I’ve been thinking about weekend getaways. For me, they tend to happen during the week but it’s a 3-4 day trip either way. So much can be done in that span of time. Think about it. You can fly to another country, you can attend a retreat or you can help build a house! So much can be done. So that got me to thinking about the “3-day weekend”. I say three because we all utilize either the day before or the day of our return, Friday or Monday respectively. So that leads us to see what we can do in a 48 to 72-hour trip.
How do we fit in as much as possible without feeling like we didn’t really see anything or have any time to relax? It’s a balance and one that takes a while to get the hang of. I’m going to give you the template I use whenever I travel somewhere and I’m restricted to the window mentioned above. Now when I say template, I’m using it in the loosest terms. It’s just the pattern I’ve noticed that I have adapted over my many travels. This works for extended trips as well.
Part 1: Planning the Logistics.
To start begin with the planning. Look at the allotted amount of time you have. Think about where you can go that is far enough that it feels like a getaway but close enough that you aren’t spending a lot of time on traveling to and from the destination, either by car, plane or train.
Next, you want to pick a place that it fairly self-contained. Is the destination city walkable? Is there reliable public transportation? Do they have Uber or Lift? If you’re driving there, is there somewhere to park? Do you have to pay for parking? If you’re flying or taking the train, is there transportation that will get you to where you’re staying?
Part 2: Figure out where you’re staying.
Now you may not be staying in Regent’s Park in London but where you are staying will, in part, determine how your weekend goes. Where are you booking your accommodations? Are you staying in an Airbnb? Is it close to everything you want to do? Choosing to stay in a hotel or a Resort? If it’s a Resort, is it all-inclusive or not? Now that the two biggest items are figured out your weekend can begin to take shape.
Part 3: The Flow.
Whenever you go on vacation either for a quick getaway or longer the tempo of your trip is what I consider the flow. Finding the right flow is what it essential to creating the balance of activity versus relaxation. Here’s how my flow goes.
Day One – 72 hours to go…
Typically, I would consider the first day or the partial travel day as Day One. If that day means that if I spent the morning getting to my destination then I will have a leisurely lunch, where I will ask the locals where to go and what they suggest I do. I’ll take a little longer over this meal to create a game plan for the rest of the day. While I’m planning I’ll make sure that I do an activity that first day that includes a tour or wandering in order to get an idea of the area. That activity will take around 3-4 hours at which time I’ll return to where I’m staying to freshen up and change if I need to then I’ll have a nice leisurely dinner.
Meals are important. You want to try to avoid having a bad meal, especially while traveling. So I always look for recommendations from locals and friends, except that I will make sure to give some direction. Almost always I ask a local, “Where is your favorite place to eat?” or “I’m looking for Italian (or whatever you’re in the mood for)”. After dinner, I may have a drink at a bar suggested by the server, but typically I will save that for day two and use the first night to retire early and plan for the next day.
Day 2: 48 Hours to go…
In the morning I will always either go for a run or do yoga in the room before heading out for the day. After an early morning exercise session, I will have a quick breakfast and head out. At this point, I will have scheduled some kind of activity for the morning either go to a museum or if I’m at a beach, head there and do paddleboarding or some other fun adventure.
Day two will always be a light lunch, something that I can take away with me and enjoy either at a garden or park, weather permitting. If the weather isn’t great I’ll still grab something portable I can eat in transit. Typically unless it’s a hurricane outside I’ll just wear the appropriate gear and brave whatever comes. The afternoon will usually involve another activity but a little less intense than the morning.
I always try to end my touring around 5-6pm if I can. It helps you to unwind from the day and gear up for the next. So at this point, I’ll eat a good meal and either check out a cool bar or head to bed/plan for the next day.
Day 3: 12 Hours to go…at least you hope you have a full 12 hours.
At this point, you have an idea of how the flow will go. I’ll get up in the morning, exercise, breakfast and head out for an activity…if I was staying another day. However, on a half travel day, I would still keep my morning the same, except I would make sure to either hang out at the pool, beach or park for my activity. I do something low-key and even a bit relaxing so that I’ll be rested for the journey home.
It isn’t rocket science, it’s just planning. You may have a different way of wanting to do things but if you follow my plan you will have some great weekends where you will come home feeling relaxed and excited about the adventures you had. Until next time.