Making the Most of a Long Weekend
While long weekends are supposed to be one of the small joys of working life, they also have “logistical nightmare” written all over them. If you’re like me, it’s tempting to settle for the personal challenge of watching seasons 1-4 of Scrubs in four days. And while I hate to diminish such an admirable commitment to TV, getting out of town for a bit is usually more rewarding and certainly less depressing. The big question—for me and for all the rest of you long-weekenders out there—is how to make the most of a mini-break. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Maximize your days and nights
Instead of heading out Friday evening and getting back late Monday, maximize your vacay by giving yourself four full nights (and thus more precious full days). Leave work an hour or two early in order to make it to your destination in time for dinner (and, if you’re driving, to avoid godforsaken rush hour traffic) and hop on an early morning flight back Tuesday morning.
Avoid ridiculous airfare fees
Long weekends practically beg to be filled by those “LAST MINUTE WEEKEND DEALS” that populate my Gmail spam folder. Interminable as their advertising is, most major airlines and travel sites—think Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, etc.—have legitimately incredible last minute flights and weekend packages. Purchasing tickets for long holiday weekends far in advance is often actually more expensive than normal prices, but there is an element of security. If you know you want to make a specific event it could be worth it; if you’re willing to be flexible, a little spontaneity can save a lot of money.
If your budget is tight, take to the open road and drive someplace nearby for the weekend. You’ll get to explore your local area, save some money, and see what will undoubtedly be amazing examples of Americana. If you need wheels, try Hertz or Dollar Rent-a-Car. Most major rental agencies won’t rent to anyone under 21 and will have a surcharge for drivers under 24 or 25. Rent-a-Wreck waves the underage surcharge and sometimes even rents to people 18 and over, but don’t be surprised if you get a car that Xzibit would laugh at on Pimp My Ride.
Whether you go visit friends in their hometown or meet up with them in some exciting locale, a long weekend is the perfect opportunity to catch up. It provides enough time to reconnect and do something fun but isn’t so long that you run out of superficial conversation topics. “So, what did you say your job is again…”
Channel the new Bon Jovi and make a memory
Use the weekend trip to be a little adventurous. It’ll make for an exciting time, incredible stories—often the only silver lining of a vacation, anyways—and priceless pictures. Those pictures should then immediately be posted on Facebook because, as a recent New York Times feature reminded us, “It’s almost like if it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen.”