48 hours. That’s all you get for a typical weekend getaway. How do you make the most of every minute?
We asked professional travel bloggers for advice on planning short trips that are long on restorative value. The consensus is to take at least two days, and plan ahead, but be flexible. Just don’t forgo the opportunity!
- Choose a destination that suits your needs
Location, location, location! Do a bit of research and have a general idea of things you want to see, places you would like to spend time, ideas for nights out…and pick your base accordingly! There is nothing worse than traveling to somewhere you’ve always wanted to see with a limited amount of time available then spending half your time and money on busses or taxis.
–Tom Widdows, My Travel Mission
Choose your destination and a getaway that requires less travel. The getaway could include a Stay Vacation and explore your locality. If you plan an overseas trip, choose a location that is within three hours flying time.
–Jane Dempster-Smith, To Travel Too
If you are flying, make sure that you take a direct flight! I have been stuck at airport hotels, having missed connections due to timing issues and I was only going away for a weekend!
-Susan Schwartz, Best Bits Worldwide
- Save the date
Make sure you get two nights wherever you stay. It is ideal to wake up fresh and have an entire Saturday and Saturday evening to look forward to!
-Kelsey Banfield, The Naptime Chef
Leave on a Friday afternoon and fly several hours away. Even if it’s just for a weekend, heading to Canada or Mexico or across the US will make you feel like it’s a longer/bigger trip and literally let you get away from it all.
-Eric Stoen, Travel Babbo
- Solo or no?
Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to interact with other solo travellers or even groups of people. Most importantly, enjoy your alone time to do what you want when you want and to reflect on life and clear your thoughts without any interruptions.
-Charlotte Louise, Lulu Escapes
Traveling solo surely has its perks, but the quote “the more, the merrier” always holds true! So go and invite good company like your travel buddy or a few other more and you’re sure to have a great time!
-Aileen Adalid, I Am Aileen
- Plan an itinerary ahead of time…
Weekend getaways are a really great way to do something special and it just takes a little bit of time to research places of interests to maximize your visit. First thing is to make sure that you plan all the important details to include: logistics, booking hotels, restaurants and tours. This will give you a nice basis and then you can decide if you want to wing it for the weekend or keep yourself busy with activities and places to visit.
-Noel Morata, Travel Photo Discovery
Optimize your time by doing your research ahead of time and making an itinerary. Prioritize tours, museums, and historical sites that have specific hours when they are open, then fill the rest of your time with restaurant reservations and other activities.
-Kit Graham, The Kittchen
Make plans ahead on must-see items. Keep a running list of places you want to visit or eat at, so that you have it available when exploring the destination.
-Dee de los Santos, Gastrofork
It can be really hard to decide what activities to do, where to stay and what to eat when you’re limited to just one weekend. Best advice – make sure you do your own research, the more you know the better choice you will have.
-Aimee Bannister, Kinging-It
TripAdvisor tip: Use the TripAdvisor app to “Save” all of the places you want to visit. Use the map of your saves to create an efficient itinerary of places that are near each other, or pull it out when you’re exploring in-destination to see what’s nearby!
- …Or leave it to fate
Go on useful websites such as TripAdvisor or other famous blogs to research in advance the top things to see and do and to find out which are the best local bars and restaurants. But don’t be disappointed if you don’t do all of the things you listed, as the main purpose is to simply enjoy your weekend.
-Charlotte Louise, Lulu Escapes
Plan ahead a few places you want to visit and things to do, but leave some time to roam around and getting lost. Explore a place with your senses, not only through a guidebook.
-Ivana Greslikova, Nomad is Beautiful
Rather than trying to pack a million things to do into your getaway, leave some room for spontaneous decisions. You might find something you really enjoy, and having the time to make the most of it will help make your weekend getaway that much more enjoyable.
-Jarryd Salem, Nomadasaurus
- And be sure to get local recommendations
Research, research, research. Know what you want to do, but stay flexible and ask locals for tips.
-Nat Took, Natpacker
My husband always lives by the adage “never skimp on your bed and food” and that carries over to our travels. Even if you’re traveling for a brief weekend getaway staying in nice accommodations and dining on fresh, local food can really enhance your getaway.
-Beth Blair, The Vacation Gals
You might make a dinner reservation at a restaurant you’re dying to try on the first night, and then get a local’s recommendation for the next. And just remember to go with the flow–nothing ruins a trip faster than high expectations that aren’t met!
-Leah Davis, The Sweetest Stay
I always try to make room for at least one event that is frequented more by locals than other tourists. Maybe it’s a flea market or farmers market, or even a performance like a concert… At these types of events I am more prone to striking up conversations with people and getting a true feel for the local culture.
-Rika Agustini, Posh Journal
- Make the most of your time
Don’t sleep away half the day… If it’s a destination spa, you’ll probably snooze a bit on the massage table (unless it’s just me?) anyway. Get up early, stretch, and appreciate your time away with alert appreciation.
-Jennifer Miner, The Vacation Gals
Sleep when you’re dead. Seriously. If you only have limited time, make the most of it. Be sure to know the opening times of everywhere you want to visit and get there EARLY. Stay late. You know the best time to see Red Square in Moscow? Just after sunrise, it is positively magical. And empty 🙂
-Sarah Carter, A Social Nomad
- Just go!
Take them. Some people don’t even get out there and see what there is in other corners of the world. Plan it out, but leave yourself some time for spontaneity.
-Cacinda Maloney, Points and Travel