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I am a super-huge fan of traveling; however, my adult-style job means I have precious few vacation days available. That means that weekend road trips are even more valuable to me, however I never seem to get around to planning enough of them. Allow me to lay the groundwork for you, for creating a weekend getaway gift, which would work perfectly as a birthday or anniversary gift for your husband/wife/boyfriend/bestfriend/girlfriend/parents/grandparents… really whomever you want! It could also be a great wedding gift idea. It really all comes down to budget.
Google Maps keeps changing itself, sometimes making it harder for me to find what I’m looking to find. (Take the tutorial that pops up you say? I never have time for that, I’m much too last minute and/or lazy!) A feature I would love to see would be an “hours by car” radius. Show me a map of the furthest away points I can drive from my house in a five hours, pretty please. That’s about as far as I want to go for a weekend. This aside is to tell you that your first planning task is to determine how far away you can comfortably plan a weekend getaway gift. A hotel stay gift certificate that’s for somewhere 15 hours away isn’t quite as thoughtful, unless your recipient is looking for an excuse to go there, or doesn’t mind chipping in for all of the travel expenses!
Now that you have a rough area to work in, start taking a look at the various groupon style websites out there; Living Social, Groupon, TeamBuy, WagJag, etc. etc. Almost all of them have travel sections, or will list hotels on their city pages. There is also Groupon Coupons, a great new part of Groupon where you don’t have to spend in advance! You can pick up free coupons from more than 55,000 places!! You can add in some coupons for the weekend, for places like Target, Starbucks, American Eagle and more!
If you are in Canada, I like using AllDailyDeals.ca, making sure to select “Show Multiple Deals per Site” at the top. It’s quick and you can check multiple cities. If you don’t find anything there, try searching Expedia and the like, or looking for Bed and Breakfasts in the appropriate towns. Once you have a location, you can start to put together more of the weekend getaway gift!
What is there to do in the area? What kind of restaurants are there? Can you add in a restaurant gift certificate (or a few). Maybe a Tims card for breakfast, if breakfast isn’t included with the accommodation? Next, look for activities. Maybe there is a museum, or a local theatre production, or whale watching, or…? I would try to avoid giving enough that every single minute of the day is busy, this is supposed to be a weekend getaway after all!
If it’s a Pacific-coast hideaway, they may need some bug spray, and maybe even some sunscreen. There are a lot of things you can pick, right down to toothpaste, to bring this gift idea together, that they will need and use on the weekend getaway. You could even put together a mini road trip care package, using some ideas from the post I put together. You could also look for road maps, or pick up a CAA/AAA membership. Pro tip: if you have your own CAA/AAA membership, you can get some relevant maps for free!
Not everything needs to be a “use it right that second” type gift. If the recipients are even the slightest bit crafty, you could pick up a credit to a photo book company, like Blurb, so they can put all of their new memories into a book.
If you are feeling extra generous, pack your entire “weekend getaway gift” into some luggage!
Would you like to receive a weekend getaway gift? I know I sure would! When was the last time you went on a weekend getaway?
[Photo – Creative Commons Attribution – larry1732]
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