Much like barbies, beach days and vegemite on toast, public holiday long weekends are a cherished Australian tradition.
Depending on which state you live in and the work you do, you’re probably eligible for six or seven of these revered three-day sojourns a year. That isn’t many when you think about all the benefits that come with taking regular breaks from the daily grind. An improved sense of health and wellbeing, stronger connections with families and friends, increased productivity at work and the avoidance of professional burnout are just some of the often cited possible benefits. So, with all that goodness on offer, it’s well worth scheduling some DIY long weekends in between the official ones. We’ll leave the actual negotiating of the extra Fridays-or-Mondays-off to you, but here are some top tips for planning the perfect long weekend. Book accommodation for your long weekend with Choice Hotels.
Go Somewhere Different.
We all have our ‘go-to’ getaway destinations; places we’ve holidayed in before, know well, and feel comfortable re-visiting. But just remember that change is as good as a full four weeks off, and your home state (if that’s as far as you feel comfortable travelling at present) is packed with characterful towns, epic landscapes, interesting stories and memorable moments just waiting to be enjoyed. So consider planning a long weekend somewhere you haven’t been before. Ask friends and family for ideas, read the travel section in the weekend papers, browse popular travel blogs and get inspired!
Minimise travel time and maximise relaxation time.
Of your three days away, a proportion of days one and three will be taken up by travel, and you’ll want to keep that aspect of the trip to a minimum. If you’re self-driving, choose a destination that’s within two of three hours of your home base. Get an early start on day one and plan to arrive home at a reasonable time on day three so you can prepare for the week ahead. If you do plan to fly, factor in the extra time and cost, including getting to and from the airport, possible flights delays and the cost of a hire car.
Have a plan in place.
Many of us like to ‘wing it’ when on holiday, but when time is relatively short, having at least a basic plan in place will ensure you get the most from your valuable time away. Check attraction, museum and gallery opening times, and slot them in to your schedule. Pre-book tours and guided experiences to ensure availability. It’s always worth dropping by the local visitor information centre at the start of your stay to pick up additional intel on what’s on around town.
Do something awesome on day two.
The beauty of a long weekend is that you have an uninterrupted day in the middle, which is perfect for doing something that you wouldn’t necessarily have time to do on a standard issue two-day weekend. Consider doing an organised wine or food tour, a full day hike, a boat cruise, or perhaps a short course or masterclass. The options, like your time on day two, are limitless.
Take lots of walks.
Walking is where it’s at if you want to feel refreshed and revitalised on your return to normal duties. Walk as much as you can throughout your three days away and fill your lungs with fresh air. Go bushwalking and breathe in the scent of the amazing Australian bush. Explore local parks and gardens on foot, and see if the visitor information centre offers a self-guided heritage walking tour map (which is always a great way to familiarise yourself with a destination and learn some of its history along the way).
Give the tech a break.
This one’s a toughie as these days our phones are like an extra limb, and some studies suggest that Australians spend upwards of five hours a day gazing at their screens. But most experts agree that a complete recharge means leaving your phone on charge. Try it for at least part of the day, and send off those selfies at a designated time each afternoon.
Make every meal memorable.
Your three days away will encompass two breakfasts, two dinners, and perhaps three lunches, and it’s worth going to some effort to make them all memorable. Read reviews and plan where you are going to eat for each meal, then make bookings where necessary. Farmers’ markets make a great option for cost effective breakfasts and lunches, and you can mix and mingle with the makers as part of the deal.
Plan your DIY long weekend with Choice Hotels.
Choice Hotels has you well and truly covered across Australia with a superb range of accommodation options to suit every budget. Search online and book direct for a Lowest Price Guarantee.
About the writer:
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has previously had the opportunity to travel the world as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten.