Travel is a passion for the team at Daily Mom. We’d travel all the time if we could, but that’s just not possible. One way that we all travel as much as we can is by taking weekend getaways instead of long vacations. You can take a weekend getaway with almost no notice and have the best time ever. In some ways a weekend getaway is superior to longer trips. However, just because you are taking a quick trip doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan that trip. Get the most out of your weekend getaway with these planning tips.
Pick A City You’ve Never Visited
Travel near to home or travel far away but choose a destination that is new to everyone. If you really want an adventure, make it an adventure! A trip where every experience is totally new to everyone traveling is so special. You can wander and get lost together. Seeking out new experiences is what weekend getaways are all about! You can have a blast planning out the weekend by letting everyone pick one thing they want to do. A new location ensures no one in your group turns into a tour guide. You all see it for the first time together, making new memories, and in turn making the destination of your weekend getaway a special place that will always remind you of your first trip there.
For a recent Daily Mom weekend getaway, two of our editors, Elena and Dani, took their kids to Portland, Oregon. They had never visited the Pacific Northwest before and went there craving a weekend that would let them escape their everyday lives. Elena lives in Florida and Dani lives in North Carolina so this trip actually took them to the other side of the country and they were able to do so in one weekend, leaving Friday and coming home on Monday. Elena and Dani travel frequently, but this was one place they had yet to visit, making for a weekend trip that really was a getaway in the spirit of being a Seekender (a traveler who loves to seek out adventure on short trips over the weekend.)
Your Hotel is Your Home Base
A crucial part of planning a weekend getaway is choosing the perfect place to stay. Because you are traveling away from home, you need a place where you can feel comfortable and safe. You need a place where your kids can recharge and reset in between adventures. You don’t need a lot of bells and whistles for a weekend getaway. Skip the giant resort with a spa. Your weekend trip is for exploring a new city, not getting a facial! Since your time is limited, pick a place that serves breakfast or even offers breakfast on the go so you can get out the door and start exploring as early as possible. If you are traveling with kids, you need a hotel that is kid friendly. You want to know what to expect when you check into your room.
We found that you can get all this and more when you stay at Hampton by Hilton. Hampton by Hilton locations are all over the country. Elena and Dani were thrilled with their stay at the Hampton by Hilton in the Gresham area of Portland. This location was very convenient to Mount Hood and downtown Portland. The rooms were beautiful and clean. While their days were packed full of activities, when they did return to the hotel, everyone was extremely comfortable and slept like babies. The beds in Hampton by Hilton are amazing! The kids loved the breakfast in the morning. What kid doesn’t love waffles? When they left too early for the big breakfast, they were able to grab breakfast to-go bags for free, just like the full breakfast offered in the hotel. The best part is you get all this for a very affordable price.
Be sure to find a Hampton by Hilton for your next weekend getaway.
Explore the Natural Beauty of the Area
There are two types of sights to see when you travel anywhere: the natural sights and the man-made. No weekend getaway would be complete without appreciating the natural beauty of the area you have chosen to visit. The diverse landscapes you will find all across the United States are just begging to be seen. When you plan a weekend getaway, pick at least one natural sight to see. This may mean you spend time at the beach, go for a walk by a river, or visit a local garden. No matter what you do, you will never regret taking time to soak in the sights that Mother Nature so graciously provides for us.
The natural beauty of the Portland area cannot be truly understood. You have to see it to believe it. Elena and Dani visited Silver Falls State Park and Mount Hood. Both places offer the best of amazing landscapes seen only in this part of the country. No trip to the Portland area would be complete without visiting these two places.
Visit at Least One Popular Attraction
You might be the type of traveler who only wants to visit places hidden from the average tourist. You want a unique weekend getaway. However, some places are popular for a reason, and the reason is they’re awesome! Don’t let popularity keep you from doing something while traveling that you might love. Be open to every experience, even if it means you wait in line or deal with a crowd.
Two popular stops in Portland are Voodoo Doughnuts and Multnomah Falls. Voodoo Doughnuts is ridiculously popular. There is always a line around the building, but Elena and Dani discovered that a sweet treat from here was worth the wait and part of an authentic trip to Portland. Multnomah Falls draws lots of people, residents and visitors alike, but you cannot miss this place about 30 minutes outside Portland. The power and beauty of the falls is something you can feel. If Elena and Dani had only wanted to visit less popular places in the city they would have missed out on two of the best places in Portland.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Part of the spirit of being a Seekender and going on weekend getaways is to step outside your comfort zone, stretch yourself and learn something. When you are traveling with kids this is even more important. Kids need to travel early and as often as possible. They are like little sponges and will soak up everything on an adventurous weekend getaway. This will set them up for a lifetime of curiosity about the world and the people in it.
Elena and Dani picked two experiences that they knew would take them outside their comfort zone and teach their kids about taking on adventure with excitement. They hiked for 4 hours with their 4 year olds, half expecting the kids to transform quickly from happy travelers to whining monsters. But they wanted their kids to learn about hiking and the beauty of experiencing our world first hand, so they planned a hike.
The kids were absolutely wonderful and hiked the whole way. Everyone ended that experience proud and satisfied at what they had seen and accomplished. They also took the kids indoor rock climbing. At first they were apprehensive, but by the end of their time climbing, they were all scaling the walls like pros. By stepping outside their comfort zones, the kids gained confidence in their own strength and courage.
Don’t Leave Dining Up to Chance
Dining, even on a quick trip, requires some planning if you want to do it well. The food you eat is part of the overall experience of a trip. Just because you are taking a weekend getaway doesn’t mean you can’t plan to eat some amazing local food during your time away. Here are some tips to eating well over your weekend away:
- Seek out reviews. Ask friends for recommendations. Check out reviews on YELP. Don’t blindly walk into a restaurant. Carefully consider advice and reviews and you are more likely to truly enjoy your meals.
- Plan out meals around the timing of your other activities. If you know you are hiking in the morning, pick a lunch spot not far from your hike. If you have tickets to a show, get an early dinner reservation so you have time to eat before the curtain goes up.
- Choose at least one place that is completely different from anywhere you normally eat at home.
- Avoid chain restaurants. Eat local!
Elena and Dani loved all the unique restaurants in Portland. Their favorite meal was brunch at Jam on Hawthorne where they had mimosas while the kids played in the restaurant’s play area!
Elena, Daily Moms managing editor, is part of the Ultimate Seekender team. Elena has a travelers soul. She just cant stay in one place and takes off on adventures every chance she gets. While she does travel on her own, her passion is traveling with her daughter so she can experience as much as possible. As part of the Seekender Team, Elena has been bringing you travel posts to motivate and inspire more family travel. Here you can learn more about the Seekender movement.
Follow the Ultimate Seekender Team with #seekender. What are you waiting for?
Hopefully you are ready to plan a weekend getaway with your kids now. Share your planning and travel experience with us using #seekender. Embrace the spirit of the Seekender!
Photo Credits: everyavenuegirl