Planning a successful weekend trip can be exciting and stressful all at the same time. I know for us, we have so much we want to see, but so little time to do it. For example, in January we flew to Paris for the weekend (so Berty could shoot this elopement) and we meticulously planned and snuck in every drop of daylight possible doing and seeing things we loved. We are also heading out on a weekend road trip to Boise (a 9-hour drive from Seattle!) this weekend, and we have a long list of things to see and do. Berty and I have gone on plenty of weekend trips, but the successful ones happen when we use these steps below! We hope this can help you make the most of your precious time off of work!
8 Steps for Planning a Weekend Trip
1. Decide WHY You’re Going
Because you only have 3-4 days to make the most of your plans, make sure you are going for the right reasons. Do you want to discover a new place? Do you want to check something off your bucket list? When Berty and I plan an adventure, we always go wanting to see a new destination. We go because we love discovering more and more about where we live! Go with a purpose, and it will be a more meaningful journey!
2. Plan Ahead
To make the most of your precious daylight hours, we’ve got some tools to help you out along the way. If you’re planning a road trip, we recommend the app/web tool called Roadtrippers. You plug in your destination, what you are interested in seeing, and they suggest stops along the way! There’s another website called AllTrails which helps you plan any hike, and gives you the necessary information. Even if you’re not a planner per say, having options will at least prevent you from wasting precious weekend hours!
3. If Possible, Utilize A Long Weekend
Just a quick look on the calendar and I discovered several weekends that included government holidays and possibilities to extend your holiday. You can even get clever with your vacation days at work, and tack them on to a long weekend to extend your trip even more!
4. Choose Your Crew
Berty and I believe that trips with your family and/or friends is time well spent. We love sharing experiences with the people we love most! Not only do you have traveling companions to help with the load, but you end up sharing memories and deepening your relationship for the long haul. Last January, Berty drove to Jackson, WY with two of his friends and they still talk fondly about it to this day!
5. Get Up As Early As Possible
To get as much fun as possible out of your weekend trip, we suggest waking up early! Using all the daylight hours will allow you to spend more time exploring new places, or just soaking in one place! Either way, more vacation hours awake = more vacation fun. If you’re not particularly a morning person, our #1 tip is to plan something you’re TOTALLY excited about doing early in the morning. It will make waking up more bearable.
During our latest Utah road trip, Berty and I woke up at 3 am to start hiking to Delicate Arch for sunrise. We wouldn’t have seen these beautiful light rays if we had slept in!
6. Choose Your Destination, But Leave Room For Changes
While having vacation goals and destinations are important, it’s also good to leave room for unexpected changes in the plan. I know for Berty and I, we don’t always have a 100% successful trip. We’re exhausted, lost, or didn’t research enough ahead of time to make our dreams a reality. True story when we went to Yellowstone in early April. Nearly everything was closed! However, instead of seeing obstacles as a roadblock, consider them detours and opportunities to discover something new along the way!
7. Pack Snacks
If you’re anything like us, we are constantly looking for the next coffee shop, bakery, or gas station to pick up food! To prevent unnecessary stops, buy easy grab-and-go snacks beforehand and keep them within reach for a quick energy pick me up. But if you’re looking to stay on budget, we suggest pre-buying healthy options like baby carrots, oranges, trail mix, and LOTS of water!
Read More: How We Prepare Coffee On The Road
8. Dress For Success
Check the weather forecast for your location before you go. Make sure to pack extra layers for cold nights, and if you live in the Pacific Northwest, always bring a rain jacket. 😉 If you’re hiking, make sure to bring sturdy rain boots and reliable socks. The right gear can make or break a trip!
Here are some weekend trip packing lists we’ve written about for the Pacific Northwest:
- 5 Essentials To Bring On The Washington Coast
- 21 Stylish Rain Jackets For The Pacific Northwest
- The Ultimate Packing List For San Francisco
- 12 Best Walking Sandals For Travel
- 7 Travel Backpacks For Ther Adventure Lover
What steps will you take on your next weekend trip? Tell us in the comments below!
For Quick Trips, You’ll Want To Check Out:
Follow Our Pacific Northwest Board on Pinterest for some more weekend trip inspiration!
Want to find the best places in the PNW?
Stop searching through internet noise and download our curated list just for you.
Enter your email below and we'll send you your PNW Bucket List!