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How to Plan a Weekend Getaway the Right Way

Last Updated on November 7, 2021

Learn how to plan an amazing weekend getaway in 10 simple steps!

Being individuals who both work full time, we’ve learned how to maximize our weekends for travel because vacation and free time can be scarce. 

Now, anytime we go on weekend trips our family and friend compliment how much we’re able to do and see SO MUCH in just two or three days. And we want to share with you how we do this!  

It’s been a Wednesday night when we’ve decided that we’re going to do a weekend getaway that coming weekend. And we made it happen. How? Well, this post is going to tell help you to plan a weekend getaway in no time! 

For us, spontaneously planning a weekend trip didn’t start out smoothly at first. We’ve planned, executed, made mistakes, and made the most of our weekend getaways. And now we think we’ve mastered how to plan a weekend trip. That’s why we’ve created this guide for planning your perfect weekend trip. Don’t forget to get your weekend getaway planner guide here so you can follow along! 

So, how do we plan our weekend trips?  Let’s get to it. 

10 Tips and Steps to Planning the Perfect Weekend Trip

Over the past three years of travel blogging and traveling in between school and work, we had plenty of successful weekend trips. Here are some of the favorites that we’ve written about.

Here are some of our most successful weekend getaways!

How to plan a weekend trip in no time

1. Think about what kind of trip you want

If you didn’t download your weekend getaway planner guide get it now!

If you decided to plan a weekend getaway, there must have been a reason right? Are you looking to get off the grid so you can forget about your job for two days, or are you looking to visit that one city you’ve always wanted to go to?

TIP: If you need help getting the creative juices flowing during planning, check out some of these awesome travel quotes to inspire wanderlust!

When planning a weekend trip, think about what kind of trip you’re looking for. This will help you narrow down selecting a destination and get the creativity flowing. Once you know what kind of trip you’re hoping for, start looking for destinations, whether it’s cities, small towns, or outdoor locations.

Hopefully, now you know what kind of trip you want, we can come up with a list of destinations on your weekend getaway planner guide.

2. Don’t know where to go? Get on Googling

Here is one strategy that we’ve implemented when looking for weekend getaways. We almost always drive, so we look for cities and towns that are within a four-hour driving distance of home. Browse Google Maps for cities, parks, towns, and destinations that could be realistically visited in one weekend. See what sparks your interest and jot them down on our brainstorm list.

3. Pick a realistic destination

Now that you have a list of potential destinations, let’s get to select one! Stay on Google and browse the destination for inspiration to help make a decision!

Pro Tip: We usually base our destination decisions around if there is something specific we want to visit or if there is some kind of event we want to attend. We have actually planned a lot of our weekend getaways around sporting events we want to attend, such as going to a Columbus Blue Jackets game and making a weekend Columbus trip out of it. Or when we visited Cleveland, we went there knowing we wanted to tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Think about if there are any sights, activities, or destinations like that near you!

4. Browse the Local Travel Guides for Inspiration to Learn about Your Destinations

Now that you have selected a destination, this is where you get to start planning your weekend trip. In the next section of your weekend getaway planner guide, start browsing the internet for things to do. We usually start with the Google Travel Guide recommendations if there are any, and then we move onto Pinterest and travel blogs for inspiration. Here are some of the categories of things we look for when trying to find things to do on our weekend trips.

  • Look for local foods and local recommended restaurants
  • Browse tourism boards for local events
  • See if there are any National or State Parks nearby
  • Brose landmarks and sightseeing (we always check for boat tours!)
  • Look on Groupon for deals and unique events and activities
  • Find museums

Search keywords like:

  • Unique things to do in XXX
  • Must-try restaurants/foods in XXX
  • Sightseeing in XXXX
  • Museums in XXXX
  • Local’s guide to XXX

Don’t forget to check out activity booking services like Get Your Guide and Groupon for great deals on local activities, tours, and museums! In the past, these sites have helped us discover off the map activities!

5. Start Building Your Itinerary by Mapping it Our

When planning out your weekend trip itinerary, it’s important to consider the logistical details of how it’s going to play out. Consider travel time to get to each activity, parking, and how far the different activities are from one another. It doesn’t make sense to add additional travel time to your day, so try to cluster the activities that are located near one another during the same time blocks of your day.

Have Google Maps open for each activity so you can keep track of where everything is, so you can create a logical itinerary!

6. Plan to pack light

Since you’ll only be away for a few days, packing light is going to make your travel much easier! When packing, think about what activities you’ll be doing to narrow down what kind of clothes to bring. The hotel has a pool? Bring a swimsuit. Going hiking? Don’t forget hiking shoes.

Read more about packing in our packing for any trip guide.

7. Consider if your trip will be Friday night to Sunday or Saturday to Sunday

One thing to consider when planning a weekend trip is when you’ll be arriving in your destination. Will you be leaving right after work on Friday to drive there and stay Friday night, or will you drive early Saturday morning. This consideration usually arises if there is something specific you want to do on Friday night in the destination, or if the transit to the destination is going to take a while and cut into your activity time on Saturday.

Don’t forget to download your free weekend trip planner!

Consider if it is more beneficial to leave Friday night or early Saturday to get to your weekend destination. Budget also can help make this decision.

8. Book Certain Events and Activities Ahead of Time

If there is anything that you know for sure you want to visit in at your destination, getting tickets ahead of time is a good idea, especially if a museum or event requires it. Local events will sellout and museums can have timed ticking. Not booking these things early can throw a wrench in your plans. But don’t overbook yourself as we said earlier.

Hotel Booking Tips

When booking a hotel or Airbnb, location can be key. We usually select a hotel or Airbnb based on a few things, especially if we are visiting a city. If you’re visiting a more remote location, these things might not be as much of a priority.

  • Location: Location can be key for weekend trips. Think about where the things are that you’re planning on doing. Do you want to walk everywhere? Drive? Saving money by staying outside of town? Consider all of these factors when picking your hotel or Airbnb for your weekend trip.
  • Included breakfast: when we go on weekend getaways we usually don’t go out for breakfast since we plan so much during the day. So an included breakfast adds more time to our itinerary and lowers the overall cost of our weekend.

When looking at hotels, it’s a good idea to browse multiple websites for the best deals. We personally love bouncing back and forth between Airbnb and Booking for hotels and accommodation deals.


9. Make it an extended weekend away

Anytime we travel, we usually wish we could spend more time in a destination. So if it’s possible, making a weekend trip into an extended weekend trip is always a plus for your planning. Even one more day can add on lots more fun!

10. Be Flexible

The biggest tip for weekend trips that we can offer is to be flexible. If you’re visiting this place for the first time, who knows, something spontaneous might strike you when you get there! Traveling is always going to spark unexpected inspiration so be flexible with your plans if something special comes up.

Where will your next weekend getaway take you?!

We hope this weekend getaway planner guide was able to help you plan your perfect trip! Let us know where you’re going to next in the comments!

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Pam & Kathrine

Hello! We are sisters from southwestern Pennsylvania sharing with you the best of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and beyond!

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