Before you start panicking, take a deep breath, pour yourself a glass of wine and use the tips below to create some travel magic:
1. Establish a base-line budget. How much do you have available for your weekend trip? Instead of going on the first weekend in May, should you wait a few more weeks to have a little bit more cash on hand? Once you know how much you can comfortably spend, start opening those internet browser tabs!
|This photo of Candlewood Suites Harrisonburg (VA)|
is courtesy of TripAdvisor. Photo taken by SvenskaSvea1987
in February 2014.
3. Arrange the events and entertainment for your trip. If you're going to a popular attraction, see if you can make entrance reservations in advance so that you can skip long queues. Research fees and other costs for your planned activities. If there are any dress codes or banned items, take note of it so that you won't be turned away when you arrive. Be sure to budget enough time for each activity so that you don't end up feeling rushed. Again, you can glean a wealth of information from sites like TripAdvisor regarding other travelers' recommendations for how much time you'll need for any particular attraction.
|Enjoying a street vendor's gyro in the Old Town|
Square, Prague, 2012
5. Make back-up plans for your back-up plans. "The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go awry," as Robert Burn's poem is so famously paraphrased. You might arrive at your destination and discover that the hotel has caught on fire. Or you show up at the Smithsonian and the one exhibit that you just had to see is closed for renovations. What are you going to do instead? If you've made a back-up plan or two, you can ensure a successful weekend no matter what curve-balls are thrown at you!
I've found that these five simple steps result in travel magic. Practice due diligence in your research in every step of your planning, and you will be rewarded with fantastic experiences.
~ Just a Thrifty Gypsy
|Paulaner Weiβbier enjoyed in Füssen, Germany, |
July 2010.© Thrifty Gypsy
* End note: Remember that all reviews found on TripAdvisor and similar websites are the sole opinion of the user and may not necessarily reflect the actual conditions of the attraction or lodging. What one person may find absolutely intolerable, may be perfect for your budget, purposes, and/or traveling style. Take all reviews with a grain of salt. Don't expect the Motel 6 in Virginia Beach to meet the same standards as the Ritz in New York City. But in general I have found the reviews helpful in determining what may or may not work for my trips. If you're interested in reading any of my reviews on TripAdvisor, my user name is SvenskaSvea1987.