Soooo, I’ve had my fair share of 4-day weekend travel. From quick trips to watch football games at away stadiums, to beaches, to hiking adventures, trips with friends, and whatever comes up! I’m to a point in my life where I try to seize every opportunity for travel there is, short trip or not. In fact, weekend getaways have made it easier for me to go more places each year by taking less time away from work. (Less hit to that PTO balance if you know what I mean). Not to mention there is always the fur babies to look out for, and it can be harder to find someone to take care of them over longer periods of time.
After taking a weekend away earlier this spring to go to Sedona, Arizona, and now today departing for a weekend away in Evergreen, Colorado, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite tips to maximize each adventure.
7 Tips to Maximize Your Weekend Getaway.
1. Start a travel fund.
Often times people ask me how I afford to go places. Most times my answer is as simple as: I make it a priority. Other times I pull the ‘I don’t have any children’ card. But when it really comes down to it, I save. Not just change, which usually cashes in around $350 per year, but also cash! Every week Adam and I put away $20 (each) into literally a ‘cash box’, and typically use that to pay for some part of a getaway. This helps to cut down on those up front charges! I have one of those travel rewards credit cards to help save on dollars too. Everything adds up people! A few years ago I also created a seperate savings account just for extra travel funds. There are so many little ways to start saving big for your next adventure!
Want to really save some big travel cash? Stop eating fast food. Kick your drinking or smoking (bad) habits. Stop yourself from spending on something wasteful, and put it away in a money jar instead. Use that towards your next getaway! REWARDING & fulfilling.
2. Don’t have time? Well make f***ing time.
I get it – you’re busy. Funny thing is, I am too. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said, “ugh I’m too busy”, about whatever in life. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have a lot of shit to do at any given moment. But that’s no excuse. If you need a weekend getaway, then you plan one. Clear your schedule, cancel plans or reschedule them. This is you putting yourself first for once. It’s not selfish, it’s #SelfCare. Don’t just bitch about needing a weekend away, take one. Excuses don’t get you on the path to a new adventure.
Good ideas for a weekend getaways come up last minute too. That’s the beauty of spontaneity! Instead of flying away, this could also mean a weekend away at the cabin, camping somewhere on a lake, or staying the night at a casino to catch a concert and some gambling action.
“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a plane ticket, and that’s basically the same thing.”
3. Look for deals. Use apps to save!
I don’t recommend just booking the first thing you can find once an idea for a weekend getaway pops into your head. You have to check out what deals there might be and sometimes that takes planning well in advance. There are plenty of flight tracking tools to help get the best price, but personally I like to use an app called Hopper. You put in the dates you want to travel wherever, and it will watch all flights and tell you the best time to book. It also helps predict patterns in cost. I like to check out any travel booking apps too, like Kayak, Expedia, etc. If you sign up as a member for Expedia, you earn points every time you book and use those points towards future costs. Plus you typically save an extra percentage on what you are booking due to being a member. Win-win.
4. Do your research.
The best way to maximize a 4-day, or even 2-day weekend away, is to do all of your research ahead of time. Write-that-shit-out. Make lists, bookmark your favorite activities, look at maps to see where things are, how far away they are from where you’re staying, what is the place you are going to known for, etc. The more the better here! Of course, you won’t literally have time to do it all, but at least you would have a full list of what your options are. Then you will know what kinds of things NOT to miss. Plus, you can rank your ideas into groups like ‘must see’, ‘time filler’, ‘best places to eat’, ‘best hiking trails’, ‘best beaches‘, and so on. Knowing the territory I have to work with, has always helped me make the most into each getaway.
If you have a more ‘go with the flow’, or ‘I just want to relax’ kind of attitude, this will still help you too! You will know what is out there and be able to decide if it ultimately matters to you or not. I always think it’s better to be informed … about everything.
5. Pack light, but efficient.
Now I’m talking backpack or less, NO checked luggage if you’re flying. If I need to bring fluids, products, etc., I try to find a travel size of that item to bring instead, or scope out ahead of time where the closest convenience store is. For a weekend getaway, I never check a luggage. I’ve found the best way to pack is to include at least one item from all categories, and then re-wear them while you’re there. This always includes something warm, even if you wouldn’t expect to need it! [We learned our lesson in Sedona this year when it was 85 by day, but the temperatures dropped dramatically each night. We didn’t have enough long sleeves or pants.] Since it’s only a quick getaway, it shouldn’t matter if you have to wear a few things a few times. You’re traveling and that’s how it goes!
P.S. I’ve also learned that rolling your clothes allows more things to fit then if you would just straight fold them up. Don’t ask me why, but it’s really helped to cram a lot of things into a small space! 🙂
6. Release all expectations.
This is huge. If you take nothing else away from this post, please remember this one. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have an open mind when you are traveling, for any length of time at all. (Especially if you are with other people!) If you go into your getaway adventure with specific expectations on how things will go, I promise you that you will be disappointed. Life just doesn’t work that way. Anytime you decide you want something to go a certain way the Universe will decide to pull you in a completely different direction. Keep an open mind. Let the experience happen. Say YES to something random, even if it’s off course or a change from the original plan. This will put less stress on you and those you are traveling with. Ultimately. you will be able to focus more on having a good time and immersing yourself fully wherever you are.
7. Take some time to reflect.
After a quick weekend getaway you may not have additional time to come home and reflect upon your trip, but if I can then I’m all for it. I like to take a ‘buffer day’ after travel so that I can basically digest the experience. I go through my pictures, edit and share some with others, and basically recharge myself. I also like to get my laundry done and unpack (& cuddle my Bengals). It’s nice to have time to share the memory in some creative way like a scrapbook or photo collage. Taking this extra time to reflect helps me realize what I’ve learned from travel, and how I grew from it.
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.
I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list. I fully believe you should travel every chance you get. NOW, not later. I’m not about saving adventures for ‘someday’ or when I’m ‘retired’. The future may just simply never come, and you never know what will happen with your health, your life, or anything. In my opinion the time is always now. It doesn’t have to be a big grand moment each time, but experiencing something new is always worthwhile to me!
Wanderlust: An irresistible desire to travel to understand one’s very existence.
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