A short time away doesn’t mean a trip needs to be less exciting. Some of the best adventures come from packing a lot of fun into a few days. Whether you can’t get off work for a longer time or are just looking for an excuse to escape for the weekend, you can plan a fun getaway for a couple of days. Whether you’re ready for a road trip or are looking for a cheap flight, there are so many cool cities across the country beckoning you for the weekend.

When to Plan Your Trip

The beauty of weekend trips is that they allow you to throw together an overnight bag and hit the road. Get a list of the top things you want to do and see (or where to relax!), book a place to stay, and you’re practically ready to go. That said, you shouldn’t leave all your planning until the last second. A bit of advance planning goes a long way when it comes to a short vacation.

The best weekend getaways combine a sense of spur-of-the-moment adventure with some well-planned details. You can leave your days open, but make sure you’ve solidified your place to stay — as well as your path to get there — to keep the stress out of your time to unwind.

Air vs. Road

Just because you’re only going for a short time doesn’t mean you can’t go a long way. In fact, if you find a cheap flight to a cool destination, you might, in the end, save yourself travel time spent rolling along the highways. Look into flights in fun, funky cities that also have airports — think places like Nashville, Tennessee, or Austin, Texas.

If you don’t want the hassle of airports or can’t find a flight for your last-second excursion, the weekend is also a great excuse for a road trip. Driving lets you explore places further off the beaten trail, too. Book a bed-and-breakfast or a spot by the ocean or hiking trails, then explore places not in the latest travel guide.

Researching Your Weekend

No matter where you’re headed, you don’t want to waste the short time you have away scrambling for things to do. Read a few online guides or crowdsource suggestions about how to spend your weekend. People who have been to the place you’re going will have great insight into the best food, drinks, and attractions.

Consider visiting a smaller city that won’t have as many tourists to contend with as larger cities nearby. Depending on your chosen coast, San Diego in California or St. Petersburg in Florida both offer innovative food and drinks, relaxing beaches, and smaller crowds than their big neighbors.

Once you’ve settled on a few sights to see and a place to stay, pack a (small) bag and get ready to set out. Weekend trips are the perfect opportunity to explore places you might not otherwise go. Plan out the key points, like your travel and your room, and keep yourself open to a sense of adventure.