make sure you’re packing appropriately for your destination, but don’t go overboard.
This is especially important if you’re flying over your long weekend trip. There’s no point in wasting time standing around at baggage claim. Pack carry-on only so you can get on with your getaway as soon as you arrive.