If you’ve been missing traveling this year like I have, you might be busy thinking about how you can travel as much as possible next year. A good way to make the most of your annual leave and spread it out as much as possible is to plan long weekends away. A weekend trip is a great way to see a city, take a short road trip, or relax in the countryside. Here’s how to plan the ultimate weekend break.

Top Tips For Planning A Weekend Break

Decide On A Budget
Before you decide where to go, set your budget. Not everyone can spend a lot of money on their trips, so setting a budget beforehand can help you keep your trip in perspective. When I make my trip budget, we break down by cost of transportation (gas, airplane tickets, etc), accommodation (hotel, campsite, etc.), activities (we do lots of free stuff), sightseeing (museums, tours, etc.), and food (restaurants, purchasing groceries if staying in an Air BnB).

Factor In Travel Time
Factoring in travel time will help you decide how long you want your trip to be. If you’ll be driving two hours away from home, you can easily do that after work on Friday and plan to leave around dinner time on Sunday to spare having to take a day off work. Of course, if you’re planning a 4 or more hour drive or even a short flight, that will probably be more easier if you take a day off work.

Book Accommodation In Advance
A lot of travelers like to leave room in their plans for some flexibility and spontaneity, but with a weekend trip, there’s a little less wiggle room. You don’t have time to make decisions on the fly when your trip is only three or four days long.

Book your accommodations in advance. It’s also a good idea to stay in the same place for the whole time, as changing hotels will eat into your time when you’re already limited.

When thinking about your accommodation options, remember that you don’t have to limit yourself to staying in a hotel. You could also look at bed & breakfasts or guesthouses, AirBnB rentals, campsites, or take a camper van. Where you choose to stay will depend on where you’re going and what kind of traveler you are. For a weekend trip, try to stay to close to the attractions you’re visiting, whether that’s the city center or the beach to reduce travel time.

How far in advance you book will depend on where and when you’re going, but typically the best rates can be found a least a few weeks in advance.

Pack Light
You don’t need lots of different outfit choices for a long weekend trip. Pack one outfit per day and comfortable shoes. Pack for the destination, the culture, and the weather forecast but keep it light.

This is especially important if you’re flying. Don’t waste time waiting at baggage claim. Pack a carry-on only, so you can get straight to exploring. On your last day, if you have to check out of the hotel early, stash your suitcase in luggage storage, so you can have more time to explore without dragging your stuff behind you.

What travels are planning next year when COVID is less of a concern?