Planning + Budgeting Weekend Trips This Year

Now that we’re a few weeks into 2017, I’ve gotten a sense of what the year is looking like. Like me, you may have learned more about what your year will bring – weddings, family vacations, weekends with friends and more.The year gets so busy so quickly and vacation days are limited, so now is a good time to start planning your adventures. I always look at my weekends I have open to make sure I’ve set aside a few to camp and explore. Once I figure out what weekends I can squeeze in a trip, I create a budget to make sure I don’t overspend. Creating a budget for each weekend is crucial, but asking yourself some questions about what kind of travel will benefit you the most is the first step.

What kind of travel brings you the most joy?

When I think about the trips that have given me the most in return, I think of the times I spent in nature, looking up at mountains and down at flowing rivers. I think about setting up camp and getting a fire going right away. That’s not the case for everyone – for some, joy comes relaxing on the beach or hiking at sunrise or visiting family you haven’t seen in a while.

Don’t think of the trips in which you accomplished the most or saw the most sights. Think of the times you left feeling fulfilled and calm, yet longing for more adventure. What parts of your trip filled your soul and how can you get more of that in future destinations? What does your ideal weekend adventure look like and how can you capture it in a new way, perhaps in a new place or activity?

Is there something you want to check off your bucket list?

If you’ve been yearning for an adventure where you can do something new, pick a place that gives you that. I loved parasailing in San Diego, ziplining in New Hampshire and sea kayaking on Lake Superior… thinking of each place reminds me of the fun activity that I was fortunate enough to try. Each trip was unique because I was looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone in an entirely new way from the last weekend.

Explore Minnesota just posted some suggestions for MN Bucket List adventures – from lakes to waterfalls to wakesurfing (and yes, you definitely should try wakesurfing). Try something new – it makes the adventure all the more worthwhile.

Where the deals at?

I’m serious on this one. Groupon, Airbnb and Trip Advisor are my BFFs when it comes to planning my weekend trips. You can only get away with a perfect weekend if you can afford it.

My favorite tool for budgeting is Mint – otherwise, a simple Google spreadsheet will do the trick. There’s nothing worse that deciding on a trip at the last minute and overpaying for everything, so creating a reasonable budget of how much you want to spend each weekend is important. When budgeting, make sure you account for meals, lodging, transportation, activities and, most importantly, a large portion for miscellaneous items. If you’re like my husband and I, you never know where the weekend may go. New places give you new experiences that you may not have planned for.

When you only get so much time, especially if you’re a weekend traveler, intentional travel is so important. The concept is simple: don’t do what you don’t want to do just for the sake of doing it. Plan, budget and fit in your favorite activities. It’s your weekend.

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