How To Get the Most Out of a Weekend Trip

If you know me at all, you know that I love to travel. Like, I’m one of those people who lists traveling as a hobby, mostly because I’m pretty boring and don’t do much outside of school, but also because I love it so much. The coolest place I’ve been so far is Ghana. It was way outside of my comfort zone and I was definitely a little apprehensive about going before I went, but the trip ended up being the most amazing two weeks of my life.

Unfortunately, as a college student, I don’t usually have the time to take two weeks to jet off to another country. What I do have time for, though, is little weekend getaways. I have friends who do this all the time, and they can be just as fun as a big trip out of the country, but without the stress of missing a bunch of school or work. This past weekend I went to one of my favorite places on the planet: Chicago. I’ve been visiting Chicago since birth, pretty much, since most of my extended family lives there, but whenever I go my time is usually filled up with family get-togethers. So this time, I went with the intention of visiting my brother. I went for four days (yay long weekends!), and boy were they packed. It’s definitely hard to pick what you want to see of a place when you have limited time, but I’ve come up with a list of things you should do in any city you’re traveling to that can easily be crammed into four days.

1. Museums. I’m a sucker for museums, as I was pretty much raised on them, so when I go to a new city I always look for cool new museums. You can learn so much about the history of wherever it is you’re traveling to, or see new works of art, or learn some new science-y thing. Every museum has something new and unique to offer, so I highly recommend trying to hit up at least one or two. A lot of museums offer student discounts too, so you can enrich yourself without breaking the bank!


2. Tourist attractions. Maybe you’ll look a little cliché, but you’ll be mad at yourself if you don’t visit a couple of tourist attractions. Especially when it’s something you see a lot on Instagram or Pinterest or wherever, experiencing the hype never gets old. My brother definitely laughed at me for wanting to walk by the Bean and take a picture under it, but hey, it’s not something I get to do very often so I may as well take five minutes to do it while I have the chance!

3. Cool neighborhoods/shops. Bonus points if you can combine the two. A lot of cities have well-known neighborhoods that are great to walk around, even if it’s just to look. This trip, my brother took me to a really cool area called Wicker Park that had a ton of obscure little vintage shops. Definitely not something you get to experience every day! Areas like this are always so unique and super fun to explore, and they’re perfect after a meal if you want to just walk off some food, or even beforehand if you’re waiting for a table!

4. Restaurants. That leads me into my next point, which I think is a pretty obvious one: forget about your diet for a few days and indulge yourself in the cuisine that the city has to offer! If you don’t want to eat out for every single meal, I recommend having each meal of the day at a different restaurant at least once. In other words, if you’re there for three days but don’t want to eat out for all nine or so meals, eat breakfast out the first day, lunch out the second day, and dinner out the third (or whatever your desired combination may be). I have my regular spots in Chicago that I love eating at whenever I’m in town, but I also like to branch out and try new ones every time I visit.

5. Rest time. This is often the last thing on people’s list of priorities when they’re traveling, but even if you’re only gone for a few days it’s important to remember to rest. You don’t want to wear yourself out so much that you find yourself unable to enjoy everything that your travel destination has to offer. Give yourself 30 minutes in between outings to rest your feet and your brain!

Traveling is good for the soul, but you don’t have to go all the way across the country, or across the world, to have an amazing experience. It is so easy to enrich your life with even just a short weekend trip, whether it’s with friends, family, or by yourself. Find the places that you know you’ll really enjoy, and pack in as many of them as you can! And it never hurts to find a couple of Instagrammable spots so your friends back at home can have a vicarious vacay. :)


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