Got weekend travel plans? Well, we’ve got travel tips that ensure you make the most of your weekend getaway! Making use of three-day weekends, quick trips or long weekends are some of the best ways to travel more while juggling a full-time job. Let’s face it, we all feel ‘vacation-deprived’, so let’s make sure you maximise your vacation time as much as possible with these expert travel tips.
You’ve heard us say it before, we want to help YOU travel more. One of our travel hacks to do that is to maximise your statutory holidays throughout the year. By planning a few long weekend getaways into a year, you can use up 1 or 2 vacation days at a time. With more and more travellers realizing the benefits of weekend travel, it’s becoming a popular way to tick off more spots on your bucket-list.
#1: Choose a Destination Nearby
If you’re going on a weekend trip, I would choose a destination that requires less travel time, preferably with direct flights that are within three hours flying time. By limiting the transportation time, you maximise time at your final destination. And don’t forget to factor in timezone changes which could result in you losing or gaining additional time to travel.
For Edmonton and Calgary, weekend travel ideas within three hours flying time include:
- Kelowna (1.5 hour)
- Vancouver (1.5 hours)
- Victoria (1.5 hours)
- Seattle (2 hours)
- Portland (Calgary direct flight, 2 hours)
- San Francisco (2.5 to 3 hours)
- Las Vegas (3 hours)
Plus, all he above destinations are an hour behind us, so we gain an extra hour at our destination! Win-win!
#2: Fly Direct, When Possible
Although non-direct flights can be cheaper, you’ll have to weigh up whether the money you save is worth the time you could be spending on the vacation. Time is of the essence on quick trips and it makes sense to splurge a few extra dollars on direct flights.
Tip: When searching for flights, make sure to turn on the ‘direct flights’ filter to make sure you’re looking at the right options. I use Google flights or Momondo, both of which have the option to filter accordingly.
Direct flights also prevent the possibility of missed connections, which on quick trips can be invaluable. We have been stuck at airports, having missed connections due to weather and timing issues only to arrive at our final destination the day before we were set to leave.
#3: Don’t Check Your Luggage
By packing a carry-on, you not only avoid baggage fees for checked luggage, but you also avoid waiting for luggage once you arrive at your destination. For quick trips in warmer climates, it’s fairly easy to pack light. For colder climates, consider layering on the flight so you don’t have to pack as much in the bag itself.
Tip: If you’re really struggling to pack light, choose your ‘travel outfit’ and wear the same outfit on both flights.
#4: Book a Hotel near the action
Location, location, location. It’s almost always my primary factor when booking hotels, but even more so on short trips. by booking close to all the main sights, restaurants and activities, you don’t waste time or money travelling to each spot. That means, most of the time, it will make sense to stay downtown in major cities. This is especially important in cities with major traffic that can take up hours of your time.
Tip: If you’re booking last minute and hotels are expensive, try Hotwire. You can filter according to area and although you don’t know for sure which hotel you will get, you usually save money!
#5: Two Nights Minimum
I usually find it difficult to justify flights somewhere unless we have a minimum two-night stay and two full days of sightseeing. Make sure you get two nights wherever you stay. It is ideal to wake up fresh and have an entire Saturday and Saturday evening to look forward to!
#6: But if you can… Extend your weekend getaway.
Two-day getaways are great, but if you can manage to add an extra day, even on long weekends, you’ll likely save on flight prices too. A good idea is to plan your vacation days ahead of time by looking for long weekends and trying to schedule a day off before or after. That way, can assemble a 4-day weekend. This will give you additional two days to sightsee and enjoy your destination.
#7: Plan Ahead
Optimize your time by doing your research ahead of time and making an itinerary. You don’t necessarily have to stick to it, but it’s helpful to have a guideline of things you want to do. Use my template below to make a running list of places you want to visit. Prioritize tours, museums, and historical sites that have specific hours when they are open, then fill the rest of your time with restaurant reservations and other activities.
#8: Apps to Make Planning Easier
Use the TripAdvisor app to “Save” all of the places you want to visit. Use the map of your saves to create an efficient itinerary of places that are near each other, or pull it out when you’re exploring in-destination to see what’s nearby!