I travel so often that I seriously have packing and preparing for a trip down to a science. Weekend trips are especially easy for me to prepare for, so I love them!
They require little planning, little arrangements, and best of all: they require a small travel budget! Of course I love long, drawn-out vacations but in a pinch, a weekend getaway always satisfies my travel bug!
Here are my top 5 things that I always do before heading out for a weekend getaway. Of course, longer vacations take a lot more planning, but these will work for a short trip!
5 Things To Do Before a Weekend Getaway
Hit the A.T.M. for cash and notify your bank and credit cards of your travel itinerary
Seriously, you don't want to get to your destination and not find an A.T.M. anywhere near you. This puts a damper on shopping, eating and whatever company you're traveling with - no one wants to walk around with you looking for an A.T.M. This is also a fantastic way to stay on budget.
If you take the cash out before you leave your home city, you know exactly how much you have to spend and won't have to worry about keeping track of your credit card or debit card receipts!
Also make sure to call your bank/credit card company before going out of the country to let them know where you will be traveling.
My ex husband and I once touched down in the Dominican Republic for a friend's destination wedding and found that none of our debit cards or credit cards worked...and it was the weekend, and our small credit union wasn't open to call!
Thankfully, I had stopped at the ATM and withdrawn $100 cash, and we had prepaid for our transportation, all-inclusive resort and activities...but on a 6 day trip, that $100 was stretched very thin - we only had enough to tip here and there and buy a magnet as a souvenir.
I couldn't even buy Dominican chocolate to take home - OH, THE AGONY!
Don't forget the little things
Remember those earphones for entertainment while on the plane and your cell phone charger! I make a short list the day before I am scheduled to leave and before I go to bed that night, I go through the list and make sure that everything is in my purse.
I stick my earphones in my purse and put my tablet and phones on their chargers right next to the door so that there's no way I forget them.
TIP: Pack all of your tablet/smartphones and back up chargers in your purse or tote bag, as you don't want to have to pull down your carry-on bag out of the overhead compartment during the flight. Make sure that everything you might need during the flight is easily accessible.
For a weekend getaway, you don't really need a lot of clothing and shoe options. Check the weather for the place you're going and pack accordingly.
For women, I strongly encourage you to invest in a few lightweight, no-ironing needed dresses. Unless I am traveling somewhere cold (like a trip to Alaska or to Europe for the Christmas markets), I always fill my bag with lightweight clothing, usually dresses that can be dressed up or down for different looks in daytime and nighttime.
Bring along comfortable flats that you can wear during the day as well as nice sandals - unless you are going somewhere ritzy, you can usually get away with beautiful sandals in the place of heels. I have been wearing Fibi & Clo Cascade flats for years now and I love how versatile they are!
For instance, I will be in California and the weather is forecast as 70's during the day and 40's at night. I always bring a cardigan in my purse for the flight, so that doubles as a back up sweater for the evenings when it's going to be colder. I am packing three outfits:
When you stay at a nice hotel, keep in mind that they will provide toiletries. Skip the shampoo, conditioner and body wash in your toiletries bag and just bring travel sized deodorant, travel-sized toothpaste, tooth brush, a travel-sized atomizer of your favorite perfume, and of course, your hair products!
I buy travel sized bottles and fill them with my hair gel, frizz serum, etc.
Plan your travel entertainment in advance
You know what stinks? Getting to the airport and realizing that you have no book, games or magazines in your bag, and then finding out that there is no in flight movie. Yeah, that's happened to me - on a 6 hour flight coming back from California a few years ago. I was miserable.
Now I'm always prepared. Make sure that you fully charge your smartphones and tablets, and download movies, tv shows - or better yet, use those long flights or road trips as an excuse to catch up on your reading!
Bring along your Kindle or a paperback book. Don't forget to make sure that your kid's have plenty of entertainment options too!
If you don't have these electronic devices, grab a book, a few magazines, or a notepad to doodle. Anything is better than nothing, and the books and magazines at the airport are usually priced more expensively than your local Target or even grocery store!
Don't forget your medications
I suffer from the occasional migraine and have an allergy to shellfish. Whenever I travel anywhere, I always make sure to bring at least one of my migraine pills, and I bring Excedrin migraine, Melatonin sleep aid, Pepto Bismol tablets, Benadryl in case of cross-contamination with shellfish, etc.
If you have severe allergies, make sure that you bring along at least one Epipen. Having a small Ziplock bag (I use the snack sized one) of the basic meds will save you from paying $15 for a bottle at the hotel gift shop, or hunting down a pharmacy!
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These are your basic tips for making your weekend getaway hassle free. Of course, things change when you're going to be gone for a longer amount of time.
For instance, later this month, my daughter and I are going on a week-long cruise. I have a whole different set of rules that I follow for a vacation like that; lining up a house-sitter, grocery shopping, scheduling bill payments, etc.
I love weekend getaways...they're so easy, aren't they?