I love a good weekend trip. One of the biggest advantages of living in Europe is that we have so much diversity and cultures right in front of our doorstep. It takes two hours to fly from Germany to Spain or Italy, an hour to get to Denmark or Southern Sweden and about an hour and a half to fly to the UK or Prague. Plenty of opportunities to experience different cities on a weekend.
Therefore I often try to go on nice weekend trip either a city trip and sometimes to the country. Leave on Friday morning or afternoon and return on Sunday evening. But there are a few things that help me to make the most out of these weekend trips.
1. Stay in the city center
I’m a big fan of slow travel but weekend city trips can’t be considered as slow travel. While I mentioned in other articles that if you travel slow you can save a lot of money, well if you travel fast you also spent more. During a weekend in a unfamiliar city you want to see as much as possible. It really isn’t worth to save the extra 10 or 20 Euros per night and stay outside the city center. You will be spending a lot of time to travel back and forth and the money you save you will probably spent for the transportation. Day tickets for public transportation often cost between 5 and 15 € per Person. Better book a nice hotel or AirBnb apartment in the city center where you have all the attractions right in front of your doorstep.
Tip: Book your hotels via Hotels.com for great rates or a nice apartment via AirBnB.
2. Travel with a carry on
The extra money you spend on a hotel or AirBnB apartment you can also save when booking the flight (check skyscanner for the cheapest flights). For two nights and three days, you seriously don’t need to check a bag. Hang luggage is enough.
Tip: One of my favourite carry on backpacks is the one by AG sport bags. It’s big enough to carry all your belongings for a long weekend!
3. Plan your weekend
Unless you are traveling to a provincial town you might want to plan what you want to see during a weekend. Traveling to Berlin and want to visit the museums island in the city center, brandenburg gate, sony center, the memorials of the jews, the tempelhof airport, the wall, and devils mountain? Forget it. Make a plan before you visit the city of the things you really want to see and mark them down on a map. See how far they are separated from each other.
Also make sure to plan a few alternatives that are indoor in case the weather turns out to be bad!
Tip: Use Google Maps for this. Mark the places you want to see as a favourite and then download Google Maps to your phone. Simply zoom into the area that you want to make available offline and enter “ok maps”
4. Book direct flights
Booking a flight with multiple connections is toxic for your weekend city trip. With skyscanner you can make sure to only look for cheap direct flights.
Tip: According to a recent study, the best time to book a flight is 49 days before departure. This is almost two months. On average flights become more expensive from 11 days prior to departure. I guess the time of last minute deals is more or less over…
5. Be prepared
Know from where and what time you are flying and also the route from the airport to the hotel. You don’t want to arrive at the airport and then start looking for a wifi spot or start roaming to find the address of your hotel.
Tip: Get TripIt on your phone. It’s collects all your flights, hotels, car rentals etc… you simply have to sign up and then forward all confirmation emails to trip it. It even tracks all your frequent flyer programs making it easier to know when miles expire and how much you have collected.
6. Take your time
There is no need to rush. Of course you want to sleep in, see most of the city, do little shopping and go out at night. We all want to do this. But the fact is, that you only have two nights and three days. So set yourself a few priorities for your weekend city trip.
Tip: Less is more, make sure you get what you came for. Did you want to relax? Book a nice hotel. Did you want to do a lot of shopping? Know where the shopping streets are! Better have one big experience than many little experiences!
7. Adapt to the new timezone
In Europe we have three time zones. Adjust your watches when traveling to another time zone. One or two hours time difference won’t do much to your body and you won’t be jet lagged. There is no need to keep the time from home. Adjust your watches and live in the present. You don’t want to miss out on an event just because you forgot that your watch is operating in a different time zone!