Weekend Trip Planning: 8 Great Tips to Pack and Go

Are you ready to take the plunge and embark on your next adventure? Weekend trips can be a great way to explore new places, relax and have fun. Here, we’ll be sharing all the key things you need to consider when starting your weekend trip planning.

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Carlos and I both love to go on weekend getaways and it’s easy for us to do.

For instance, when we’re out on short trips like St Augustine, we always book the Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour because it’s one of the best ways to see the city.

It also includes discounts on museums, which we love.

To start planning our weekend getaways, we first pick out a location from our list of places we want to visit.

Then, we set the budget for the weekend trip. It’s important to estimate costs before you start planning so that you don’t end up overspending.

Therefore, you may want to start your research on things like flights and accommodation prices, as well as food and entertainment costs.

Once you have a good idea of what you can afford, you can start looking further into all your different options.

How to Plan a Weekend Trip on a Budget

The best tip on how to plan a weekend trip on a budget is to be strategic with your planning.

First, plan to start your weekend getaway on a Saturday, returning on Monday, instead of a typical Friday – Sunday trip. As for transport, consider all your options available – from flying or taking the train to driving or taking a bus or ferry.

Consider the cost of each option along with convenience and time factors when making your decision.

There are many different types of accommodation options, from hotels and hostels to camping sites and Airbnb or Vrbo rentals.

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*Results are only estimates and are for informational purposes only. Road trip calculator created by Next Stop Adventures.

Do your research to determine which type of accommodation best suits your needs and budget. Also, make sure that you book well in advance so that you can secure the best deals possible.

Finally, don’t forget about the food! Believe it or not, there is also planning behind what to pack for your trips. Plan out which days you’ll be eating out and pack food for some of your other meals or snacks.

This is very helpful when going on a road trip or even backpacking. Even if it’s for a weekend trip, think carefully about all the essentials you need or want to take.

If you’re flying, make sure that they all fit into your luggage – and keep in mind any restrictions on size or weight.

1. Steps to Plan a Weekend Trip

Assuming you have a few days off from work or taking a limited vacation at minimum, here’s how to plan the perfect weekend getaway:

  1. Choose your destination: Pick a place within driving distance so you don’t have to waste time traveling. If you want to go further afield, consider taking a Friday or Monday off to make the most of your time.
  2. Book accommodation: Once you know where you’re going, it’s time to book a place to stay. Whether it’s a vacation rental, hotel, Airbnb, or camping spot, make sure you reserve your spot in advance.
  3. Create an itinerary: What activities do you want to do while you’re away? Do you want to go kayaking in one of Florida’s springs? Or, maybe you’ll take our advice and experience an incredible wine tour in North Georgia! Make a list of sights to see and things to do so you can make the most of your trip. Don’t forget to leave some free time to explore or just relax!
  4. Pack your bags: This is probably the most important step! Make sure you pack everything you need for your trip, including clothes, toiletries, and any other essentials. If you’re driving, don’t forget to pack snacks and drinks for the journey.
  5. Explore your destination. Take the time to walk around, find local gems, and explore everything that sparks your interest.
next stop adventures couple travel blog 7

2. What to Pack for a Weekend Trip

When packing for a weekend getaway, it is important to pack light and only bring the essentials. A good rule of thumb is to pack items that can be worn more than once.

For example, I like to always pack a pair of black casual shorts because I can wear them with different tops and shoes. White sneakers are a must since they go well with just about anything.

Here are some other items to consider packing:

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Hat or sunglasses
  • Comfortable walking shoes or sandals
  • A few easy-to-wear layers depending on the climate
  • Toiletries
  • First Aid kit
  • Camera!

It is also important to ensure you have all the necessary travel documents and insurance. This includes an ID, passport, and any other required forms of identification.

One of the other things that help us plan our weekend trips is the weather. Checking the weather weeks ahead can give you a close estimate as to what to expect and you can plan around that. Regardless, always have second options ready to go just in case!

3. Planning Your Weekend Trip

When Carlos and I begin planning our weekend trips, the first thing we do is figure out how many activities we want to cover or if there will be anything we want to do that requires extra driving time.

Along with that, we think about what will be the main focus of our trip —are we taking the time to just chill and relax, or are we adventuring?

This is a great way that works for us and we know it could work for you as well.

One thing to keep in mind is, if you plan on doing tours in your destination, try to be more strategic with your planning. Some walking tours usually run for 90 minutes but adventure tours can take up to 3 hours.

self guided walking tour st augustine old houses 1

4. Staying Within Your Budget

One of the main things that work for us when setting the budget is to divide our trip by categories and assign a specific budget to each category.

These categories are usually like:

  1. Travel (flights or approximate expenses on the road)
  2. Accommodations
  3. Museums
  4. Tours
  5. Souvenirs
  6. Restaurants/Food
  7. Activities

We use separate categories for tours, museums and activities because these require more planning and are each entirely different.

We feel like this is a better way to stay within your budget when traveling because it allows you to move things around more easily in case you want something different once you get to your destination.

5. Choosing Where to Stay

Choosing the perfect accommodation for your weekend trip will depend entirely on the type of trip you want this to be.

This is why for us in particular, we like to talk about the style of our trip in the beginning stages of the planning process (see step 3), thus making it easier when looking to book accommodations for your trip.

If you’re opting for a laid-back trip, chances are you’ll be spending more time in your room.

Therefore, it would be best to choose a nice hotel with all the amenities or a VRBO vacation rental perfectly located within walking distance of your destination’s main attractions.

On the other hand, if you’re opting for an adventure getaway with hikes and tours, you’ll most likely get back to your room late at night and leave early in the morning due to your packed itinerary.

In this case, you might be better off booking a comfortable and affordable stay.

hotel provincial New Orleans
Hotel Provincial, New Orleans

RECOMMENDED: Elevate your outdoor travel experience by staying at a cabin for the weekend or booking a vacation rental.

6. Making Reservations

For us, the first thing we look for before starting the booking process is making sure that the bathroom is a decent size. If this isn’t the case, then we will look for accessible rooms.

Before you make any room reservations, try to decide on a specific feature that you need in the room to start narrowing down your search. Whether it’s a big bathroom, cotton linens, city views, breakfast included etc.

Then, start comparing the options based on what you’re looking for and what fits your budget.

Also, pay attention to the reviews. This is something that Carlos is always serious about. He’s taught me how to pay attention to the reviews, which honestly, I didn’t think much about before.

Make sure to read both the good and the bad reviews so you can get an accurate idea of what to expect. In addition to this, don’t forget to look at the cancellation policy before booking anything.

Some places have very strict policies that could end up costing you more money if you have to cancel at the last minute.

Once you’ve found somewhere that looks promising, it’s time to book your reservation. If everything looks good and there are no red flags, go ahead and book your room!

7. Transportation Options

Many transportation options are available for your weekend getaway, and your choice will depend on your type of trip. Depending on your destination, you may be able to drive, take a bus, or fly.

As for us, we prefer driving. Road trips are very exciting and they’re always at the top of our list. If we’re doing a weekend trip to Georgia, South Carolina, and even New Orleans, we prefer to hit the road!

If you’re driving to your destination, map out your route and plan for rest stops. You’ll also want to make sure your vehicle is in good condition before setting out.

If you’re taking a bus, check the schedule in advance and be sure to arrive at the station early. When flying, be sure to book your tickets as far in advance as possible to get the best deals.

No matter what mode of transportation you choose, be sure to plan ahead and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

weekend trip adventures

8. Safety Considerations For Your Weekend Trip Planning

Yes, before you set out on your next adventure, you need to think about your safety. If you’re going solo or venturing into remote areas, let a family member or a friend know where you’re going.

If you’re going to do some hiking on your trip, let them know the trail names and the estimated time it will take you to get back. This is important because most trails don’t have cell reception, so it’s a great idea to inform someone of your plans.

Secondly, make sure you’re familiar with the area and have a good physical map with you apart from your GPS device. Knowing where you are and where you’re going is key to staying safe, especially if you’re planning to be out in the wilderness.

Finally, always be prepared for the worst by bringing along essential supplies like food, water, shelter, and a first-aid kit.

Final Thoughts

A successful weekend trip requires careful planning and preparation. From packing the right items to choosing an appropriate destination, there are many factors to consider when organizing a weekend getaway.

But it is possible! Most of our travel is based on weekend trips since both Carlos and I have full-time jobs.

But ultimately, these tips should help you make sure that your next adventure is one that you will never forget.

So start researching destinations, making lists of what you need, and booking tours and accommodations – it’s time for a weekend trip!


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weekend trip planning guide
Yanitza Ninett
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Yanitza is an avid adventurer with 15+ years of hiking experience and outdoor travel. As a PADI-certified scuba diver, she's also passionate about ocean conservation. When she's not exploring the great outdoors, Yanitza obsesses over The Vampire Diaries and dreams of traveling to Mallorca, Spain.

7 thoughts on “Weekend Trip Planning: 8 Great Tips to Pack and Go”

  1. I am a big fan of making reservations. I have multiple experiences where I didn’t make a reservation for a hotel I wanted to stay at or an activity I wanted to do and missed out. I have learned from my mistakes and book in advance these days.

    Reply
  2. This is such a helpful guide! I am planning some weekend trips in the next few months so will definitely be using some of these tips. Transport is something I always seem to forget to look into before I go somewhere.

    Reply
  3. This is a great post! I go on weekend trips often, and I guess I’ve never thought much about all the planning that goes into them. I feel like I’m on autopilot now, haha, but this is such a thorough guide and are all great items to think through. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  4. I think consider the tone of a getaway is so important! Sometimes we try and cram far too many different holidays into one and it ends up feeling chaotic. Sometimes you just want to chill, others you want to explore every corner! Great advice.

    Reply

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