5 min read

6 Tips for Planning a Perfect Weekend Getaway

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lovedarbie-perfect-getaway

Sometimes we all need a little “Eat Pray Love” and there’s nothing better than a weekend away from home to rejuvenate our spirits.

Start Local

Taking a vacation doesn’t always have to mean hopping on a flight and jetting across the world. I’m a big believer in stay-cations and close-cations. Fine with staying in your city? Get a hotel or rent a house in a completely different part of your city and commit to not doing anything that’s part of your regular weekend routine. Experience your area with a new lens.

Alternatively is the “close-cation”. Road trip or take a train to a neighboring city (or country if you live by a border). I’m especially fond of the “taking the train” route. Currently planning a train ride where I turn my phone off and use the entire ride to write, read, and reflect. Living in Seattle, Washington has made close-cations feel like the ultimate vacation. From Vancouver, Canada two hours north, Portland two hours south, and the entire rest of the state of Washington full of mountains and cabins that are just calling my name.

Road trip or take a train to a neighboring city

Become a Flight Deal Pro

I’m always about saving money. Living the life you’ve imagined doesn’t have to be expensive (repeat this mantra 10x and don’t buy the $5 latte today). There are tons of blogs about finding flight deals, it’s the in thing right now. Sometimes finding flight deals take work, but for the most part it just requires a lot of flexibility. And it’s always worth it – ask me about my $150 ticket to Anchorage, Alaska, $200 ticket to Auckland, New Zealand, and $300 ticket to Abu Dhabi. My exclusive tips are:

  • I get tweet notifications from @airfarewatchdog and @theflightdeal – annoying but worth it.
  • I purposely join online groups that are specifically for people who like to travel
  • I use the Hopper app and set watch notifications – Hopper watches flights you’re interested in booking and lets you know if the fare has gone down
  • I got to know ITA Matrix and made it my best friend
  • I always send flight deals to friends who travel often, and they’ll likely return the favor (literally calls in the middle of the night to book a $200 international ticket are always appreciated)
  • I got over my fear of booking in advance. Sometimes booking a plane ticket 9 months in advance might seem daunting, but if there’s a steal of a deal, I can always figure out your schedule around it.

Pro tip: Don’t make flight deals complicated. They’re really useful when you don’t need specific dates or even a specific location. Ex: Let’s say I have a list of possible vacation cities and know I want to travel this summer. I wouldn’t constrain myself to a specific city on specific dates. If a deal fare to Cancun popped up for an August departure, although Cancun hasn’t been top of mind – I would probably book that.

Enlist a Friend

I love group trips and I also love solo travel – but there’s something quite magical about adventuring with a close friend in a different element. As we get older, life hands everyone a bunch of lemons. I’m a firm believer in praying for your friends because sometimes you don’t know what they’re going through. More often than not, there’s a friend who really needs this vacation as well. If you really need your getaway, skip this step and get revived on that solo trip.

Go Airbnb, but you already knew this

Go Airbnb

Airbnb really changed the game – my travel experiences will forever be indebted to them. Getting a home rather than a hotel is often times cheaper and allows you the opportunity to experience a place like a local plus the freedom to relax and rejuvenate. You could wake up and do yoga in your Venice Beach hotel room, or you could downwards dog from an ocean front condo with a balcony. Getting an Airbnb does not have to break the bank, it’s very feasible to spend < $100 a night. This is especially true if you’re vacationing with a friend or two. Ex: I’ll be staying in Belize for $30/night per person (three people) – win! For some unique homes, I love browsing through Airbnb’s Top Picks.

Also, Airbnb is not the only service available – look at HomeAway and VRBO.

Open Yourself to New Experiences

Going away somewhere is one thing, going on a memorable getaway is another. I always strive for the latter. Vacations are the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone. Try those foods that you never thought you would like, ditch the party scene and wake up early for a scuba diving session, go salsa dancing even though you have two left feet. Life is for the living, make every vacation experience unforgettable.

Pack light, travel further

In the spirit of “lightness” I’ll keep this one brief. You never really need to check in your bag for trips shorter than 5 days (I would love to say a week, but I’m not there yet). Challenge yourself to minimizing what you need to bring. The less you have, the more flexible you get into adventures.

Life can be stressful, you deserve a break. I would love to know where you’re headed to for your upcoming trips and getaways.