Anyone who knows me, knows I live to travel, so much so I recently became a Travel MANager. Even going away for a weekend is an easy way to broaden your horizons, meet new people, explore your ideas, new foods, or renew your body, mind, and soul. If you haven’t been away on a trip lately then I highly recommend you mark off some time and invest in a weekend getaway. This is the perfect chance to soak up some sand, sea, or snow, and get back to business on Monday.
If you think that planning a weekend away is hard work, think again. Below are my three simple steps I used to book an awesome weekend away with my wife. If you want to inject passion into your relationship or just show her that you care, these tips will help you say Bon Voyage to stress and put you on the fast track to a weekend away. Check them out!
Step 1: Choose the Perfect Destination
Every trip is about the destination, so choosing where to go is obviously a good place to start; what I did is think about places my wife had hinted at going to, and about her passions and interests, to see if I could narrow down a few cities. I know she loves amazing food so I put Portland on the map, and we spoke about the music scene in Chicago a few weeks ago, so that made the cut. You could ask what city your partner would put on their bucket list if you want a direct suggestion or look on their Pinterest.
However, I found that choosing the destination myself is a great way to take the lead and truly impress your significant other. My wife is always asking me where I would like to eat, or what movie I want to watch, and I’ll be honest, I’m the first person to push the decision back on her. But taking a stance and choosing the destination made me feel really empowered, and she felt like I was invested in our time together. After all, anyone can open a checkbook, but it’s the thought of a gift that truly counts.
Step 2: Plan Your Itinerary
Once you have the destination ready, the next tip is to work on what you want to do, rather than book flights. This might sound backward, but it is better to cast a wider net than to lock yourself into only looking for ideas you think will fall in budget. After all, you can always trim back your itinerary, but who knows what adventure you might score somewhere unexpected. Another great tip is to plan extra time between activities for spontaneity; you never know where the mood might take you.
This happened to me one time when I was visiting San Francisco, and I found a Groupon for a restaurant I would never have looked at because it cost several hundred dollars per head, but as my luck would have it, I put it on the list of ideas, and walked by an open table event at the restaurant. It goes to show you never know what your trip will offer. You can also use websites such as TripAdvisor to look for off the beaten path adventures, or even free sights, and much of the advice is from local residents.
It should go without saying, but poor planning creeps up on the best of us. In fact, when we were on our honeymoon in Spain, I lost our passports. Talk about a total crisis situation. Always have a backup plan, even on a weekend away, so that you have total peace of mind. This could mean booking travel insurance, or scanning personal documents and posting them to the hotel so you have copies of your tickets and passports on-hand.
Step 3: Find the Perfect Place to Stay
Let’s be honest, guys, no one goes on vacation to remember the hotel room, but with the right planning, you book a trip she will remember for the rest of her life. So if you’re looking to score a sweet deal, this is a great place to start saving. While it’s tempting to look at five-star hotels with luxury service, consider that we often only grab a shower and sleep overnight in a hotel – trimming back doesn’t automatically mean opting for less comfort.
What we love about staying at an All-Suite Hotel such as Homewood Suites and Home 2 Suites by Hilton is that it’s cost effective, and you can put those savings to good use when visiting local attractions. Plus, they have tons of amenities, and as many of the rooms have kitchens, you can keep your own wine or champagne on ice or grab breakfast in the room. All those mini-bar and hotel restaurant expenses add up, and could be holding you back from what you arrived to do; which is sightsee and have the time of your life.
What I like to do is split my budget up into 25:50:25 for travel, adventure, and accommodation. It should never cost you more to get to a place and stay there than what you invest in your time seeing and doing at that destination. I always budget at least 50% towards one in a lifetime style activity and look at free options for bumper ideas. This way, you will feel confident you have the best deal, for the best price and don’t forget to have fun while you’re in town.