Weekends are very precious for most people living in the busy 21st century. Many people work hard during the week and look forward to lots of fun, play and adventure at the weekends.
So how can we ensure that we make the most of our weekends? And how can enjoy the best adventures when the rest of the week is so focused on the office?
Here are 14 tips for squeezing more adventure into your weekend
Spontaneity is lovely but when it comes to making the most of a weekend it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Check the calendar months before to spot bank holiday weekends and book early if you fancy a city break, a walking weekend or a cycling short break.
If you pick a bank holiday weekend so you can enjoy an extra day away, why not try to tag on one day of your own annual leave, too? A four-night break will feel so much more relaxing and rewarding than a three-night break.
Planning what to take and what to do is crucial to making the most of weekend. Compile a list of all the things you will need for a short walking or cycling holiday, or write the list for a weekend of family camping. Take a look at what other people pack, for example, on a family camping trip.
If you have a list you can pack more easily and make the most of a good weather window. Keep the list somewhere safe so you always have it when you need it.
Also read guides, such as a guide to cycle touring for families, so you are ready for an adventure.
Whether it’s walking, cycling, sailing, kayaking or camping, there are many benefits to spending time outdoors. If you want a weekend that offers some of the greatest rewards and helps you to return to your desk on Monday morning feeling re-energised and refreshed, then being outdoors is so often the winner.
Sign up to email and social media alerts for budget airlines and train companies. This means you can spot cheap travel offers and destinations. If you book a cheaper flight or train journey you can then tie this to a short walking holiday or cycling break. Try skyscanner.net to see which destinations offer great value from your home.
There is also the possibility of double the adventure if you spend some time in a city and some in the countryside. Even on a weekend break you will have time for both.
There are many great ideas for cyclists and walkers including a flight or train (depending on where you are starting from) to the south of France and then plan to Cycle Mont Ventoux. Or for walkers, it’s possible to head to Italy to walk the wonderful Cinque Terre over a short walking break.
Europe is the obvious destination for weekend breaks for UK residents but you could also look for flights overnight (Fridays or Thursdays depending on your weekend) to places a little further afield, such as New York or how about Morocco? A weekend in a more far-flung place can feel like a very rewarding experience – and it creates great stories for when you return to work on the Monday.
Another tip is to travel the weekend before or after a bank holiday weekend when trains and planes will be far quieter. If you can travel outside of school holidays then this is also the best time for great weekend deals and short breaks.
Make the most of every minute of your weekend by planning a micro-adventure. You do not have to go far from home but you should spend a night under the stars, whether it’s in a tent or a bivi bag. Take a friend or the family and find a beautiful spot that you can walk or cycle to.
It’s amazing how just one night away to enjoy an outdoors adventure can feel like far longer – and offer many more positive benefits.
By the way, many people enjoy micro-adventures between the hours of 5pm and 9am on a work night, which means you are adding to your weekend adventures with a mid-week outing.
Maximise you weekend by setting off straight from work or after school. Have everything ready the night before and plan to go directly to your chosen destination.
It can feel really exciting to be heading off on a weekend adventure as soon as you can, rather than going home first to pick up your bags. Just look at your children’s faces when you pick them up from school with the car already packed because you are heading off for a short family weekend break.
If you’ve never hiked a long-distance trail or walked a whisky trail or cycled an island, why not plan to do this on a weekend? Doing something different is so much more rewarding than doing the same as you do every other weekend.
It might be that you crave me-time in your weekend adventures but that can cause more problems than it solves if you have a partner and family. Why not use your weekends for more time with the family, rather than more time alone?
There are many benefits to a family adventure and you can even take young children on a great cycling holiday. Read our 5 tips for taking a toddler on a family cycling holiday, for example.
Volunteering can bring many personal rewards and benefits, including a sense of achievement, giving something back and mental and physical well-being.
There are plenty of ideas, too, for weekend volunteering such as conservation and sustainability projects. For example, you could check local parks and groups or contact larger organisations such as out The Wildlife Trusts, Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Trust (or similar organisations local to you).
Choose a walk trail or a cycling route that you can complete over one weekend. Be realistic about what you can do but do think about challenging yourself.
There is an amazing sense of achievement that comes form starting at A and walking or cycling to B on a recognised route. The C2C Cycle Route in the north of England is just one great idea
Or if you have less time and you are worried about your fitness why not do the highlight section of a walking trail, such as the famous West Highland Way?
If you are stuck for ideas of what to do to make the most of your weekends, ask friends or people you admire for their sense of adventure. Many people will be keen to share their enthusiasm and ideas with you. Post on social media asking your network for hints & tips. Most people will be happy to share.
It’s surprising how many people do not know the attractions, walking trails and cycling routes on their own doorstep. We are often to keen to head a way for a weekend but why not plan a weekend at home and investigate your local area?
Nothing better than a refreshing cycle on a crisp April Saturday! Part of the #MacsAdventure team got on our bikes this morning and set off on a bike ride towards Loch Lomond. Quiet, traffic free roads along rivers and canals through Glasgow, along the Clyde up towards the beautiful Loch Lomond. We're lucky to have gorgeous Scottish scenery just minutes from the office, and going on bikes and hikes together is good for the soul, the body and the team. Does anyone else go cycling with their team-mates? We can thoroughly recommend it!
Tell us your tips for squeezing more adventure into a weekend!