Travel Insights Blog
Travel Insights Blog
You can do something good for yourself, your community and the environment. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Read on to learn how to plan the perfect outdoor weekend getaway — no experience needed.
Planning an outdoor weekend getaway might seem daunting, especially if you’re more of a Netflix marathoner than a seasoned hiker. But the benefits of getting off the couch and into the woods are impressive. As many of us discovered during the pandemic, outdoor time can restore the mind, body and soul worn out from long hours of staring at screens.
There’s growing evidence to prove it: exposure to nature has been linked to an impressive array of benefits, including increased attention and mood, lower stress levels, reduced risks of mental illness, and lasting improvements in happiness and feelings of connection. Spending time in nature might even motivate us to be better people, kinder to others and to the planet.
With rising mental health problems and a looming climate crisis, getting outside has never been more urgent. By making your next trip a nature getaway, you can do something good for yourself, your community and the environment. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Read on to learn how to plan the perfect outdoor weekend getaway — no experience needed.
When it comes to the outdoors, the sky really is the limit, but here are a few tips to bring your trip down to earth. First, timing is key; it will affect everything from weather and activities to pricing and booking availability. Luckily, spring brings milder weather and stunning scenery. To nail down the dates, look up seasonal trends in your area, like the best time to see blooming flowers or even spot some baby animals.
For less travel stress and more time outside, try sticking close to home. You might be surprised what hidden gems are just an hour or two and a Google search from your doorstep. Don’t be scared to branch out — big-name nature destinations often have obscure spots nearby that are no less stunning, but much less crowded and more affordable.
Next, what’s your outdoor vibe? Do you want to snuggle up in a cozy cabin, bird-watch from a hammock, or scale the tallest mountain in the tri-state area? If you’re a nature newbie, consider activities for maximum enjoyment and minimal expertise (and gear) required, in areas with well marked and maintained facilities.
The key to a great trip is the right company, but making group plans can feel like herding cats. To keep planning simple and the vibe relaxed, aim for 2–4 people. More can be merrier (and great for splitting costs), but harder to coordinate. Solo is also an option; some love connecting one-on-one with the great outdoors, but venturing into the wild alone can be risky, so you may want a friend by your side.
Compatible personalities, routines, and travel preferences are important, so it’s best to discuss these things up-front — don’t assume your friends are up for a 5am hike! Consider the group’s levels of outdoor skills and fitness; at least, you’ll want to have similar expectations for activities, like length, pace and intensity. Once you have your squad, try collaborating on an itinerary and packing list ahead of time to get everyone excited, involved, and on the same page.
And if you’re pressed for company, we have an app for that! Floqsta’s AI can connect you with your new travel crew based on personality, preferences and schedule.
Nature can be unpredictable, so it’s important to do your homework. The details will depend on your trip, but here are some general guidelines:
Monitor the forecast closely, and if possible, book flexible accommodations in case you need to reschedule.
• Pack for all possible weather, and plan ahead to have time to get everything you need. Some general essentials:
• Comfy, sturdy shoes
• Lot of socks
• Layers, layers, and more layers
• Synthetics or wool (they keep you warmer and dryer than cotton)
• A roomy backpack
• Rain gear
• A big reusable water bottle
• Plastic bags for muddy shoes, dirty clothes or trail trash
• Sunscreen (even if it’s not sunny!), bug spray
• A flashlight or headlamp
• A portable phone charger
• Books / journals / board games / card games for unplugged, IRL fun
• Check ahead if pillows, linens, towels, etc. are provided
• Fruit, trail mix and bars are great go-to outdoor snacks. Avoid anything that might melt / freeze / crack / spill in your bag.
Check for road closures, and pinpoint gas or charging stations, especially in remote areas. Map apps aren’t always great at finding trailheads, so look up directions on a site like AllTrails.
Always check park or local websites to see what’s open, and read up on hours, fees, and rules on parking, fires, camping, pets, music, alcohol, etc.
Have a backup plan in case your phone dies or loses service. Some seasoned trekkers invest in GPS devices, but for casual day hiking, a paper map from the visitor center will work. It’s always smart to share your plans and location with someone outside your group, just in case.
Take the time to browse blogs, podcasts, social media, or even pick up a book to learn about the area, get insider travel tips, and get in the mood for your trip.
That’s it! Now that the hard work is done, you can relax and let the weekend unfold. Take a deep breath (and a break from your phone), and enjoy the ride.
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