Well for those of us trudging through the realities of 9-5 jobs, keeping up with mortgages, and keeping our kids on a local elementary school schedule (since hey, our tax dollars paid for it anyhow), being a “weekend warrior” might pack more punch than you realize for the taste of travel and exploration you are yearning for.
Whether you’ve got kids or you are flying solo, being a weekend warrior doesn’t have to break the bank. And while jet setting for a 3-day getaway to the Caribbean sounds amazing, that’s not what this article is about!
If you are looking for ways to feel like you are “traveling” more often than your budget or PTO will allow, here are some tips for keeping the costs low.
As a perk, these tips have a few double benefits for doing so with your little ones as you prep them to be great travel partners one day…
1) Aim to cover distance – you don’t even have to travel out of town for this one. Look around, find some land, nature preserves, or even a beach. Test your endurance and become more familiar with the land that surrounds you.
Pushing your endurance to cover more distance than you typically would on a Saturday morning stroll will enhance your feeling of accomplishment tenfold.
Plus you will get a great workout and will be better prepared to one-day take on that big backpacking trip you’ve been dreaming of during your boring weekly sales meeting!
Kid tip: pack a light backpack with snacks, of course, but pace your distance based on the supplies you are carrying. When you are halfway through your food, water and diaper supply, turn around!
Try to avoid setting time goals. It will ease any angst of “getting home on time”. Also, don’t set distance goals, let them go at their pace and enjoy the scenery and learning moments.
2) Camping – mainly because it’s literally like 10x cheaper than the Marriott, but also because it will bring about all new experiences and a total sense of survival and accomplishment. Cramming that in a weekend will make you feel alive and in touch with nature to say the least!
Also, consider testing yourself with different camping “scenarios”, try car camping for dummies, minimizing for back pack camping, and even pack-in camping for more “extreme” opportunities.
Kid tip: make camping a norm from an early age. Have even more fun by Finding/teaching your kiddos some of your own survival hacks. Don’t have any? Check out these fun kid-friendly survival tips for getting them started early.
3) Pay attention to experiences you may have overlooked. Hiking, kayaking, swimming, picnicking, bird watching, snorkeling. After you’ve seen one state park “activity list”, you’ve seen them all! But the question is: have you done them all? at that particular place? Take the time to soak it all up over your weekend. You will have a richer experience and it just may just surprise you.
Kid Tip : whether for not you have done it 89 times, more can be made out of a park trip than we often take the time to enjoy. Let the kids enjoy the basics. Explore every nook and cranny.
4) Seek out new local terrain – within a few hour radius of home, explore Google Earth, and seek out the opportunity to explore the land and areas that are new and unfamiliar.
In some cases, like where we are in Florida, we can seek out swamp, beach, lake, sugar sand, scrub oak, springs and more within a 2 hour drive.
Google Earth serves up a literal birds-eye view to checking out new places without needing a plane. But do bring your tent, because you will never know where the path may lead!
Kid tip: have the kids be a part of exploring Google Earth to decide where you are going to explore, when you are done, keep a map and mark it with flag pins or stickers to show them where they’ve been. As a bonus, this may spur excitement over more semi-local exploring.
5) AirBnB Rental: Find an AirBnB in an area rich with new territory and places to explore. For us that might mean finding a place to stay in, say, the Canaveral area where we would have easy access to a NASA tour and museum or perhaps kayaking in the Indian River Lagoon (the most biodiverse estuary in North America).
AirBnB “Experiences” -speaking of AirBnB, here’s a great option for when you don’t know the area. Its called AirBnB Experiences and its still relatively new.
Basically, it could be the host you are staying with or another host but you book your experience with them and they take you to see things you probably would not have known about otherwise.
It could be a two hour walk in a nearby jungle or it could be multi-day “immersion”. Maybe even a simple workshop to learn a new skill? Take your pick and if you want to learn more about it here’s a link.