WKND101: Plans or No Plans?

Weekend getaways are perfect for driving to up north to the mountains or making plans to hit a big city you’ve never been to. However, it can be intimidating cramming your trip into one weekend.

Two or three days seems short, and it is. But, it doesn’t have to limit you having a great time, wherever you plan to go! The biggest question to ask yourself before you decide to embark is: are you winging it or will you have a rock-solid schedule? There are great arguments for both.

Winging it…
Having no plans gives you the option to spend your weekend away however you wish, exploring the unknown and stumbling upon great places! In my opinion, weekend trips are generally more spontaneous then a planned vacation and afford you the opportunity to be less regimented about scheduling activities. Plus, how far in advance do you really plan them? Maybe a few days to a few weeks in advance at the most (probably).

We’ve wung it plenty of times. Sometimes it goes great, other times it does not. We’ve found awesome local restaurants that can’t compare to the tourist traps most places have, and great artisan shops that don’t carry worthless souvenirs that you actually enjoy walking around in. But, we’ve also wandered into “no man’s land” plenty of times. We’ve ended up in some seedy areas, or aimlessly driving when we thought “we would have hit someplace by now.” It can make you feel like you’ve just wasted a huge chunk of time on your already short vaca.

Having a plan…
You are super organized and like having everything mapped out…no pun intended. You also want to make sure you get everything you can out of your limited time away. It can be a blessing to have a plan. It takes a lot of stress out of having to figure out where to go, when to eat, and what to do.

I am the type of person who likes regimen, especially when I’ve never been in said vacation spot before. I like knowing we have reservations so we know we won’t starve; I love not feeling stressed out about not knowing what to do next once one activity is over; I thoroughly enjoy not getting lost.

But, sometimes it can be hard to stick to a plan. Weather can get in the way and timing things appropriately can be difficult. You never know how long it will really take to walk through that museum or how long it will take to finally get the check, and that can lead to all different types of stress when things aren’t working out EXACTLY how you planned.

Final thoughts…
If going with the flow is right for you, go with it. I say always at least have some places in mind you’d like to visit; if it happens it happens, but if it doesn’t you don’t have to sweat it. And if having structure is more your speed, stick with that speed, but be flexible. You never know what will happen, and sometimes a ripple in your plan can lead to a great find you weren’t expecting.

My suggestion: make a loose plan for your trip, but don’t plan it down to the very minute. We like to go away with general goals and places in mind we’d like to see, but we don’t necessarily have to hold to those goals. It helps us keep an open mind and see the place for what it is. There is plenty you can do to plan while still making it spontaneous.

Make dinner reservations ahead of time, just in case; you can always cancel them if you find a hip spot you want to try instead. Make a list of some places you’d like to visit, both indoors and out, and see how they work into your trip as it goes along. Having some insurances in place will help you make the most of your time away without planning every second.

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