Best ways to enjoy your Northwest getawayVacation time and getaway weekends can be hard to come by with busy work and school schedules and lots of responsibilities around the house. That makes it even more important that you get the most from your travels and come back feeling like it was time well spent.
The experts say there are ways that you can help insure that you and your Significant Other -- and your family -- all have a good time. Most tips are very simple, but often travelers don't think about them before it's too late. Here are a few tips to consider as you plan your weekend getaway here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Plan ahead. It's great to be spontaneous but it's going to cost you more if you do wait until the last minute. You'll get better deals on travel and lodging. Pick a time, make your reservations and then have fun anticipating your new destination.
Choose your travel-mate carefully. Most of us travel with our spouse or family but sometimes you'll want to take a friend along. It's important that, when you choose your travel mate, you consider tastes -- for example, does your friend love historical attractions the way you do? Even the best of friends can get really tired of each other if they really don't travel the same way.
Buy tickets ahead of time. If you're planning on seeing certain attractions, you can avoid disappointment by getting online and buying your tickets ahead of time. Some places sell out, especially on weekends.
Reserve your lodgings. It sounds adventurous to choose your lodgings when you get to your destination, but you really need hotel reservations unless you are very, very flexible about where you stay. There is always the chance that the Hardware Dealers of America will just happen to schedule their convention at your destination during your vacation or getaway, blocking out every hotel room within 50 miles.
Research your room rate online. Researching your hotels online and finding the best rates is highly preferable to paying the hotel's highest rack rate when you walk in the door without a reservation.
Plan your music ahead of time. Make sure you've downloaded some playlists to your smartphone, or picked out your favorite CDs to bring along and play in the car.
Leave work early. Here's a tip to make sure your spouse or Significant Other will be in the best mood -- Leave a few hours early from work the day before go so you can help pack.
Don't be cheap. Along those lines, is don't stress about the little stuff. It's only a weekend, so go ahead and splurge for a little nicer room or fancier dinner. Dining out while on a weekend getaway is especially important on a couple's getaway -- it's time for you and your Significant Other to reconnect.
Allow extra time. Be sure to allow extra time to get to your destination because there is ALWAYS something to stop and see along the way that you didn't anticipate. And it just adds more relaxation to your trip.
Don't talk about work. The experts advise that it's best to limit your talk about work because it will be as stressful as actually BEING at work.
Be flexible. If your kids or spouse want to stop and enjoy a particular site or attraction, go along with the program. Don't be too rigid in your planning.
Don't check a bag. If you're flying, the experts say don't check a bag because it's too likely that you and your luggage will end up in different locations and there's no time to fix that on a weekend getaway.
Embrace plastic bags. A good way to keep your essential toiletries and other small items right where you need them is to put them in plastic bags that you pack in your carry-on.
Choose colors carefully. More stylish travelers are careful about the color of the clothes that take -- the use neutral color palettes like tans, blacks, whites and grays and the ladies add a splash of color with accessories. That makes it easier to fit things in your carry-on.
Choose your outfit carefully. Air travelers will want to carefully choose their airplane outfit -- one that can be worn both directions. Always wear your heaviest outfits on the plane.
Use Google Maps. This can be your starting point in planning your road trip and it's especially useful because you can easily compare the mileage for alternate routes.
Use printed maps, too. Don't give up on real, printed maps. It's good to have one in your car, even if you have a GPS system. You get a better overview of the entire area by looking at the printed map.
Don't be afraid to take the road less traveled. The freeway is always faster, but sometimes you'll find the most unique attractions are on the two-lane roadways. Taking these alternate routes add to the sense of adventure.
Enjoy the trip home. Plan extra time and stop and see the sights along the way back.
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