How to Take Advantage of School Breaks Part 1: Tips for Squeezing in Travel When the Kids Are Not in School

Since Jereme and I both work, and our kiddos keep us busy with school and sports, we aren’t a full time traveling family. But, I have become an expert at taking advantage of school breaks! I have several tips for squeezing in travel when the kids are not in school that I hope you find helpful!

We’ve created so many wonderful family memories traveling over school breaks!

Now, I’m not saying that you have to travel every single time your kids are on a school break. Sometimes it is so nice to rest and recharge at home. But there are several different times throughout the school year that taking a trip might be fun for you and your family, besides just during the summer! Below, I’ve included some tips and things to keep in mind when traveling over a long weekend. I’m also sharing some of our favorite travels over different school breaks that we’ve recently taken!

Tips for Traveling Over a Long Weekend

Finding the time to travel over a long weekend does involve some planning ahead, but it can be a lot more budget friendly than a longer trip! So, first things first. Get your school calendar at the beginning of the school year and take note of when you’ll have long weekends for possible travel and start making plans. When thinking about the destination you’d like to visit, the biggest consideration will be the amount of time that will be spent on the travel days. Do you have time for a road trip or will flying be the better and faster option? There are several pros and cons to weigh when traveling over a long weekend. One pro is that you don’t have to pack as much, but a con is not having a ton of time in the location you’re visiting! Below are more things to think about when taking advantage of school breaks and traveling over a long weekend.

  • Choose closer destinations to reduce the amount of time spent on traveling
  • Plan a Staycation
  • Take a day trip
  • Camping can be a fun and easy weekend getaway
  • Keep it simple – don’t try to pack in too many activities
  • Off season travel (fall/winter) can be less crowded & more budget friendly
  • Think about the weather at your destination
  • Remember that attractions are typically busier on weekends
  • Hotels can be more expensive on Friday and Saturday nights
  • Visit a National or State Park

National Parks also have free entrance on certain days throughout the year. Below is the list of days for the year (2023) that you can visit the Parks for free!

  • Jan. 16 — Martin Luther King Day.
  • April 22 — First day of National Park Week.
  • Aug. 4 — Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act.
  • Sept. 23 — National Public Lands Day.
  • Nov. 11 — Veterans Day.
Weekend travel bonus: The shorter the trip, the less you have to pack!

Weekend Travel Destination Recommendations:

I really have become an expert at planning weekend trips! We’ve taken advantage of several school breaks and squeezed in some amazing places, just over a long weekend. Below are some of my favorite long weekend getaways!

We had no idea just how amazingly unique this National Park is!

Winter: Carlsbad Caverns, NM – This is our most recent long weekend family trip that we were able to make over our school break for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday! This is the perfect weekend destination because you don’t need too many days to really explore these impressive caverns and the temps inside the caverns stays the same year round!! The drive for us was about seven hours, so we left out early on Saturday morning and arrived in the early afternoon. Then we explored the caverns for most of the day on Sunday and drove back home on Monday. We all were amazed inside the caverns and Jake participated in the Jr. Ranger program while we were there and earned a badge.

Inside the caverns is like what I imagine being on another planet is like!

Click here for my complete guide about visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park!

Chicago is such a fun city!

Spring: Chicago, IL – Chicago is a great weekend destination! I’ve been lucky to find reasonable airfare to the Windy City using both Google Flights and Skyscanner. I also feel like this destination can be more budget friendly since you don’t need to rent a car! I’ve visited Chicago over the weekend, both with my boys and on a girl’s trip! The city in the spring is absolutely wonderful, the weather is perfect and the flowers are in bloom everywhere. There are so many great places to eat, some of the most impressive museums I’ve ever visited, and so many fun outdoor adventures.

I really couldn’t get over the flowers that were everywhere!

Click here for my complete on visiting Chicago!

Love that Dallas skyline!

Anytime: Dallas, TX – Our Dallas Staycation has been one of my favorite weekend trips to date! We’ve lived close to Dallas my whole life, and I had no clue how much fun exploring our nearest city would be. My family took advantage of the CityPASS and it made exploring Dallas not only fun, but extremely easy! With the CityPASS, we got ideas of where to go and then were able to skip all the entry lines with the PASS. This trip was also extremely budget friendly, since it was so close and didn’t require a lot of gas to get there. Plus, we went with friends and split the cost of parking and the hotel.

These kids thoroughly enjoyed a “fancy” hotel with a rooftop pool!

Click here for my complete guide on visiting Dallas!

Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park really is a dream!

Fall: Estes Park, CO – Last fall, I traveled to Estes Park, CO on a solo road trip to the mountains. Even teachers need a break sometimes, and the long weekend we had off in October was just the time I needed to recharge. I met up with some of my girlfriends there, and together we spent our weekend hiking, watching wildlife, and being pampered! I highly recommend this destination for a long weekend getaway, either with your family or with your friends!

Emerald Lake in RMNP!

Click here for my complete guide on visiting Estes Park & the Rocky Mountains!

Plan Like a Pro!

Whether you’re traveling over a weekend or for an entire week, you should plan your trip like a pro! Here are some ways to do that!

  • Read travel blogs (like for inspiration.
  • Check out Pinterest for more information specific to your destination.
  • If flying – find flights under 2-3 hours max.
  • If driving – don’t go farther than 4-6 hours unless you’re a road trip pro!
  • Google search free activities or “best attractions” at your destination.
  • If you’re visiting a city, look into the CityPASS for additional savings.
  • Have a plan in mind, choose at least one thing to do or see each day.
  • Make sure you pack for the right weather, check the forecasts ahead of time.
  • Allow some down time, either before, during, or after your trip.
  • Expect some travel delays and keep a positive attitude.
  • Take tons of photos!

I hope you have found these tips helpful and that you’re able to squeeze in some amazing adventures over the next school break! Be sure to check back soon for more tips about traveling over longer school breaks!


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