If you missed travel during the pandemic and are keen to start getting out there again, a weekend away is the ideal place to start. Get dreaming about your next weekend getaway, whether it’s with friends, your partner, family, or by yourself. Here’s how to plan the perfect weekend away!
The Joy of a Weekend Getaway
Been at home too long / too much in the past year? Same. Weekends at home are amazing, but not All The Time.
A weekend away provides the opportunity to escape from day-to-day routines and domestic drudgery. It’s a chance to recharge, refocus and reconnect with whoever you’re with (including yourself if you’re having a glorious solo trip).
Why Planning a Weekend Away is Important
Spontaneity is fun and all, but when you’ve only got 2-3 days to play with, planning is everything! If you want to have a great weekend away, you need to plan, and plan well. Once you’ve settled on your destination, have fun researching all the things you might want to do there (as well as the stuff you’re happy to leave out).
Trying to plan the perfect weekend away can be a challenge. You may not know where to go, what to do or how much time and money you should set aside for your trip. Proper planning will help you stay on top of it all and make sure that you get everything you want from your trip.
How to Plan the Perfect Weekend Away
A weekend away is a great opportunity to recharge your batteries, enjoy a mini-adventure and have some quality time. Here’s how to start planning that weekend getaway:
1 Decide What You Want From Your Weekend Away
The “perfect” weekend away will be different for everyone. It obviously depends on what you enjoy doing, where you want to go and the time of year. Take the time to consider what you’d like your trip to look like.
Action-packed or laid-back? Far-flung destination or closer to home? Planes, trains or automobiles? Urban vibe or rural idyll? Getting a good idea of the type of trip you want will help you pick the perfect destination.
2 Set Your Weekend Away Budget
Before you pick your weekend getaway destination, first set your budget. Travel, accommodation, and spending money needs will obviously vary hugely depending on where you go, so deciding on your budget first will help you to narrow down destination ideas.
Bigger budget doesn’t always mean better! If your budget is small, a city break within a few hours drive of where you live can be a really fun weekend away.
3 Choose Your Weekend Away Destination
This could be either the easiest or hardest step, depending on whether there’s somewhere you’re already set on going. If you’re keen to visit a particular city or attraction, then skip straight to the researching and booking stage!
If you don’t have any fixed ideas, then pick a type of break (city / countryside / coast / theme park / etc) and enjoy researching possible destinations. If you’re flying, start by checking out the best deals on flights from your local airport. You can use https://www.kayak.com/explore to see deals from where you live.
Keep in mind, the perfect weekend away is not just about where you are going, but also what you can do when you get there. You might find a great deal on a hotel somewhere but not have anything to do nearby. Get the balance of location and activities right and you’re well on your way to an amazing weekend away.
4 Choose When To Go On a Weekend Getaway
The obvious answer to when to go on a weekend away is when you have the time off work and the money to spend. But remember that not all weekends are equal: weekends during holiday seasons are busier and more expensive than others, some destinations will be a really different experience depending on the season, etc.
If you have the flexibility to travel outside of school holidays and holiday weekends, then take it! Your trip will likely be cheaper and less crowded.
5 Research Your Destination Before You Go
Once you’ve decided where you want to go – and how you’ll get there – it’s time to get researching (my favourite part of planning a trip!)
Do your homework now and it will pay off when you get to your destination. First on your list should be researching the best places to stay (which areas, hotels, apartments etc) and what the transport options are like nearby. Is it walkable? A great deal on a hotel won’t seem so great if it’s not central and you end up having to spend loads of time on public transport or blow a fortune on taxis or Ubers.
Next up should be the sights and activities you want to see and do. Get your must-do items on a list and then add in any extras you’d like to do if you have the time.
You can also start checking out the best restaurants, cafes and bars for your trip. Other things to research might be the parks and beaches, walks, and other free things to do.
6 Book Your Accommodation In Advance
Even if you love to stay as flexible and spontaneous as possible when you travel, the limited time you have on a weekend away means you don’t want to eat into that time finding accommodation when you arrive.
Make your weekend more relaxing by booking your accommodation in advance – and by staying in one place the whole weekend. Moving about will also cut into your fun time!
Depending on where you’re going, you don’t have to stick just to hotels. If you’re going to a rural or coastal location, then holiday cottages, guesthouses, campsites are all good options. And you’ll find Airbnb rentals available in just about every destination.
Booking your accommodation in advance will also usually secure you the best rate.
7 Make a Plan For Each Day
With just a few days to play with, it will really help to make the most of your time if you come up with a rough plan for each day. If you’ve already got your must-do lists of activities, tours, restaurants, attractions etc, then this should be pretty easy. Remember to factor in opening/closing times and travel time in between locations.
If your plans are weather-dependant, then you might want to leave this until the day before you go so you have the most up-to-date forecast.
If you’re planning a laid-back weekend away, then of course you can include things like an afternoon of people-watching at a destination café. It’s your weekend and you’ll know what fits your plans and mood.
8 Book Your Must-Do Activities Before You Go
If there are certain things that you definitely want to do on your trip, then book them in advance! This will help you plan your time, but also avoid any disappointment of getting there to see a Sold Out sign.
Same goes for any restaurants you want to visit. Book a table now so you don’t miss out – and enjoy looking forward to it.
9 What To Pack For a Weekend Away
The best packing rule for a weekend away is pack light! (And I say this as someone who finds it really hard to pack light.) You don’t need 10 different outfit choices or 6 pairs of shoes. Try to pack one weather-flexible outfit per day (layers are your friend!) and comfortable walking shoes.
My recommendations for weekend packing are:
- A lightweight suitcase or holdall
- Packing cubes – they make it so easy to organise your luggage!
- Your favourite walking shoes
- One outfit per day (with layers for temperature changes)
- Nightwear and underwear
- A lightweight day-bag – preferably a backpack to avoid sore shoulders
- Lightweight rain jacket
- Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for hot weather
- Hat, scarf and gloves for cold weather
- Travel-sized toiletries and basic makeup items
- Universal plug adaptor
- Portable battery pack for phone
- Book or kindle
- Wallet / cash / passport / tickets
- Guidebook / map / notes about your destination
Hope you have fun planning your perfect weekend getaway!