Extended weekend getaway refreshes for less

Weekend vacations are beneficial to you and your family

With the economy still iffy and a lot of jitters over world events, many people wonder about taking a vacation. Plus, their credit card balances may not have dropped much. Even so, an escape is definitely in order. What’s a viable alternative? How about a weekend getaway? Even better: make it an extended weekend–three or four nights instead of the customary two.

You may not realize, or perhaps forgot, that valuable destinations are much closer than you think. You don’t have to fly overseas to getaway. The following steps will help you change your perspective on vacations. Perhaps they will convince you to get away. Some tips to consider:

1. Stay close to home – You don’t need to drive far. How far is far? That depends on your tolerance for driving. Considering that you’ll be gone only three or four days, keep it to within three hours’ distance. (I prefer two hours.) You might have dozens of communities to choose from. Literally point to a spot on the map (or GPS screen) and say, “Let’s go there.”

2. Do some research on the ‘net – Every community of any size has a website. Check them out for attractions, accommodations, and upcoming events. Don’t get too wrapped up in planning, however. Part of the fun of taking a weekend vacation comes from winging it once you’ve arrived. I like making the hotel reservation before leaving for some peace of mind. But beyond that, just make a list of possible activities. They can include:

– Checking out a craft fair or county fair.

– Touring a noteworthy business, such as a brewery, winery, furniture manufacturer, or other firm. You’d be surprised at how interesting a tour can be, especially if the group is small.

– Visiting or participating in a local event. These are usually tied to the history of the community, and could be farm- or industry-related. One community in southwestern Wisconsin holds a cow chip-throwing contest each summer. Another showcases morel mushrooms in spring. You’ll be amazed at what you learn about your state.

3. Consider all options for accommodations – I prefer staying at hotels because I like lounging in a pool, but there are other options. Some people enjoy the coziness and family environment of a bed and breakfast. If gambling is your thing, consider staying at the adjacent hotel. If you plan to be out a lot, a simple and clean motel will suffice.

Occasionally you will find homeowners willing to rent a room for a weekend or other short period. This happens most often in conjunction with a major event in the area. Hotels are booked, and homeowners take advantage of the huge influx of visitors. Milwaukee-area residents experience this during the Harley-Davidson reunions.

As you can see, a weekend getaway to a nearby community can be fun and relaxing. You’re not going far, so you won’t get stressed out from driving. It’s also a lot cheaper than a standard vacation. Best of all, you return home refreshed. You left your usual confines behind, and immersed yourself in a new environment for several days. You may find you and your family enjoyed the trip so much, you’ll do that several times a year.

What do you do and where do you go to escape for a short period of time? Feel free to comment below. And, if you enjoyed this column, please share it so that others may benefit from what you and I have written. Thanks!

Tom Fuszard, cheap vacations, where to stay in Las Vegas


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Tom Fuszard
New Berlin, Wisconsin

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