How To Take An Affordable Weekend Trip

How To Take An Affordable Weekend Trip by My Style Vita
Weekend trip on a budget with friends

There’s nothing better than getting away with your friends. If you’re looking for an excuse to take an adventure but don’t have a serious budget, that’s okay too. You don’t have to sacrifice a vacation, creating new memories and exploring more of the world because it’s just “too expensive”. It’s something I hear time and time again but there really are SUCH good ways to get the most out of a weekend trip and do it on a budget.

After our trip to Cashiers, North Carolina with Toyota I was inspired to take more affordable weekend trips like this. We took the Toyota Tacoma, the most comfortable driving truck and has all the fun bells and whistles I love with these Toyotas, about 3 hours Northeast of Atlanta. I’ve never been to Cashiers, but as soon as I told people where I was headed, they assured me it was an incredible place. Based on the time of year we went we SHOULD have seen more foliage. But we had a very warm fall in the south this year and we didn’t get fall foliage until much much later.

The trip was ideal since we could pack a bunch of our things in the back, bring snacks for the road and catch up on Podcasts on the drive. When we arrived, the resort had everything we needed for a weekend getaway. A spa, hikes, dahlia picking and more. It was a great way to spend a weekend and not having to spend a ton of money since the resort was packed with activities.

How To Take An Affordable Weekend Trip

An Affordable Weekend Trip with  Toyota Tacoma

Drive, Don’t Fly

Sure you can find cheap flights (you can read my tips on doing that here) but it still usually ends up being more expensive than just driving. When you fly, you have to think about your car; do you park, do you take an Uber, and then you end up buying food at the airport and then dealing with ANOTHER Uber to your final destination. If you’re within driving distance (my limit is 6 hours) then just drive! Splitting gas is super affordable, you can bring your own roadtrip snacks and you can come and go as you please.

Basket with Flowers

Find Hotels That Offer Activities

This obviously depends on the type of destination you’re looking at. If you’re heading to a city to explore, hotels typically don’t offer any sort of activities but maybe offering free breakfast (which will add up so take advantage!). But if you’re heading to the mountains or somewhere more nature and activity focused, many hotels will offer some extra perks. They often at least offer services/rentals at a discount if you’re staying there. Keep an eye out for perks and take advantage! Plan this out ahead of time as well so you know where to make the most of your money and weekend.

Go During The Off Season

Figuring out when offseason is can be a complete game changer in terms of budget. Hotel prices are much lower and so are AirBNBs. You can easily figure out offseason by just Googling your destination and then “off-season”. You may even find some interesting ideas for itineraries as well. And yes, it may not be AS amazing as going during peak season but guess what? It usually means things are less crowded and you’ll feel more like a local. Sometimes peak season really just means better weather. So just be sure to check the weather and pack accordingly.

Find Fun Free Activities To Do

One of my favorite things to do when I visit new places is simply walking around and getting lost in a city. But many major cities have plenty of free activities to experience the culture and people. Take even just Atlanta for example. We have an incredible park in the middle of the city that you can take a walk through and easily spend a few hours in. Pack a picnic and explore. Or there are several free festivals that happen in many neighborhoods where you can walk around and explore art, food and free music.

Don’t be afraid of FREE activities. They can be a great way to see a city like a local with neighborhood festivals, farmers markets, parks and more. Just Google your destination and free activities. You may even plan your trip around a fun festival when you see what’s offered.

PS You can check out my Atlanta guide here that features a ton of great restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries and more. Plus a few getaways within driving distance as well!

How To Take An Affordable Weekend Trip by My Style Vita

PLAN!

If you go into a weekend getaway with zero plan you may find yourself not only wasting your time but money too. Plan accordingly and prioritize what you want to see. If there’s something like an exhibit or outdoor adventure you’ve been wanting to take that’s expensive, you may want to prioritize that and then choose less expensive things to do on the other days. Or if you’re big into exhibits and museums, look into what’s feasible to accomplish and possibly purchase a museum pass if it makes sense financially. Going in with a plan is helpful for not only your itinerary but also your budget.

Research Your Restaurants

I can be a BIG restaurant snob when it comes to traveling (okay or all the time). I just really enjoy good quality food and not getting stuck in a tourist trap. I’m totally down for casual too, big fancy meals aren’t my thing. I’ll never forget my first trip to Charleston ever and I fell for the biggest tourist trap, Hyman’s Seafood. The food is NOT GOOD and it’s super overpriced for crappy fried seafood. But it shows up #1 on Yelp. It’s a dangerous trap and such a scam in my opinion. But by taking some time to read reviews, search Instagram (just use # the city you’re going to and food and a slew of spots will pop up!) or ask your friends will result in better food experiences and sometimes really great local affordable finds.

PS If you DO want to take a weekend trip to Charleston you HAVE to check out my Charleston guide here. There are tons of great affordable spots to try and since it’s a walking or biking city, you’ll likely never have to spend money on an Uber.

Also, don’t be afraid of casual grab and go spots too. They’re honestly some of my favorites. I really don’t enjoy a big fussy dinner. Grabbing a quick sandwich at a local joint will not only be cheaper but likely more delicious. I typically ask waiters or boutique salespeople where they like to go. Don’t bother asking the concierge at the hotel as they typically get a kickback from big restaurants and are always pushing the more expensive places. Ask the young locals when you grab a coffee in the morning. They usually have ALL the good info!

Seek Out Happy Hours

My last tip on restaurants is to also seek out happy hours. This can be a really amazing way to check out a nicer restaurant on a budget. Not all cities do happy hours, but when they do I always take advantage. You can typically fill up on less expensive food and drinks and then maybe share a meal at dinner a couple of hours later. It’s not only more affordable but a wonderful way to experience more restaurants while on a budget.

Utilize Public Transportation

When exploring major cities, always see what public transportation looks like. In some cities, it’s ideal to take it like NYC, SF or Chicago. It can mean huge savings in Uber and sometimes it’s actually faster. For other cities that don’t have great public transportation (eh-hem talking to you Atlanta) maybe try using Uber Pool. However, keep in mind your schedule. If it’s a short trip you also don’t want to waste your time in an Uber Pool. Sometimes it makes more sense to spend the few extra dollars to get to your destination more quickly.

PS if you are driving to your weekend getaway, always find out about parking. If the hotel charges, and if it’s a lot, find out if there’s somewhere more affordable to park nearby. It may be best too to drive to your activities if there’s free parking so you aren’t spending money on Ubers. Just do you research so your wallet will thank you later!

Leave a Comment

3 Comments

  1. Rachel wrote:

    So many great tips! I am always so bad about planning trips ahead of time and always fly by the seat of my pants once I get to my destination! I really need to start making an itinerary before I leave home.

    Rachel
    http://www.hello-her.com

    Posted 3.20.19 Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Planning always helps in the long run!

      Posted 3.22.19 Reply
  2. Lisa Autumn wrote:

    Oh I love weekend trips.. thanks for the tips love!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

    Posted 3.20.19 Reply

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