Planning for a Stress-Free Weekend Getaway
Weekend Getaway=Small Vacation
Who doesn’t love a weekend getaway? A chance to escape from the daily routine and see some new sites, eat tasty food, and go on an adventure with your special someone (or solo, no shame here).
There is nothing wrong with being spontaneous with your trips. That just isn’t my style. (big surprise huh?) 😉 We aren’t able to “get away” very often so when we can slip away, I like to have an idea of the layout of the land. I also like to know the top attractions in the area and the best food, of course.
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For a great weekend getaway check out my post about how to experience Memphis on a budget!
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The first step to planning a weekend getaway is deciding the reason for the getaway. Do I want a relaxing weekend away from all responsibilities? Do I want to explore new bike trails and get some good exercise in? Will there be eating out or cooking in or both? Once the reason is determined then I move on to choosing the destination.
The next step is to choose the destination. This will mainly depend on the amount of time that I have to spend there. If I have one weekend then I will choose a destination that is only a few hours away so that I don’t spend precious time driving.
Once I pick the destination, I create a folder in my Google Drive. I have a folder titled, “Short Trips” for our weekend getaways. Inside the “Short Trips” folder I have a few different Google Docs with various trip options. Who knows when the “getaway” urge will arise. 😉
The Google Docs are filled with hotel information, restaurants, things to do, places to shop, and more! I also like adding contact information/addresses for the hotel and stores I want to visit.
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TripAdvisor has a wealth of information on destinations all around the world or right down the road. My favorite way to search TA is to type my destination in the “destination” search box and click “overview”. This allows me to find accommodations, things to do, restaurants, and advice from locals.
Copy and Paste is Your Friend
That sounds very basic, but copying and pasting information into my Google Doc is the quickest way to save information for my getaway. If I read a great review about a hotel then I copy/paste all of the info into my Google Doc to read later. If a restaurant catches my attention then I copy/paste it. You get the idea.
What’s Going On
When I figure out the dates for the getaway then I research if there will be any large events or sporting events going on in the area at that time. Hotel rates will usually sky-rocket if there is a tournament, game, or festival in town.
Cities usually have websites with a calendar of events. That is always my first place to look for my information. If there isn’t a big event (or one that will increase my hotel rate) then I move on to my next step.
Most cities have a website where you can request a map or guide to be sent through the mail. Technology is great, but it is so helpful to have a paper map with the local sites. Sometimes the Google Maps aren’t as up-to-date as they should be.
Many websites can be used to choose hotels. Here are a few that you can use:
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I figure out what I want us to be in close proximity to and then start reading reviews. Complimentary breakfasts, soft beds, clean facilities, and proximity to restaurants/bike trails/etc. are some of the qualities that I look for in hotels. Once I find the perfect hotel, I can move on to the next step of finding things to do and places to eat. 🙂
What to do/Where to Eat
I find information about things to do and places to eat on TripAdvisor. The overview is used for my destination, and I go from there. I begin researching and collecting information in my destination Google Doc. I’m the worst about reading hundreds of reviews. When you budget like we do, you want to get the most out of your money.
Now it’s time to start building my itinerary (my favorite part). Itineraries are mostly flexible, but it gives me an idea of how our time will be spent. I like breaking down our days into the various areas that we will be in so that we utilize our time efficiently.
A weekend getaway itinerary doesn’t take long to create because it usually only covers 2-3 days. I also add my list of top restaurants/stores/attractions to visit while we are in certain areas.
Now that I have the destination chosen, hotel picked, and a rough idea of restaurants/activities, I can start a trip budget. Keep in mind that I haven’t booked anything at this point in my planning process. Weekend getaways are different from vacations because I don’t plan them as far in advance.
Normally, weekend getaways are charged to a credit card and then the amount is taken out of our “trip savings account” when we return from the trip. This has worked well in the past. That is why I always suggest having a separate savings account for vacations/getaways. I like to add up all of the expenses for the weekend so that I know how much will be coming out of our “trip savings account”. No surprises here. 🙂
One of my favorite things to do is find all of the fun “free” things to do in a city. The local parks and museums are usually free or very cheap. If there are any trails or cool hangouts then definitely check those out. Not everything has to cost an arm and a leg to be fun!
This is the main difference in vacation planning and getaway planning. I try to wait until the last-minute with booking getaways. The main reason is because of weather and the possibility of changing my mind (duty calls). If there aren’t any big events going on then it shouldn’t be a problem waiting until the week that you are wanting to leave.If something comes up that I need to do instead of go out-of-town, I like knowing that I won’t be losing money.
What to Pack
Here are my staples for a weekend trip:
Levi’s olive-green boyfriend pants (Goodwill)
Levi’s dark skinny jeans (end of season clearance)
white v-neck tee-shirt (Walmart clearance)
gray long sleeve thermal shirt (Walmart clearance)
Forever 21 denim vest (Goodwill)
navy/gray Banana Republic cardigan (Goodwill)
khaki cargo jacket (Goodwill)
Nike cycling capris (Goodwill)
Under Armor compression pants (hand-me-down)
active wear tops (Walmart clearance)
Nike tennis shoes
taupe ankle boots (thrifted)
brown chukka boots (Dillard’s New Year’s Day Sale)
Are you seeing a pattern here? Catch my upcoming post about clothes shopping on a budget. 😉 I love packing clothes that I can mix and match. I also love to layer my clothes in case the weather takes a turn.
Now Get Going!
This is the fun part. . .enjoy the getaway. Relax, eat, adventure, and do whatever the heart desires in a fun, new environment! Now if you are looking to plan a longer trip then check out my post Planning a Vacation on a Budget.
What are some of the best weekend getaways that you have been on? Did you plan for them, or were they spontaneous? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂