The United States is geographically beautiful, full of endless destination possibilities. Instead of giving specific destination guides, there are tactics you can use to plan any adventure. If you are on a travel assignment in a new geographic are, you have all the more reason to do some weekend exploring!
Last Summer Fling
When summer begins, most of us have big ideas to optimize sunshine. But the season always flies by too quickly, these ideas trumped by other, more immediate plans.
Make a list of all the daytrips you meant to take this summer, but didn’t. Was there a local beach you wanted to visit? A park in a small town within local diving distance you wanted to explore? A trail you wanted to hike? These are all the perfect starting point to plan your weekend.
Plan Your Days
Often deals can be found through company websites and travel aggregators. Try Kayak.com for deals on airfares. If you are a teacher, or under 26 years old, STA.travel offers great discounts on airfare, transportation and tours. Surf over to Expedia.com for last-minute vacation packages. A wonderful website for cheap accommodations for a night or two is Airbnb.com.
Don’t forget to visit individual airline sites for weekend deals, sometimes booking directly through the airline will save more than using a third party.
Also, be sure to check-out the airline’s Tweets! Sometimes specials are Tweeted, and the link will bring you directly to the deal offered. The airlines also Tweet flight updates regularly, and often respond to questions via Twitter, so it is a great way to have a direct link to the airline. This site gives links to all the airlines in the world.
Call the Locals
Whether you plan to trek in the mountains, go on a long bike ride, or take a wine-tasting tour at a vineyard within driving distance, there are great deals to be found for the thrifty traveler. And it may be as simple as picking up the phone.
Call the local hotels and bed and breakfasts and ask about end-of-summer deals. Many hotels keep rooms vacant for last-minute bookings, so there is incentive for them to sell a room for a cheapest price. Especially over a holiday weekend, a little sweet talk and bartering go a long way, allowing you to use your short notice to your advantage and optimize on savings.
Delicious, local food is always a special treat when taking a trip. Find out what the local specialty is by inquiring around town. Asking residents where they prefer to eat off the beaten path is almost always a good bet.
Or, take a trip with a special restaurant in mind and have that by your biggest indulgence this weekend.
If you are driving, a wonderful site that helps find local eats close to major highways across the United States is RoadFood.com.
Don’t Splurge, Indulge
Sometimes the idea of taking a trip just seems like a waste of money. Instead of considering your Labor Day weekend a splurge, focus on the event or activity that motivates your trip and make that your biggest expense.
Plan to attend a baseball game? Great! Have the ticket price be the most expensive item of the day and organize everything else around it. Before the game, make a nice dinner at home, or pack a picnic to eat in a park before going into the field.
Another great way to avoid spending too much is to simply carry cash and only spend what you have on hand. This is always an obvious, but effective, way to budget a trip.
Roll with It
The best part of travel is the ability to remove yourself from the everyday and spend a day doing something special you wouldn’t normally do. So, once you have decided upon a trip, go for it, remembering it is always about the process of adventuring, not the destination.