You don’t need a huge amount of annual leave owing to you to be able to take a break. All you need is a regular weekend. With a bit of advance planning you can have the perfect mini-break that will leave you feeling refreshed and recharged.
When booking a special weekend getaway, follow these tips for a memorable break.
- Plan ahead to work out the best accommodation for the weekend. Seeing as your time is more limited than a lengthy holiday, make sure you are close to the action so you don’t spend all of your time travelling to the attractions. For example, if you really want to visit the infamous Hanging Rock, make sure you book accommodation near Hanging Rock, Victoria, and not too far away so that you don’t have to drive for hours just to visit it.
- If you are a planner, make sure you don’t forget to factor in some relaxation time. It can be really tempting to organise a heap of activities so that every minute of the weekend is scheduled. While it’s great to have some things lined up, you don’t want to end up coming home more exhausted than before you started. Make sure there is time in your itinerary to stop and relax; perhaps sip a good glass of wine by the fire, or take a long lunch in the sun. Sometimes it’s the unplanned moments in a weekend getaway that end up making the best memories.
- It is still a good idea to have some activities planned for the weekend, or before you know it your time away will be up and you’ll be heading home before you’ve done a thing. You don’t have to wait until you get there to decide what to do. In the lead up to your getaway you can look up the local tourism website for ideas on what to do, or give your hotel a call in advance to have a chat about their suggestions and what might be happening in that area while you are visiting. While you are planning activities, don’t forget to check the local weather. There is no point planning a long bike ride if it is going to be pouring with rain all weekend.
- If you’re taking a loved one on the weekend getaway, be sure to plan activities that you will both enjoy and that you can do together. A romantic trip will fizzle if you leave your partner behind while you go surfing for four hours.
- If possible, plan to leave work early on your last day before leave. Many people end up working back even later than usual before they go away so they can get their work done before holidays, but this is a bad idea as it just leads to stress. Leaving early means you will have time to pack your bags and prepare fully for your departure, giving you a chance to get excited and get your holiday started on the right foot.
Once you’ve arrived
- Switch off the mobile phone and stop checking emails. You’re only away for a weekend, so make the most of it by going without technology. You will relax more and the weekend will feel longer if you are switched off from the rest of the world.
- Talk to the locals. Even though a weekend getaway usually means you are not too far from home, it still pays to engage with the locals. They will be able to give great recommendations on the best places to eat and the sights you should see. Often, locals will come up with more interesting tips than any tourist brochure can.
- Eat out. Dining out is less hassle and will save you more time than trying to buy food to prepare at your accommodation. Going to restaurants and cafes gives you a good chance to check out the local area, as well as any local fare or wines that may be available.
If you have gone away with a loved one, eating out is a great chance to really connect and catch up. Usually at home you have work, chores or errands on your mind, or even the TV blaring in the background. But when you are in a restaurant far away from home you get the chance to relax into it and have a great chat about regular things, not just about what needs doing. If you are on your own for whatever reason, dining out can feel more sociable than sitting in your hotel room. And you never know who you might meet and what friends you might end up making!
- Say ‘yes’! You might have an itinerary planned for your weekend mini-break and that’s great, but don’t be so strict that you end up missing out on seeing other things as well. If the partner would like to stop at a shop or a café, do it, you might be surprised that it ends up being the best thing you did on the trip. After all, a getaway is usually about trying different things and creating memories, and saying yes is the best way to do it. Also keep that in mind when you are on your way home. If you are driving home, don’t just rush and stress about what time you are going to arrive back. Make a few stops, take in the sights and make the trip home as much a part of the holiday as the other days. It really extends the leave and keeps you relaxed for as long as possible. Once you’re back home the reality will kick in, so savour the last of the holiday while you can.