If you caught a travel bug in college, you’re not alone. Ever since I had the opportunity to study abroad and take trips with friends, I wanted to know how I could see the most of the world. Weekend trips with friends were always planned; we wanted to see everything we could for the least amount of money–because believe me, we had the least amount of money.
When I entered the workforce, however, I felt that the perception had changed from “weekends are for adventure” to “weekends are for catching up on work and cleaning the house.” To put it lightly, that bummed me out a little bit. While I was excited to plan my big adventures during my vacation time, I didn’t want my weekend adventures to disappear.
For a substantial vacation, one has to take time off work, factor in two whole days of travel and spend an entire week or two vacationing. While this is still the case for long trips to Paris, Turkey, New Zealand and across the world, I see power in taking advantage of the 55 hours we are given from Friday to Sunday.
In your twenties, you might not always be able to afford the luxurious vacations or paid time off that others look forward to. Making the most of your weekends on a budget is essential to a fun summer–even if it means short trips or adventures here and there.
A lot of people think that planning big weekends are stressful and ware you out. However, taking mini trips throughout the year can actually be extremely therapeutic. Seeing new things, finding new places, discovering new hobbies and meeting new faces is one of the most spirit-lifting, heart-lightening activities we do.
According to Passport USA, travel has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, a lower risk of depression and higher productivity when one returns to the workplace.
So don’t give up on these 55 hours between Friday to Monday. Utilize these hours–and do it cheaply. Set a budget and stick to it.
Don’t give up on finding adventure.
A lot of people take long vacations to far away destinations because they’re convinced that where they live is nothing special. Many people who have lived where they have for a long time just want to get away as far as possible when vacationing.
It’s important to remember–especially on a weekend–that there are SO many possibilities for seeing new things that are three, two or even just an hour away.
Between state parks, scenic overlooks, artist galleries and new concert venues, so much can be explored and can be kept at a reasonable price. Whatever rejuvenates you, go for it.
Plan your meals and caffeinate.
Saving money on meals is always my number one priority. If possible, packing meals when you can is the best way to save.
If not, try eating two big meals or eating little bits through out the day, eating protein and veggies to keep you energized and prevent you from feeling sluggish with sugars.
Prioritize your 55 hours.
If there’s too much to see, make a list of your priorities. You can always go back for a weekend; you’ll regret skimming down the things you really want to do to make room for the things you care less about.
Whether it’s hiking, biking and outdoor activities or sightseeing and shopping, talk with your travel partner and write down a list of things you must do, things you might like to do and things you’ll save for another trip.
Free apps like Travefy are really nice for planning out itineraries and collaborating with others.
Evaluate travel hours.
If your weekend requires a road trip, pick your best option for travel. If you live in an area where traffic will be heavy on Friday evening, think about getting an early start Saturday morning. You won’t lose much time, and you will save an extra night of spending for lodging. Do your research on Sunday traffic too; you don’t want to get stuck if you need to be back early.
The biggest thing about deciding when to use your travel time is making the most of the week before your weekend trip. Use Thursday to get ready for Monday; it might be a long way out, but it helps ease your mind if you want to make it back late Sunday evening.
Embrace the Monday [adventure] hangover.
While some people dread the Mondays after a fun weekend, I think it’s important to embrace it.
It’s a good opportunity to share with friends and coworkers and reflect on how much you fit into your short weekend. You’ll be surprised how much longer those 55 hours feel when you pack as much adventure as possible into them.
If you’re a writer, take some time to document your adventures and share with the world how you spent your past 55 hour window. You’ll feel refreshed and inspired to start planning your next trip.
Orginally published on GenTwenty.