Many of you that have followed us for the last 18 months will know that much of our travel is done over the weekend or long weekend breaks, hence how we frequently coin the phrase ‘Weekend Getaways’. We really want to focus our attention on the so-called ‘Weekend Traveler’ who has a full-time job during the week but loves to experience the world whenever time permits.
Life as a part-time or weekend traveler as we will refer from now on is very different to someone who is fortunate to be able to travel for a living or nomadically moves around the world. As a weekend traveler, we don’t have the freedom to spend days or weeks in a specific location, rather we have to concentrate on experiencing a location in just a few days or in some cases hours!
BUT….after reading this post we will have shared with you 5 tips that will help you make the most of any weekend getaway that you take. Follow these simple principles and you can have as much fun as someone who spends weeks there.
Spontaneity is such a wonderful concept to follow when you are traveling but when taking a weekend getaways it is imperative that you ‘PLAN’ effectively and efficiently prior to the trip. Ask yourself a series of questions. What do you want to achieve when you are in location x? How are you going to get around the location? Where do you plan on staying while in the area?
Once you have answers to these questions, start planning your trip. Book your flights, book your hotel, book your rental car if this is you desired method of transportation! All of these will allow you to have a solid framework in place prior to traveling and everything else can fit in between.
Establish the type of trip you are taking. Have you visited this spot before? If not, are you interested solely in seeing the main attractions or are more about visiting ‘off the beaten path’ landmarks? Are you taking the trip for a specific reason?
A lot of our weekend getaways tend to be sport related (yes, I am a huge sport follower and love visiting live sporting events) so whenever we plan our trip we likely look to see which sports teams or events are taking place in the region and plan the rest of our trip around that.
Determine exactly how much time you will have in a location and ensure that you ‘MAXIMIZE’ your time while you are there. If you fly out on Friday evening and then return Sunday evening, the likelihood is that you want to do the majority of your exploring on Saturday.
You may be fortunate to have some time on Friday evening but you also want to maximize your time on Sunday prior to flying home. All too often we see people that have a flight on Sunday think they don’t have sufficient time to do anything that day. By all means leave enough time to get to the airport without panicking, but be an early-riser and enjoy the time you have.
I want to emphasize the importance of getting up early when you take a weekend getaway. Let’s be honest, you will have time to sleep and recover when you get home or during weekends you don’t travel anywhere. The earlier you can get out and about, the more time you will have to cherish your experiences.
Taking a weekend getaway is all about ‘FOCUS!’ Focus on achieving everything you want to see and experience in the location. Focus on managing your time effectively. Most importantly though, focus on having fun because as a weekend traveler you have to appreciate your time in a spot is limited.
One thought that I always carry with me though when I travel somewhere for a weekend getaway is that even though I may only be there for a couple of days, I tell myself that we can always return here again if we enjoy it!
Cultural Immersion has become a familiar topic in the travel domain in recent years. Why? Well, the reality is that in order to fully appreciate a destination you have to allow yourself to be immersed in the local culture. You may be asking, how can you do this if you are only visiting for one or two days? The answer is simple, ‘IMMERSE’ yourself the way you want to! Only you can determine what you define as culutral immersion.
Whether this involves sampling a backstreet restaurant for the best local cuisine or simply taking a walk around the city through back alleys, you have the opportunity to decide how you immerse yourself in the location. That is one of the ultimate beauties of traveling, there is no right or wrong way of doing things, it’s all about personal preference.
So you have just taken a trip somewhere for a weekend getaway and then you return home and consider the whirlwind weekend you just experienced! ‘REFLECT’ on the positives but also consider some things you would do differently the next time you take a trip. Would you be better opting for a different hotel location? Did you choice of transportation make it more difficult to see everything on your list of attractions?
Reflection is a great way to achieve more positive outcomes on future trips. As I indicated with my recommendation on immersing yourself in a society, only you can determine the success factors from your trip. Everyone is different and we all have different expectation levels.
So there you have the 5 key words to maximize your next weekend getaway! Plan, Maximize, Focus, Immerse and Reflect are the keys to success in my opinion. I am sure there are other correlations that you could use but in essence, traveling on a weekend getaway can be just as rewarding as a longer trip.
Our love for traveling the world has only increased since we started taking more weekend getaways. Our horizons have broadened as we have realized just how much you can see in a short time. Of course it’s tiring when you take long trips over a couple of days and then return to work on Monday morning but honestly that’s all part of the experience.
As our tagline of our website suggests ‘Explore the world one weekend at a time’ – try it out, you never know just how much you may enjoy it!
What are your top tips to help part-travelers enhance their experience?
Great tips! I don’t do many weekend getaways, but if I ever do I know who to look towards in order to make my travels better 🙂
Cheers Brenden, I think you could likely take these tips to the grander scheme of things in terms of long term travel but for part-time travelers these are even more essential to get the most out of a trip!
Great tips I agree with all of those tips and being present and in the moment when you travel so you really do observe and enjoy that timeframe…this has always been a fine balance for myself always wanting to document the experience with a photograph first before enjoying the moment.
It’s always tough especially when you are in the travel blogging or photography industry to actually enjoy the experience/moment rather than focusing on taking that perfect shot! If you can find the perfect balance between the two, that’s the perfect compromise Noel!
Great tips–we take a lot of weekend trips and agree that these are all so valuable in getting the most out of your time! Planning is so important so you don’t waste time trying to figure out what to do. I think too many people fail to realize how much can be fit into one weekend–this is a great reminder!
Awesome tips – I find planning and reflection are the two most important, and generally the most fun. It’s always more fun for us planning a trip and looking back on the memories than I think the moments themselves can be!!
Good tips Chris, which are totally relevant for however long we travel for – as we are privileged to be able to see other places and immerse ourselves in their culture and atmosphere. Therefore aligning oneself in that way, being prepared and being in the moment are all so important. That said, you only let yourself and Heather sleep/travel 10% of the time?? 🙂
My husband has a full-time job so weekend trips are a big part of our travel style. And you’re right, planning and maximizing the time are key! I always look up the business hours of the places we want to visit and make sure they are actually open on the day we want to go. We’re currently planning a weekend in Tallinn and several attractions are closed on Sunday so we have to work the schedule around that.
Great tips guys! I’m not a very well organized traveller so I need such post to push me a bit in right direction 🙂
For me planning is the most important for a weekend getaway. There’s always so much to do and see and so little time! I don’t have a minute by minute schedule but I like to pick out in advance the important things and the distance they are to each other to make it easier. Great tips guys 🙂
Great post. 🙂 My husband and I tend to do a lot of weekend trips (or mid week trips… sometimes when we can) for concerts. That allows us to focus on a few things that we want to see / do / where we want to eat while we are there. We try not to let ourselves get overwhelmed by all of the things we can’t see. We tend to visit the same places on weekends, simply because they are within driving distance. However, I have recently started considering taking weekend trips where we would need to fly… it’s just a little difficult to think about when the expense is so much more! But I do want to try it out sometime soon! I would also say that I would advise people to mix it up, no matter how much time they have. Seeing only tourist attractions won’t give you a good feel of a city. We try to do a few touristy things, a few off beat things, several different cuisines and time walking around downtown areas and shopping districts. People watching is great there. 🙂 Thanks for sharing! -Alexandra
Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things
Great article! We tend to alternate between weekend getaways and longer trips, so we can definitely relate to your tips. As we are terrible at planning (I know, it’s really bad!) I particularly agree with ‘Focus’ and ‘Immerse’. We love doing themed trips, focusing on things like local food or street art, and I love the line ‘immerse yourself the way you want to’. Great stuff!
Great tips. A little planning can go a long way to help you enjoy your time. I like the idea of focus and immerse-going slow and deep rather than a whirlwind of activity.
As a full time working professional, it’s great to read a post like this amidst all the other posts out there by slow travelers. Unless we’re taking a long vacation, my husband and I are always pushed for time and are always looking for ways to maximize the short time we have. These are great tips – especially the tip about the importance of getting up early. My husband often grumps and complains when I urge rising early, but who has time to lay in bed all morning when you’re already so short on time and there’s so much to see and do!?
definitely to reflect – we always jot down any learnings from trips. love the weekend getaway -and when possible tagging on a friday or monday – it makes it feel like a proper break then! another tip would always be to travel hand luggage only – probably saves an hour of waiting and queuing at airports and the little bag is much easier to drag around than a big one!
Great tips! Too many people plan inefficiently. It’s important to plan out your trip, but don’t overkill yourself to the point that if something happens, you won’t be able to do everything you wanted to do. Unfortunately I don’t do too many small getaways…I like to stick to the long travel plans! 🙂
There’s certainly a few trips I could have planned better. On two separate weekends in Paris I’ve tried and failed to see the Catacombs because of bad planning. That being said, some of the best things that happen when traveling are the unplanned things that take you by surprise.
Love the info graphics by the way – great fun.
Planning is of the utmost importance when travelling for a short time, but it is nice to leave room for unplanned and unexpected pleasures!!
As I mentioned in the post, we all love a little bit of spontaneity but when you are traveling for only a couple of days I really think it’s crucial that you at least have a basic game plan in place! Whatever else happens is just a bonus I think!
The old adage “just to it” springs to mind also. 🙂 People often just put off their plans for that weekend away when really just getting something in the calendar is all you need to do. Once that’s done, you have something to look forward to and the planning stage soon falls into place with the growing anticipation. 🙂
Always follow the philosophy of ‘just do it’ because you never know what is right around the corner! If you wait for the right time well there may never be the right time so just put those dates on your calendar like you say and go for it!! You might just have a great time!
Amazing post Chris! I especially loved the infographs, it really brings everything to a whole new level!
Chris this is so good! I love your “maximize” graph – so bang on. Maximizing sleep on a weekend getaway should definitely not be the focus – sightseeing should!!! Awesome post – sharing!!
Hey Chris, glad to have found you here, great website, I look forward to reading your stuff! I just connected with you on all social media platforms. This was a wonderful article that was well written my friend, thanks for the advice 🙂
Planning of travel is very important part especially when you are with family members. You should plan all the things always in advance like cabs, hotels, food, shopping etc. I really impressed with this post and like to share this link in my personal blog page.
[…] I read a great blog post about 5 Tips to Make The Most of Weekend Getaways. While I really love travelling this post got me thinking about how much comfort I am still […]
These are great tips! I’ll definitely keep these pointers in mind for my next trip!
Thanks so much for your kind comments Kaitlyn! We feel like we are slowly becoming experts in making the most of our weekend getaways. I realize that this type of travel isn’t for everyone but I think we can all relate to this in some way when we travel.