When it comes to vacations, most of us can get behind the idea that longer = better. More time for relaxing, roaming and reacquainting ourselves with alarm-clock-free mornings? Sign us up.
However, we also know that because of limited days off, a big blowout vacation may come only once or twice a year. So why not consider another equally enticing equation: More trips = better. Say hello to the weekend getaway. Savvy travelers, or as we like to call them, Weekenders, recognize every Friday afternoon as an opportunity to escape. They know that 10-day trips aren’t always possible, but a mini-excursion still has the potential for some serious R&R (and all the other R’s mentioned above). Here, with the Weekenders in mind, we’ve partnered with Hilton and rounded up 10 tips for approaching this mini-vacation.
One of the biggest perks of a quick getaway is you’re less likely to check in with work. If you still feel the urge, resist. Not only is your time limited—you’re only a handful of inbox purges away from Monday morning—but mentally you need a break, too. A study released last year, called “Exhausted But Unable to Disconnect,” found that people who feel the need to answer emails after hours, including on the weekend, ultimately become emotionally drained because they can’t detach from work. Give your noggin a nice reprieve—flip that out-of-office on and tune out.
- Plan with purpose.
Give your getaway direction by booking with a specific event or activity in mind. Make a concert the focal point of the trip, see your favorite baseball team at an away game, hit up those world-renowned hiking trails, or get down and dirty at a cow-chip-throwing festival (that’s really a thing, by the way). Once the weekend’s done and dusted, you’ll feel accomplished and have a story to tell.
- Embrace the unexpected.
Planes get delayed, traffic happens, and weather can change quicker than you can zip up your suitcase. What’s important is how you react to each unforeseen foible. If you don’t take a positive approach, you may wake up Monday morning wound even tighter than when you left the office Friday afternoon. Tackle any travel adversity head-on. More airport time means you can dive further into that novel, a traffic jam can be an invitation to explore an alternate route, and a rainy day means hitting up the area’s most-talked-about art exhibit rather than the backwoods trails.
- Pack light.
How many pairs of shoes can you honestly wear over a single weekend? We realize we just told you to embrace the unexpected, but you probably won’t need snow boots for a California Wine Country retreat in October. Packing light means less to lug and less to unpack when you return home. The more smoothly you can ease in and out of the weekend, the more enjoyable the escape.
- Make your meals count.
Ask travel writers about their favorite cities, and they’re just as likely to wax poetic about the town’s bakery or the local tavern’s to-die-for burger as they are the area’s museums and monuments. Travel writers know there’s adventure to be had each time you pick up your fork. Counting dinner on Friday night, you’ve got at least seven chances for edible exploration over the course of the weekend.
- Factor in fitness.
Work in exercise during your trip. Not only will you enjoy the endorphin boost that comes with physical activity, but you also won’t feel as sluggish when you head home and slip back into your regular fitness routine.
- Leave some downtime.
Ever said this before: “I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation”? (No need to raise your hand; just put your planner down.) To recharge over the weekend, you need to give both your brain and your body a rest. Sleep in, rent a movie, order room service—heck, even reorganize your toiletry bag if that brings you some low-key joy. Just don’t pack every single minute from 5 p.m. Friday clear through Sunday night with activity. Even a Weekender must take a break.
- Consider Monday part of the weekend.
Adding an extra day to your escape not only gives you more time to relax/recharge/ride ATVs in the desert in Baja California (or whatever it is that gets your blood pumping), it may also save you time and money. Monday is generally a cheaper day to fly than Sunday. And if you’re driving, you may hit less traffic on a Monday afternoon than during the Sunday evening rush. Also, before you book your flight, scope out local lodging. Look for hotels that offer Sunday-night deals, and you can score big savings, sometimes even 50 percent off, on usual day rates!
- Travel with family.
Use a weekend away to reconnect with your partner, kids or both. Far from soccer games and playdates and the pull of dirty laundry and errands, you can focus on spending quality time and making memories. Pre-trip anticipation may make you happiest, but the post-getaway glow can also carry you through a difficult workweek.
- Set your sights on the next trip.
Ever had the Sunday scaries? They’re those feelings of dread that creep up before the start of another week of work. The Weekender, however, has the ideal antidote: Get a jump on planning your next trip. Even if you won’t be able to get away again for months, begin soaking up all that good anticipation juju the moment you return home.
Need to escape from your weekly routine? Hilton has you covered. Travel easier this weekend with the Hilton Honors app. Check in, choose your room, and unlock your hotel-room door—all in one place. Extend your weekend and take advantage of Hilton’s Long Weekender package where you’ll save 50 percent on Sunday nights. Hilton makes it easy to turn your weekend into the ultimate vacation.