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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips. 

Every year,  we look forward to fall’s flurry of long weekends. We’re excited to dip our toes in the water, explore cityscapes, explore open-air markets, and stroll beautiful beaches, so long as the weather holds! We’ve compiled some useful tips to help you game-plan your long weekend trip so you get the most out of it, without burning through too many vacation days.

RELATED:  10 best U.S. cities for a long weekend

Consider a city’s time zone when choosing a destination

Many East Coasters love the idea of a long-weekend in Vegas or L.A. But from a timing perspective, does only three nights make sense? You will likely experience jet lag, and because of the big time difference, a three-night escape may not the best fit for this type of short getaway.

Be an early-bird flier and a night-owl

As you search flights, don’t let cost be your only deciding factor. Your fellow travelers are flying again and that means airports are busy and security lines are longer. Taking the first direct flight out not only means you’ll beat the rush, but you’ll start your vacation earlier, too, savoring the afternoon and early evening in your vacation spot. Take this strategy one step further: On the way back, opt for red-eye flight and have your hotel hold your luggage so you can enjoy an extra full day in your destination, without springing for an extra hotel night.

Pick a hotel with free perks

When you are searching for a hotel, look for free baked-in extras like free breakfast, free parking, an onsite pool, and complimentary coffee. An on-site breakfast saves you time and money, plus the hassle of scrambling to find a place to eat. Meanwhile an onsite pool is a welcome respite after a busy morning of sightseeing. Finding properties with these amenities is easy, thanks to handy filters you can check off. where you book on Orbitz.com.

ALSO: Earn travel perks and Orbucks toward hotels with Orbitz Rewards—it’s free to join!

Plan your itinerary in advance

Research attractions, make reservations, and buy tickets before you get there to save time, so that you can be sure that you get to see and do everything that you want. You don’t have to have plans in every 30-minute increment, but do have a loose itinerary and timeline. If you wait and try to “wing it” when you get there, you might find that there’s no tickets or dining times available. Another way to save time: Buy “skip the line” tickets to museums and other attractions via Orbitz!

Do a little meal planning

If staying in a vacation rental (or hotel room equipped with a kitchenette), opt for quick-prep meal solutions, especially for breakfast and lunch. A quick run to a nearby grocery store could save you a good deal of time and money.

Pack light

Three nights and four days shouldn’t warrant checked luggage. Nothing puts a damper on an airport arrival then sitting at the luggage carousel waiting for your suitcase to appear on the luggage belt. And even worse, what if your luggage doesn’t appear because it’s delayed or lost? Not only are you saving fees but aggravation! Put some thought into your packing needs. Don’t over pack; instead, try visualizing what you actually will wear, and pack mix-and-match outfits. Another tip: Wear your bulkiest shoes so you save carry-on space. You can also buy essential toiletries like sunscreen or first-aid needs at your destination. Bring a backpack or a small tote bag to stretch your carry-on capacity. This extra bag can also be utilized a day-bag on your trip.

Tagged: Feature

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