One of the main reasons we decided to move to Sicily was so that we would have the opportunity to travel with our kids. So far, we love it! Obviously we’ve gotten to go on our fair share of longer trips this past year, but we’ve also found that we love taking advantage of long weekends for quicker getaways. Shorter trips generally mean less packing, less expense and less stress! So far we’ve taken weekend trips around Sicily to Modica, Ragusa and Noto, Cefalu and Agrigento, as well as our recent trip to Venice.
Along the way, we’ve picked up a few ideas for how to get the most out of a long weekend. Now, we hope we can help you do the same.
1. Minimize transit time. The main problem with traveling over a long weekend can be time spent getting from Point A to Point B. Who wants to spend two days out of three trapped in an airport or a car? For this reason, I’d highly recommend sticking to direct flights only. Even if you have to pay a little extra, the having an extra several hours in the city you are visiting can often be worth it. If you are road-tripping it, my personal threshold is no more than four hours at the very most — obviously everyone has their own feelings about driving, but four hours each way is absolutely as much as I can stand doing within the same weekend!
Ah yes, this fun road! From our trip to Modica, Ragusa and Noto.
2. Schedule your arrivals and departures carefully. Basically, this is more or less the same reasoning as above. Say you’ve only got three days off (Saturday-Sunday-Monday or Friday-Saturday-Sunday), you want to make sure you have as much time as possible on each of those days. Shoot for leaving as early as possible on the first day, and as late as possible on the third. We did this very thing on our recent trip to Venice, and it worked out great. Plus, we felt like we had the better part of three whole days but only had to pay for two nights in a hotel.* #itsthelittlethings.
*As a reminder, we stayed at the Venice Dream House in Venice and absolutely loved it. I highly recommend!
3. Have a plan. I’m not saying that you need to have yourself scheduled hour-by-hour, but if you only have two or three days to explore a city you should have a solid idea of what your sightseeing priorities are and what hours attractions are open. You don’t need to waste time sitting in your hotel Googling things! I’d also highly, highly recommend that you know ahead of time how you are getting from the airport to your hotel so you aren’t trying to figure that out on the fly. If you are the type that struggles to decide where to eat, I’d even recommend looking up some options for that ahead of time as well — after all, that doesn’t mean you have to go there if somewhere else strikes your fancy, but if you are struggling at least you have a plan to fall back on. I had compiled a list of “cheap eats” for Venice ahead of time because I didn’t want to waste time wandering around looking for somewhere that wasn’t outrageously expensive, and that absolutely came in handy. Likewise, in Modica we had a restaurant in mind that was recommended by a friend and that made our dinner plans super simple because we didn’t have to run around comparing menus.
4. Consider buying skip-the-line passes ahead of time for major attractions. Once again, this is a time vs. money situation. If you only have a few days in a city, maybe you don’t want to waste two hours of your day waiting to get into somewhere like Basilico San Marco. It is best to do your research ahead of time as to what the crowds are likely to be like at the time of year you are traveling, and evaluate whether buying tickets ahead of time is worth it to you.
Piazza San Marco, Venice
5. Assume you’ll be back someday. For all my talk of having a plan and seeing as much as you can, don’t knock yourself out trying to see every last possible thing that can be considered a tourist attraction! Even if you don’t know when you’ll ever get back to a specific place, don’t stress yourself out thinking that this is your only opportunity to see it. Life is long and weird. And chances are if you are on a weekend trip, you are going to have to go back to work or school or whatever as soon as you get back — remember that you need to relax before you head back!
Aperol spritz, anyone?
Now, I want to hear from you! Where is your favorite place to go for a long weekend?