It’s a new year and ‘travel more’ is a goal for many of us. But is it doable? A lot of people think traveling for pleasure means taking a long vacation and going all out to make it an unforgettable experience. While that’s great, taking coordinating time off work to spend a week or two somewhere exotic isn’t doable. It can take too much time, money, and planning to pull that off; especially to do it every year. Thing is, that’s not the only way to vacation…
The Weekend Warrior Philosophy
So here’s the idea – instead of trying to do a big complicated vacation, why not a few weekends trips that are much more doable?
You may not be exploring a different continent or be sitting back on an island, but with just a bit of looking you can find several great mini-vacations that can be done with relatively little money and time off work. You would be surprised what can be done in a weekend. Want something a little more? Make it a three or four day weekend.
The weekend warrior idea is wonderfully simple, but what’s actually possible? And how do we find good locations?
Planning a Weekend Getaway
For me, weekend getaways should have minimal planning. I stay flexible with everything and keep all options on the table. Since they are short trips and the goal is to do a few, there is no emphasis on making it the trip of a lifetime. The goal is simply to get away and enjoy myself, and I can have fun anywhere for a weekend so location is open to wherever I can get to. That can be a short flight if the budget allows, but often can just be exploring new areas around me. Remember that you don’t need to go far to enjoy a weekend away.
Sometimes less is more
When it comes to activities I keep things loose. There is not much time to fill anyway, so instead of setting a rigid schedule which I never recommend. I instead plan one must do item per day so something is planned when I get there, but the timing is still flexible. Then I have a list of “would love to do” and “if I have time” locations and activities to reference during the trip so I have pre-vetted ideas and simply choose whichever I feel like in the moment. This way I have flexibility in what to do (and when) while avoiding the Netflix ‘what to watch’ trap; spending the entire trip debating what to do in the moment.
Tip: For spontaneous trips always bring dice. If you are indecisive or need a tie breaker, assign each option a number and roll the dice like you’re in Vegas!
Tools to Use
There are a countless travel search options online, but I find these two the most useful when looking at weekend trips.
Wanderu is a travel search engine that focuses on bus and train lines. If you are looking for ground transportation to somewhere in the region, this is the site for you.
With limited time, flying is the clear answer for further destinations. Google Flights is my favorite tool for searching airfare. It’s fast, easy to compare different airports, and best of all, it lets you add how many bags to get the total cost of flights from all the different carriers – fees included. It also has an Explore option which is your new secret weapon for finding far off destinations you can actually afford to visit.
Enter your local airport, set how long of a trip to search for (weekend in our case) and what time of year to go. It then brings back results of the best fares to destinations across the country. Filter by non-stop flights or early arrives to maximize the time you have away and see what options are available. To use it, just search for a flight without adding a destination.
Proof of Concept
To show off some real examples, I’m aiming to do a weekend trip every month. The results will be posted in blog posts here under the Weekend Warrior. To kick off 2020 the first trip will be a marathon trip hiking in Phoenix using up just about every hour in the weekend. Highlights of the trip will be on my instagram (monti.travels) so be sure to give it a follow.
Have ideas for a weekend getaway or experiences of your own? Share them with me in the comments below!