Your Path to a Stress-Free, Low-Expenditure Weekend Vacation
Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Among the types of vacations, the weekend getaway is highly underrated. Not only is it short and sweet, but it can be executed with minimal hassle. A weekend jaunt is the perfect way to release the stress of a tough work week. Of course, if this mini-vacation is fraught with concerns — both money-related and otherwise — it gets less fun real fast. Here’s how to keep that upcoming trip low-cost and low-stress.
Don’t Set a Date in Stone
Above all else, the way you’re going to get that weekend jaunt for less is to be flexible in just about every regard. The most important mode of flexibility to have is that of when. Flight prices change from weekend to weekend, for instance. Certain destinations are much cheaper to get to during their off-season. If you are able to wait a few weeks or go a few weeks earlier than originally planned on your weekend getaway, you’ll be able to secure a better deal.
Throw a Dart
It’s also important to be flexible concerning the where. Look around for cheap flights or consider heading to a place close enough for a quick drive. Look at the cost of travel in certain places (how much lodging, food, and transportation costs on average). If you don’t force yourself to travel to a certain location, you can choose a lower-cost destination.
Don’t Travel Alone
A hotel room for one is the same size as a hotel room for two (and the same price). Solo meals are expensive. Taking Ubers and cabs by yourself really adds up. One great way to offset the cost of your weekend trip is to take a few people along with you. Group travel is inarguably cheaper than setting out for adventure all by yourself.
Travel (Very) Light
It can cost as much as $60 to check a bag with some airlines (especially the budget airlines you’re certainly flying because you’re on a budget). When you factor in departing and returning, that’s at least $100 you can save by packing light and simply taking a carry-on.
Watch Out for Travel Fraud
You already know that safety should be a priority when traveling, but when it comes to making arrangements with a travel company, safety may not be the first thing you think about. Since fraud and scams do occur in this type of business, it’s important to take precautions before booking an agent. Seniors should especially think about safety, since they can be as much at risk of being scammed as younger adults, and many seniors already have too much on their plate (e.g., addressing health and mobility needs) to worry about recovering from a scam.
Don’t just hire any travel company—or lodging or car rental company, for that matter. Make sure the business is legitimate by verifying the contact information and website. Do a background check on any company that’s trying to sell something to you or ask for your money. You can take it a step further by asking friends and family if they know whether the business is reputable, or you can check with the Better Business Bureau. Finding an honest and trustworthy company will take a great deal of stress out of your planning.
Give Yourself Peace of Mind About the Situation at Home
You don’t have to hire security or install a fancy security system to give yourself peace of mind about the situation at home, but you should do something. One surefire way to add stress to your weekend getaway is to constantly worry about the safety and security of your home and belongings. Protect your home by remembering to lock your doors and windows, placing any “free” items (random stuff on your porch/backyard) in your garage or inside your home, arranging to have a trusted neighbor keep an eye on your home, and installing timers on your home lights (to mimic your presence and thwart robbers).
Don’t Fall Into the Restaurant Trap
You don’t have to eat out for every meal while you’re on vacation — shocking, huh? In fact, you can save hundreds of dollars by being smart about your food consumption. Pack food for the trip. Make use of price-included breakfasts wherever you’re staying. Eat street food and snack out of convenience stores. Cook one night if your lodging has the proper facilities. Limit your dining out to once or twice over the course of the weekend.
Save on Transport
“Pack a good pair of shoes, because walking is the best way to save money and take in a new destination. Learning and using your destination's public transit system is another budget game-changer,” says USA Today writer Josh Roberts.
That’s how you save on transportation: walk and take the bus/subway. Ubers and cabs add up. Don’t be lazy and you’ll come home with a fatter wallet.
Without a plan and proper focus on cheaper, lower-stress travel, it’s easy for a weekend getaway to turn into something else: two or three days of agony. Don’t be that person. Put your feet up and enjoy the sweetness of a weekend jaunt and come home feeling refreshed.