Now could be the perfect time to start booking that vacation you’ve been craving all this time. A chance to explore a new city or even a new country. But what if you haven’t got the holiday time or money to book a two-week vacation?
A weekend away could be all you need. There are lots of great reasons to choose a weekend break over a longer vacation: a) it’s a lot more affordable b) you don’t have to book as much time off work and c) you can cram in lots of activities so that you won’t get bored. It could even be a way of visiting multiple destinations in a year instead of just settling for one annual vacation.
Of course, when planning a weekend away, you don’t want to be jetting off too far. Not only will it be expensive to fly to Sydney or Thailand, but you could end up spending more time on a plane than at your actual destination.
Staying in the US is often the easiest option, however, if you’re eager to go abroad there are still many places within reach including Canada, Mexico, and even parts of Western Europe and South America.
Below is a guide to some of the best places to travel to for a fun weekend away including some info on what to do while you’re there and how much you can expect to spend, including. hotels, flights, and some spending money.
Bear in mind that some of these places are still yet to lift lockdown rules and may not be possible to travel to straight away.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Most tourists visit the Dutch capital for one of the three things: the weed, the nightlife, and the notorious red-light district. If you’re young and looking for fun, then you definitely won’t be disappointed by Amsterdam. However, there’s so much more to this city if you’re all about the culture. It’s full of fascinating museums, and there are so many exciting options for getting around including hiring a bike, taking a tram, cruising down the canal, or even taking a double-decker train. East coast residents are likely to find this city more easily accessible than those on the west – it’s about a 7-hour flight from New York. It’s also a very expensive city (so save up your pennies).
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $1235
Atlanta, GA, USA
If you’re looking for a relatively affordable weekend break to a stateside city, Atlanta is worth considering. Its colorful streets, beautiful parks, delicious food, and lively bars make it a very buzzing city. It’s also got a lot of history to explore, having played an important part in the American Civil War and 60s Civil Rights Movement (you can visit the home of Martin Luther King Jr). And, of course, there’s the hip hop scene – it has spawned artists ranging from T.I. to Andre 3000 and has an exciting live scene.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $856
Austin, TX, USA
This Texas city lives by the motto ‘keep Austin weird’ and is home to all kinds of bizarre and quirky attractions from odd museums to a cathedral made out of junk. If you’re a fan of the eccentric, a weekend away in this city is likely to be right up your street. Austin also has some fantastic bars and restaurants and also hosts various music festivals throughout the year including Austin City Limits and Urban Music Fest.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $792
This Spanish city is known for its beaches, arts scene, and stunning architecture. The Sagrada Familia is its most well-known landmark – an intricately designed cathedral that has been under construction for over 100 years (and is still yet to be completed). Works from the likes of Dali and Picasso can be found in the city’s art galleries, while the street art here is some of the most impressive in the world. The nightlife in Barcelona is also famously wild – there are music festivals, street fiestas, beach bars, and boat parties. Soccer fanatics should also check out Europe’s biggest stadium Camp Nou.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $682
Visiting Berlin for a weekend might be a bit of a stretch for some people – even if you catch a non-stop flight from the East Coast, it’s about 8 hours. It is however one of the most exciting cities in Europe and worth the epic journey. Not only is there so much history here (from Brandenburg Gate to the Berlin Wall), but there are also some incredible bars, shops, and restaurants. It’s also a very easy city to get around (which helps when you’re only there for a weekend). For a taste of Berlin’s alternative scene, consider finding a hostel in Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $854
Cancun is considered to be the heart of the Mexican Caribbean. It sports beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a rich history. You could easily spend two weeks here and not get bored – there are so many leisure activities to try from snorkeling to exploring Mayan temples. A two-day trip might feel like a bit of a tease but is still likely to be very fun. When it comes to Caribbean weekend breaks, it’s also a lot more affordable than going to Barbados or the Dominican Republic.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $541
Fancy a taste of South America? Cartagena is about a 6-hour flight from Houston. Its white sands face out onto the Caribbean sea and are home to floating hostels and beach bars. It’s one of the safest cities in Colombia and is a hub for arts and culture. Its music scene is particularly rich and is made up largely of reggaeton, salsa, and folk. The city is a popular destination for couples – if you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway abroad, consider Cartagena.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $556
Charleston, SC, USA
Charleston is one of the most historic cities in the US. A lot of this history is well-preserved – it’s one of the few places in America where you can take horse and carriage rides down cobblestone streets lined with buildings dating back to the 1700s. However, this history is only a small part of what Charleston has to offer. It has a buzzing nightlife (lots of rooftop bars) and fantastic beaches. Couples looking for a romantic weekend destination consider Charleston for its fine dining opportunities and elegant hotels.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $1200
Chicago, IL, USA
If you love big cities, why not give Chicago a visit? The city is very popular for foodies (its pizza is world-famous) and it has no shortage of sights such as Cloud Gate and Willis Tower (which you can climb up to the top of or view from a river cruise). When it comes to entertainment options, there are so many choices in Chi-town. It has theatre productions to rival Broadway and has a vibrant live music scene. Hip hop is very big in Chicago with rappers like Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, and Lupe Fiasco hailing from this city.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $841
If you live on the West Coast, a European weekend trip might be out of the question. However, the Pacific islands could be more in reach. Many of these islands are notoriously expensive to visit, however, there are a few exceptions. A great example is the Cook Islands. These beautiful islands could be a great weekend escape for city-dwellers – much of the country is unspoiled by man and it is popular for outdoor adventure leisure activities. Some of these activities include scuba diving, kayaking, paddle boarding, mountain biking, and hiking.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $1260
Denver, CO, USA
Denver is another great destination for outdoorsy types. It makes a great base for those wanting to explore the Rocky Mountains with natural sights such as Flagstaff Mountain and Boulder Falls on its doorstep. However, being a city, it’s also got a cool urban side to it. Its got music venues, art galleries, and a myriad of restaurants to choose from for all tastes. To top it off, it’s surprisingly affordable compared to many US cities.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $783
Scotland’s capital Edinburgh has a lot going for it. It’s brimming with medieval history – the city’s most famous landmark, Edinburgh Castle, is perched on a rock overlooking its narrow ancient streets. The nightlife is vibrant and there are many world-class restaurants serving authentic Scottish dishes. The largest arts festival in the world, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is also hosted here. A direct flight from New York is 7 hours, which is something to factor in if you’re only planning a weekend break.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $887
Las Vegas, NV, US
A weekend away in Las Vegas can be a lot of fun if you love partying and casinos. Even if you don’t plan to drink or gamble, you may still enjoy the glitz and glam and the various wacky attractions such as gondola trips and rooftop rides. You can also visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas although you’ll want to spare an entire day if you’re driving there. How much you plan to spend in Vegas depends entirely on how much you’re willing to gamble. Never bring more spending money than you’re prepared to lose.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $880
London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and for good reason – there’s so much to do and see here. Beyond the landmarks such as Big Ben and The Tower of London, there are incredible shops and theatre productions containing film actors. The nightlife is also buzzing – there are pubs everywhere and iconic music venues (a great place to see some rising grime artists). London’s biggest drawback is that’s very expensive. There are however lots of free things you can do if you’re on a tight budget (all the museums are free!).
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $1073
Lisbon often gets overlooked when it comes to European destinations. However, it’s got everything you could ask for and more from a European city. Those looking for a cultural experience can explore the castles of Sintra and try fresh seafood dishes at beachfront restaurants. Those looking for nightlife will meanwhile enjoy the array of clubs (its party atmosphere and red-light district can make it feel like a warmer and cheaper Amsterdam).
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $516
Los Angeles, CA, USA
A weekend in LA could be another option. This could be a weekend spent visiting Hollywood and the famous piers (there are weekend sightseeing tours that can help you to do this) or a weekend relaxing on the beach. The Californian city can be expensive for those that want to experience the full glitz and glam. However, there are cheap hotels and many free attractions for those that want to experience LA on a tight budget. Hip hop fans are certain to enjoy LA’s music scene.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $1001
The Spanish capital could be ideal for a European weekend away. From trying authentic tapas to exploring historic cathedrals, there are lots of exciting things to do in Madrid. It’s a shopper’s paradise, sporting flashy luxury brand stores and bustling markets. The city’s nightlife scene is also very fun with many cheap places to get a drink. In fact, Madrid is surprisingly affordable for those on a tight budget – most of the attractions are within walking distance (so you don’t have to take public transport) and there are some fantastic cheap hostels to stay in.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $643
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City may well be the cheapest weekend destination listed here. Flights are likely to be your biggest cost and even these tend to be relatively affordable. Once you’re in this city, it’s very easy to find cheap places to stay and eat (we recommend trying the street food). Many of the city’s museums have free admission and you don’t have to spend anything to see a lot of the landmarks. A few must-see attractions in Mexico City include Zocalo, the Frida Kahlo Museum, and Chapultepec Castle. For some of the best bars and clubs in the city, head to Roma.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $283
Miami, FL, USA
Miami is a very popular tourist destination. Most people head there for its beaches and cocktail bars, but there’s a culture beyond this that can also be worth exploring including the stunning Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and Art Deco Historic District. Miami’s music scene is a big highlight and it features some world-class venues and clubs. If you’re looking for great hip hop clubs, make sure to swing by E11even, Brick, and Cameo (just don’t expect cheap drinks).
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $886
Most people visit Munich for the beer. It’s the brewery capital of Europe. The world’s biggest beer festival, Oktoberfest, is also held here every year (it’s canceled this year – but is thought to be up and running again next year). Beyond the beer, there are also an array of impressive cathedrals and palaces to see. If you’re a foodie, you’re also certain to enjoy the world-class restaurants. Munich may only be realistic as a weekend trip if you live on the East Coast as flights here can take just over 7 ½ hours.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $911
Nashville, TN, USA
Nashville is famous for its musical heritage. Maybe not so much for rap (although you might run into Yelawolf or Young Buck and there are some great hip-hop clubs), but definitely when it comes to country, gospel, and rock. The museums and music venues are definitely worth a weekend trip. While you’re there, make sure to try some of Tennessee’s finest foods including country ham and fried catfish, as well as considering a Jack Daniel’s whisky tour (the original distillery in Lynchburg is an hour away).
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $699
New Orleans, LA, USA
Nowhere in the US throws a party quite like New Orleans. The legendary Mardi Gras festival is a spectacular event and Bourbon Street contains every type of bar you could imagine. Even if the partying and drinking isn’t for you, New Orleans still has many sights and quirky attractions to see. There are fascinating museums and tours dedicated to the occult (ghosts and voodoo still remain a big part of New Orleans). The city also has some of the best cajun and creole restaurants in the US. And then there’s the city’s many sports attractions including the Superdome.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $911
New York City, NY, USA
This city needs no introduction. It’s undoubtedly the most popular weekend destination in the US – its shopping opportunities, theatre productions, museums and an array of landmarks are hard to beat. If you already live here, you’re unlikely to see the appeal. But if you’re a first-time visitor, simply taking a yellow cab and grabbing a coffee are likely to feel magical. For a hip-hop-themed trip to New York, consider checking out some of the famous hip hop clubs and trying a hip hop tour. There’s even a museum being built, Universal Hip Hop Museum, in the Bronx planned to open in 2023.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $1057
Paris has more landmarks than you could ever visit in a weekend. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc De Triomphe, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and The Louvre are just some of the notable ones. The city also has some of the best shops and restaurants in the world. And to top it off, it’s even got a Disneyland. Paris can be an expensive city to visit, but you can find cheaper bars, hotels, and restaurants if you’re willing to venture off the beaten path.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $904
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Philly is teeming with history – you could even call it the birthplace of the USA. Some of its most popular attractions include The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Eastern State Penitentiary. You can also take a run up the iconic steps featured in the Rocky movie. Accommodation and food can be expensive, however, it’s one of the few cities where shopping is tax-free (and there are some great shops). Philly also has some great theatres and music venues if you’re looking for entertainment.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $1287
Portland, OR, USA
Portland is the perfect city for unleashing your inner hipster. It does craft beer, thrift stores, and donuts better than anywhere else in the country. It’s also a great city for outdoor adventurers – you can hike up Mount Hood, kayak down the Willamette River, and cycle pretty much anywhere in the city. Portland has a thriving music scene and the nightlife is very varied. To top it off, it’s even got a beach.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $830
You don’t need a passport to visit Puerto Rico as it’s technically a territory of the US. This makes it a popular choice for US vacation-makers without a passport wanting a taste of the Caribbean. The Spanish-speaking island is home to historic buildings, beautiful beaches, and a vibrant music scene. If you’re not booking a luxury resort, it’s quite easy to do a weekend in Puerto Rico on a shoestring budget.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $389
Iceland is the closest European country to America. A flight from New York to the capital Reykjavik takes about 5 ½ hours. There’s not too much to do in the city itself (there are a few good restaurants and museums), however, it’s a great base for exploring the rest of the country if you’re willing to rent a car. Iceland’s main attraction is its natural wonders including its waterfalls, volcanos, mountains, and geysers. It’s also one of the best places to see whales. Just remember to bring your hiking boots and wrap up warm.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $1028
There are few cities with as much history packed into them as Rome. It has ancient Roman ruins such as the Colosseum and mighty medieval churches and cathedrals including those around the Vatican. You can unpack this history in the city’s many museums. In the evenings, you can meanwhile treat yourself to authentic Italian pizza and pasta and experience Rome’s wild nightlife. Like many European destinations, be prepared to spend a long time in a plane getting there and back.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $869
Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Utah’s buzzing capital is nestled between five national parks: Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Bryce Canyon. This makes it a great base for those that fancy some outdoor adventuring. Salt Lake City also has ski resorts, golf courses, and fishing spots on its doorstep if you fancy a weekend doing any of these activities. Meanwhile, for those who prefer to spend their leisure time being less physically active, there are plenty of cool restaurants and bars for chilling in.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $772
San Francisco, CA, USA
You could spend a weekend in San Fran seeing the major attractions such as The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Lombard street. Alternatively, you could go for a wine tour in Napa and Sonoma. You could even spend the whole weekend at Pier 39 and Ocean Beach. This is definitely one of America’s most unique and diverse cities. A vacation here comes at a high price tag but there’s something for everyone from rich history to a wild nightlife.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $1148
Santa Fe, NM, USA
Despite being known for its high culture leisure activities such as opera and wine, a weekend in New Mexico’s Santa Fe can come at a quite reasonable cost. The historic desert city has many affordable hotels and restaurants for those that are traveling on a budget and there’s a lot of free natural beauty to explore if you’re willing to journey outside the city. Must-see attractions in Santa Fe include the Georgia O’Keefe museum and Loretto Chapel.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $743
Tampa, FL, USA
Most people visiting Florida go to Orlando as it has convenient access to many of the theme parks. However, it’s unlikely to be the place you want to go for a weekend away. Tampa is an older town with a great beach and slightly more affordable hotels. You can still visit amusement parks like Busch Gardens or you can chill at the beach. The Cuban food and sports scene are also worth visiting Tampa for, plus there is no shortage of bars.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $858
Most Americans taking a weekend break to Canada choose Toronto. It’s definitely got the most sights to offer including the CN Tower and Niagara Falls (it’s about an hour out of the city). The city also has a rich music scene, having produced artists such as Drake and The Weeknd, and the nightlife is some of the best in Canada. While in the city make sure to visit Ripley’s Aquarium and grab a coffee at a Tim Hortons.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $917
While it may not have the landmarks of Toronto, Vancouver is a lot more laid back and less heavily developed making it a much more relaxing city break destination. It’s surrounded by natural beauty including mountains, lush forests, and the sea, which helps to make it very calming (there are also lots of opportunities for outdoor adventures). The city has lots of fascinating museums and a vibrant arts scene including various free festivals in the summer. There are also plenty of pubs and clubs for those who are craving good nightlife.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $896
The Austrian capital could be another great European weekend destination. It has some of the finest museums and cafes on the continent and is home to an array of impressive palaces and churches including The Hofburg and St Stephen’s Cathedral. December is a popular period for visiting Vienna – the city’s Christmas market is like none other in the world and is certain to get you in the festive spirit. You will have to be willing to take a long flight to get to Vienna so bear this in mind.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $701
Washington, DC, USA
Washington DC is popular for those wanting to do some sightseeing – it’s home to The Capitol, The Lincoln Memorial, and The White House just to name a few. Get lucky and you may even get to see the president. Beyond the political monuments, Washington D.C. has many interesting museums and galleries to offer and a huge choice of restaurants. Hotels can be expensive in the capital but there are budget hotels and hostels across the city for those that don’t have a lot to spend.
Average 3-night weekend cost for a solo traveler: $1034