Weekend trip in Madrid

The Good And Bad Of Weekend Trips

In my 2017 recap, I’ve mentioned that last year was my best for travel, with 20 trips and 80 days traveled. Some people have wondered how was this possible while working a regular 9 to 5 job. The answer is simple: weekend trips. While I’ve traveled during weekends before, in 2017 it seemed a top priority, there were a couple of months when I wouldn’t wake up in my bed on a Saturday at all. You can read some of the posts I wrote by checking my special weekend trip category. I was fortunate enough to visit some wonderful places during weekends and colleagues from work have replaced the “what are you doing this weekend” question with “so where are you going this weekend?” But despite all of that, I’m not eager to outdo it in 2018. There have been amazing moments, but it had its downsides as well and I’m going to talk about all the highs and lows.

👍 You get to see new places without taking days off work

Leaving work on Friday

Let’s be honest, the best thing is that you get to visit a new place without taking any precious annual leave days. Although some cities can easily be seen in just a couple of days, my favorite weekend trips are the ones when I go back to a place I’ve been before. Nothing compares to that sweet familiar feeling when you pass by a street you know too well or stop by your favorite cafe in that city.

Then again, sometimes you’ll find an offer that’s too good to turn down and you’ll extend your weekend with one or two days. 😉

👎 You may feel like you haven’t slept for days on Monday

Coming back home tired

This one is going to suck if you have a very late flight on Sunday. I usually sleep on planes but even this isn’t enough to be 100% functional on Monday morning. My personal best was when I came back from Glasgow last year, I got home around 4:30 and at 9 I was at work. They say the early bird catches the worm, but the late bird…probably yawns all day. I realize this may not be ideal for everyone, so if doesn’t sound right to you, you should look for a different return flight.

👍 You become an expert at packing hand luggage only

The key to successful weekend trips is packing light, having only a backpack will help you save a lot of time. For instance, you’re in London, wandering in Covent Garden (where else), your flight is in the evening and your accommodation is at least 30 minutes away by tube. If you had to go back to the accommodation to get your bag, you would waste an entire hour that you could have spent doing something else. I always carry a small backpack with me, taking strictly what I need. This proved to be more challenging than I thought, especially since I also have camera gear to bring along and, yes, there were times when I wanted to scream because I needed more space, but eventually, I have learned to manage just with hand luggage for a few days.

👎 Your house will be a mess for days

Messy house

If you’re anything like me, tidying up your house is reserved for weekends (and if you clean in the evenings after work you must be a superhuman!). But what if you’re gone on a trip during the weekend? You’ll clean the next one. But what if you’re gone the week after that too? Well, you’ll just watch the pile of dirty clothes grow at the same time as multiple layers of dust are setting everywhere. True story (sadly)

👍 You learn that you don’t need a detailed plan

When I first started traveling, I used to have detailed plans for every trip: “today we’re seeing X and Y, tomorrow Z and Q. It’s raining on the day we planned on wandering? Tough luck, that’s the plan!”. Lately, I’ve become more and more relaxed and started to prefer figuring out the sightseeing plan while I’m there. Sure, you should look into what you’d like to see at the destination beforehand, otherwise you’d waste a lot of precious time. I like to add pins on Google Maps with what I want to see, that way I’ll notice which attractions are close to one another and which ones are the closest to me at the time being. (Bless the person who proposed to eliminate roaming charges in the EU!)

My personal best however was when I spent a weekend in Puglia, Italy and I actually made the plan in the airport, before departure, and on the train, after we landed.

👎 You need to prioritize travel above other things

If you want to travel a lot on weekends, some things will eventually be sacrificed. And I’m not talking just about your budget. 😉 Staying up to date with shows and movies, reading a book each month, catching up with friends, even sleep schedules. You may juggle them for a while, but a few weekends away from home and you may find some slipping away. Sleep schedule is usually the first one. If you truly want to marry full time work and weekend travel, you need to be committed (just like any marriage). And maybe buy a tablet to watch your favorite tv shows during those long airplane hours 😛

What do you think, are weekend trips for you?

PS: this post was supposed to be online two weeks ago but it was delayed because of…..you guessed it, two weekend trips. 😂

California Globetrotter