How to Plan a Weekend Getaway on a Budget

July 9, 2021

Not only that but weekend trips are less expensive, you don't have to take time off, and it can be just what you need to prevent burnout and keep your energies and spirits up. 

What Makes the Perfect Weekend Getaway?

The best weekend getaways cater to your personal preferences and desires so you can get the most out of your short trip.

Some people are looking for weekend getaways near me, where they can be close to home but still take a break from their lives. Others are looking for cheap weekend getaways, so they can enjoy a vacation without spending too much. Then there are people looking for group weekend getaways or the best weekend getaways for couples. 

Take a moment to sit down and write a list of things you must have on a weekend getaway. This can help you decide the key elements of your weekend trip budget.

Start by Making a Weekend Getaway Budget

Weekend Getaway Budget Example

The more days you stay away the more your trip will cost.

This is why weekend trips are so great! You can vacation without breaking the bank simply by leaving for fewer days. 

According to Budget Your Trip, the average daily cost of a vacation for just one person comes to about $224. This means that a 2-day vacation would cost $448, a 3-day vacation would cost $672, and a longer 4-day vacation would cost $896. 

But you can save even more on a weekend getaway by cutting areas of your budget and making smart, money-saving choices. 

Download a Free Printable PDF for a Weekend Getaway Budget.

A vacation budget usually includes at least 4 categories.

Transportation, lodging, food, and entertainment. 

According to ValuePenguin the average cost of transportation for 4 nights is $224, lodgings are $150, food is $155, and entertainment is $52. A 4 night trip, from Friday to Monday, can cost a total of $581.

These 4 budget sections are what you'll need to figure out before going on vacation. Though there may be other things to consider depending on your personal preferences. For example, you might want to add a souvenir budget or create separate budgets for each person going on the trip. 

Budget for Transportation

As with any trip, you'll need to figure out what transportation you'll use, how much it will cost, and how you can save in this category. 

The farther from home you go the more expensive transportation costs are going to be. This doesn't mean you can't go far away for your weekend trip, it just means transportation will take up a larger portion of your budget if you do. You might have to make sacrifices in other areas of your budget, like which hotel you stay at if you want to go somewhere farther away. 

Since it's just a weekend trip, longer trips will also take up more of the little time you have to get away that weekend. But if you go somewhere close by, then you'll have even more time to enjoy your destination. 

You should also try and book accommodations that aren't too far away from everything. That way you can easily walk or ride bikes to wherever you want to go while on vacation. 

Budget for Lodging

If you book your accommodations well in advance then you are more likely to snag some deals. 

If you want to get into the habit of taking weekend trips, then try also getting into the habit of researching prices every so often. That way you'll see when prices go up and down.

You can also save on lodgings by choosing Airbnbs, hostels, or campgrounds to stay at instead of expensive hotels. If you go on trips very often, then investing in a trailer or some quality camping gear could actually save you money in the long term.   

Budget for Food

Eating out can easily become the most expensive part of a vacation. But you can save tons of money on food by packing your own meals and snacks.

No matter where you end up staying you can always bring your own food. If you're going camping you can pack food bags and coolers full of nonperishable foods. If you're going to a hotel or Airbnb you can find one with a kitchenette so you can make your own meals instead of spending tons of money eating out. 

But remember to keep item number 1 in mind! Maybe eating out while traveling is a big part of a vacation for you. If this is the case, then just calculate restaurant expenses into your weekend getaway budget. 

Budget for Entertainment 

There's nothing more disappointing than coming back from a trip where you didn't have time for everything you wanted to do.

You don’t want your weekend trip to feel like a waste of time. There might be specific things you want to do to entertain yourself while on vacation, like see a movie, go to a specific restaurant, see a show, go on a guided tour, or visit the zoo. 

Create a vacation schedule for yourself so you don't miss out on anything or unexpectedly spend money on tickets for something once you get there. 

By creating a schedule for entertainment ahead of time, you'll know how you're spending your weekend and how much each activity will cost. That way you can include your fun in your budget and not feel bad later for spending more than you thought you would. 

Entertainment can also be the most flexible part of your budget and an easy place to cut costs. Maybe instead of paying for an expensive tour you pick up a cheaper tour guide booklet and see the sites yourself. Or maybe you can find free things to do like go to a public beach or nature park. 

Download a Free Printable for a Weekend Getaway Schedule.

More Weekend Vacation Budget Tips

Now that you know how to save on your 4 key weekend budget categories, let's go over some other ways to trim your weekend budget. 

Split the Costs

One great way to get the most out of a weekend vacation while still saving money is to bring a group of people and split the cost. By renting a cabin with a bunch of friends or family members, you can stay at a really nice place for a much more reasonable price. 

Transportation costs can also be alleviated by inviting friends to tag along and help pay for gas. 

Pack Light

Packing light will not only make your life easier, but it can save you in the long run. By not packing too much you won't lose as many items in the hustle and bustle of traveling. 

You also won't have to pay extra traveling fees for having tons of luggage. 

Don't Spend Money Once You're There

If you plan carefully and bring your own things, you can get away with not spending money once you reach your destination. 

Eat your own food and bring your own entertainment. You might actually enjoy just reading a good book by the poolside instead of filling your weekend with expensive and busy activities. 

Look for All-Inclusive Options

Some resorts and cruises can be all-inclusive, meaning that you pay for your stay and they provide everything else. 

All-inclusive trips can also give you the best deal since one payment will pay for all categories of your budget. All you have to worry about is showing up. 

Put Vacations in Your Budget Now 

Planning ahead will always save you more, and that includes planning for your vacations now. Put away a little money each month into a fund just for trips. 

Then once you have enough to cover your vacation budget you can go, relax, have fun, and not worry about the money your spending because you saved it all up specifically for this. 

Use a Prepaid Debit Card 

Have trouble budgeting your spending once you're there? Just get a Prepaid Debit Card and use that for spending on vacation. With a prepaid debit card, you won't be able to go over budget and can protect yourself from your own money spending habits.