How To Maximize Your Long Weekends

Montreal's Notre Dame Basilica on a long weekend

News flash: You don’t have to take an entire week’s vacation from work to see the world. Take one or two days, attach it to a holiday weekend, and go somewhere you’ve never been before! You don’t even have to spend a fortune to do this. Just think small(er) and get creative. The #AdventurePartnerForLife and I started this practice early on in our marriage, and we still try to do one of these escapes at least once a year. Maximize your long weekends, and test out some of the travel ideas below…

Mini Road Trips For Long Weekends

Rhode Island might not be that exciting of a destination for most of you, but it was for me! Rhode Island represented 49 of 50 states visited, and I was scheduled to fulfill the 50th only a couple of months later. This goal in mind, my husband and I decided to road trip it from DC. We took two days off work over President’s Day weekend, giving us five free days. We drove for two (just under 7 hours each way) and had three full days to explore.

Every place has something worth visiting, and it’s up to you to make the most of it. Did you know the oldest pub in the United States is located in Newport? Yeah, we went there. Checked out the famous Newport Mansions. Drove to Providence and into neighboring Connecticut so Jeff could check the box for that state. Passed the Lizzie Borden house and stopped off at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

We’d’ve loved to take a ferry to Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, or Nantucket for a day, but it just wasn’t in the cards given our short schedule. The real truth is that there will always be something you’d wished you seen or done on any given trip; we were just happy to see what we were able to see, perhaps the secret to long weekends.

Downtown Newport, Rhode Island street


Go Wherever the Latest Deal Takes You

I keep an eye out for great travel deals at all times, but I really keep an eye out around the holidays. Three times now, the hubs and I have secured great flight prices with this strategy and booked long weekends to international cities like Berlin, Istanbul, and Copenhagen. Istanbul, of course, was rescheduled due to Jeff’s knee surgery, but we had a terrific time in Berlin and Copenhagen and Stockholm.

If you’re willing to drive six hours on a mini road trip, why not fly it and end up in an entirely different country? Granted, a few days in a new city might not be enough time for a lot of travelers to feel fulfilled, but again—we’re just happy to get to see it at all. It’s certainly better than wanderlusting away at home. We’re also power tourists, so long weekends in a single city is plenty for us. There actually haven’t been too many cities that we wished we had more time in. We might wish we got to see more of the overall country, but individual cities, not so much. Take a chance and test it out, folks!

Nyhavn neighborhood in Copenhagen


Long Weekends in New Cities

If you live on the East Coast, this is truly the easiest way to see more of the world. There are so many major cities just hours from one another. Just book a hotel and go! If you live in DC and haven’t been to Philly or New York, what are you waiting for? Go to Charlotte or Charleston. Fly to Savannah or visit the Bourbon Trail. Jeff and I flew to Burlington, Vermont for $150 and drove up to Montreal and Quebec for a long weekend (see Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica above!). None of these cities are more than a couple hours apart and, yes, you’re literally in a different country in cities with very distinctive cultures. Check out last minute flight deals on Travelzoo and just… pick some place you haven’t been to before for under $200. It really is that simple, folks.

The next time you find yourself with a bad case of wanderlust and only a few vacation days left, make sure those few days are the best days imaginable, and maximize your long weekends! Have additional weekend ideas? Post away in the comments section below.


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  1. Greg and I used to do this all the time before we retired. Most often we took road trips, but once we did go to Europe. We took one day of vacation adjacent to a holiday and went to Amsterdam for four days (including travel time). We packed in a ton of stuff in the three days we were actually in the city!

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