4 Travel Ideas for a Short Weekend Getaway

By Kaitlin Hurtado on July 23, 2019

It is way too easy for life to get hectic and overwhelming, and what better way to treat yourself than to create a short weekend getaway for yourself? Routines can make life a lot more bearable when you can expect what to get out of each day, but it is that same routine that can make life boring or have you feeling like you are in a funk if you spend too long going by on that routine. Invest some time (and money) on your wellbeing by going on a weekend getaway for an opportunity to de-stress with a breath of fresh air.

A weekend getaway can be as simple or extravagant as you want it to be. It can be a short road trip to be more budget-friendly, or a foreign destination if you want to experience something entirely new. If you are wondering how you can make the most out of a weekend getaway and have it fit your lifestyle/budget, read on to find a weekend getaway travel plan that works for you:

Take a trip to spend the weekend at a friend’s 

As you get older, the chances of your friend groups spreading out geographically rise. People move away for college, jobs, and just to pursue other life opportunities in general. It can be hard to stay connected with such distance in between friendships, so why not take a free weekend and travel to them for a weekend getaway. Of course, it’s better to plan this one ahead and make sure the friend(s) you are visiting is available for the weekend so you are not just crashing at theirs and expecting them to host you for a couple of days.

Depending on where your friend is located, you can have ample opportunity to fill your weekend with fun. If they live along the coast, spend a day out at the beach. Make the most out of whatever is special to their current location. Let them have the opportunity to show you around the place they now call home – something that can be both fun and touching. If your friend has space and is willing to host you at their place for the weekend, don’t be ready to fully mooch off of them for a weekend – try to pitch in when you can. Buy them a meal, give some money for groceries, do not be a greedy guest at the first chance you get and be ready to give with the money you are saving on housing expenses.

While this weekend getaway can be a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends, you can also do the same idea with family members. Instead of traveling to go out to see a friend, travel out to see family that you don’t get to see too often because of distance – they will surely appreciate the chance to spend time with you outside of a major holiday or family event.

Spend some time in nature 

As college students or even young adults, it is typical to spend plenty of time indoors. Whether it’s in the classroom or library during a school term, working at our jobs, or even spending some much-needed time resting at home, it is easy to spend most of our time indoors. The allure of constant air-conditioning is there, but use a free weekend to spend some time in nature and take a break from your usual outdoor scene.

There are plenty of ways you can appreciate nature depending on which weekend getaway destination you end up choosing. For example, if you end up choosing a weekend getaway destination that is coastal, what better way to spend your weekend getaway than at the beach? Pack yourself a lunch and some snacks and get ready for a day out in the sun. Have a book that has been on your reading list for months? Take it along to your day out on the sand so that you can pass the time with something other than your phone screen.

If getting all of your belongings sandy for a couple weeks isn’t your idea of a fun time, try spending time outdoors elsewhere. Spend your weekend getaway camping outside. You can make camping as “comfortable” as you want it to be. You can go the more traditional route by picking a spot near a national park campsite and set up your own camp for a weekend getaway out in nature. Or, you can take a step up and rent out a trailer or RV to take with you to camp at the campsite of your choice. Follow the trend of “glamping” (glamorous camping) and rent out a cabin or tent decked out in not-so-typical camping gear (yes, you can still have your beloved electronics in some forms of camping).

You definitely do not want to stay out in nature for a weekend getaway to appreciate it in its entirety. Spending a weekend getaway in a smaller town? Try looking up popular nature spots in the area – national or state parks, hiking trails, local lakes – that can have you relaxing in nature for a few hours and coming back to air-conditioning and wi-fi at the end of the day. Try out outdoor activities that are specific to the area you are in to make the most of them. Rivers nearby? Go kayaking. A lake nearby? Go for a swim or rent a boat with friends. Do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and do not say no to something just because you have never tried it before.


Infographic by Kaitlin Hurtado, via canva.com

A short travel classic – go on a road trip! 

Road trip and travel can often go hand in hand. Driving is one of the best ways to travel and while it is something you typically view as something you use to get to a travel destination, it can be a major part of a weekend getaway in itself. If you don’t really have a specific destination in mind, a road trip can make a weekend seem more like a getaway than if you splurged on a four-day stay at a hotel. Let’s say there are a few places you want to visit, but they are not necessarily the type of place you would typically stay at for an extensive time. Have no fear, because a weekend road trip will allow you to hit up all those locations while making a weekend getaway out of it.

If you and your friends are a bunch of foodies, try picking out a couple of eateries that you have been looking to try out and seeing if they can be linked together through a road trip. A food-themed road trip is a perfect way to build a road trip plan as it establishes some of your meals and can give you a few places to base your activities out of it.

Road trips can get tricky when it comes to lodging, however. If you have a full car, it may not be the best idea to plan to camp out in the car for the entirety of your road trip. It’s easy to feel cramped after a short amount of time and it will be harder to find time to sleep when every seat is filled with a person or someone’s belongings. You can always rent out a larger car or RV if you plan to make your car your temporary housing, but you can also carefully plan out where you are going to stay along your road trip so you don’t have to rely on sleeping in your car every night.

It is fairly easy for road trips to get pricey – you don’t have a set dwelling, so being ‘on the go’ can quickly add up when you have to pay for the roof over your head, your meals, and gas. There are plenty of ways that you can cut back on expenses for your road trip – one of them is packing smart. When you plan properly and pack for a road trip, you can potentially save a ton on how much money you spend while on your weekend getaway. Not every meal has to be bought at a restaurant when you pack some food items in a cooler to get you by for a few meals. Pick items that are easy to eat in the car: stuff for sandwiches or wraps (deli meat, cheese, and bread), chips, vegetables and hummus, the opportunities are endless. While your mind may stray to packing only junk food, think of all the stomach issues that can result or the general grogginess that comes with unhealthy eating.

Another thing you can save money on is toiletries and medicine. While on the road, things can get messy or people can get sick. Buying medicinal supplies last minute and at gas stations can get pretty pricey for the small amount and the convenience. Having things like ibuprofen or something for an upset stomach can do wonders for your wallet and for your traveling friends to save someone from crankiness at their headache or stomach ache left unattended.

Road trips can be perfect for your weekend getaway because they are so easy to customize. You can spend as much time off the road or on the road as you want, change up your destinations, and so on.

car on road

Image via unsplash.com

There’s no place like home – pick a staycation 

When you think of weekend getaway, your mind may typically go to a vision of laying out by the ocean or exploring a town unlike your own. However, a weekend getaway doesn’t always have to be an expensive plane trip away. Choosing to go on a staycation instead of venturing off into an unknown city can give you the perfect opportunity for relaxation without breaking your bank.

If you are choosing to go on a staycation, you do not have to put aside money to travel for your weekend getaway. There’s no gas money for a long road trip, nor the stress and financial burden that may come with purchasing plane tickets to get to your destination. Instead, that money can go back into your budget for your daily life, or give you more money to do even more during your weekend getaway.

For a weekend getaway to feel more like a “getaway,” you typically should not be staying in your own home. There are endless stressors that can come from your living space – your work laptop, the long list of cleaning chores you have, the grocery shopping you have to do. Eliminate that stress by booking yourself a room at a local hotel. It may seem a bit unnecessary with your own living space a short drive away, but it can give you a chance to truly relax. You won’t have to cook for yourself when you can just order room service, and if you do want to save, pack some of your favorite snacks and drinks so that your room service bill does not rack up.

If you have the means to do so, pick a hotel that has amenities that can make your staycation feel like a true weekend getaway. If they have a pool, do not hesitate to spend a day out in the sun laying out by the pool and taking a swim. If they have a spa in the hotel, book yourself a massage and facial to pamper yourself. If one of your friends has a free weekend, invite them along. Staying cooped up in a regular hotel or resort may seem pretty boring if you are doing it on your own, but they are plenty of ways to fill the time when you are with a friend or two.


Image via unsplash.com

A weekend getaway does not mean that you have to spend a crazy amount on money for a chance to de-stress, rather, it’s making the most out of a few days and choosing a destination that works for you. From spending a weekend with friends to going solo to a local resort, a weekend getaway is a simple, customizable way to get a break from your typical routine and treat yourself.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a fourth year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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