Location: Moscow, Russia
It’s no secret that I love weekend breaks. Annual leave from work is limited, and so I try to get the most out of travelling by booking in lots of little weekend breaks. More often than not, it involves me leaving on a Friday, straight to the airport after work, returning on Sunday evening. Living in Europe, and particularly living in London, makes it just so easy to hop on a flight and be somewhere new in two to three hours. I confess, I’ve also been guilty of occasionally doing long haul weekend trips – I’m looking at you Dubai – but travel is something I love so much and I don’t really think about the hassle of it all.
Of course, I do get told ‘why bother’ for such a short amount of time – probably most wondering is it worth it? How do you get to see a city in 48 hours? Don’t you feel exhausted throughout the whole trip? I will admit that it can be super tiring, but it’s also possible to see a lot of the city in a short period of time, enough to get a feel of the culture, food and overall atmosphere. It must also be remembered that you aren’t going to like every city you see … it won’t be the first time that I’ve booked a week’s holiday somewhere and just hated the place. These little weekend breaks are just a teaser of the city and if you like it, then you can obviously book a more extended stay further down the road. At least you wouldn’t have wasted too much time in a place that you just don’t connect with.
To me, it’s important to travel in comfort – in a smart way. I write a luxury travel blog because I try and make it a point to fly higher cabins whenever possible. I really want to stress that I very rarely pay full price for the flights I book. As I write this, I’m sitting in BA Club Europe, returning from Vienna. I think I paid about £150 for the return flight – cashing in those Avios points and paying less than an economy seat. Why do I mention all this? Because if you are travelling on a short trip, those little added luxuries make all the difference, whether it be the lounge, priority boarding or just having a more private cabin with a bit of bubbly on the side (the last point being my favourite!).
So now that we’ve got the actual flying part out of the way, and you’ve checked into your chosen hotel, how do you get to see a city in 48 hours?
Before you head off on your trip, do your homework. Make a list of all the different things you want to see and do and plot them out on Google maps. You won’t have a lot of time to stay coming up with plans once you’re actually in town, so having everything mapped out before is just going to save so much time. Be smart about it. Let’s say you are heading to Paris, if you want to see the Moulin Rouge, then you should look to cover the Montmartre area all in one go, including the Sacre Couer and Place du Tertre. Read this post for more on that! There’s no point heading to the Arc de Triomphe, then the Moulin Rouge, only to want to then check out the
Take a River Cruise
I appreciate that this is not always possible, but given that many large cities are built around some kind of water source, chances are that you’ll find one. Whether it be a ride down the Thames on the Thames Clipper, an evening ride down the Seine on the famous Bateaux Mouches or a seafood feast on a boat down the Moscow river, they all give you the opportunity to see some of the main sites that the city has to offer. These pictures were actually taken on a boat ride in Moscow, where we had a lovely seafood lunch with friends and got to see some some of Moscow’s beautiful architecture, as well as learn about more of the city’s history. We drifted past St Basil’s Cathedral, some of the Seven Sisters, Gorky Park, Peter the Great’s statue, the Kremlin, the Church of Christ and oh so many more picturesque views! Like I mentioned earlier, this may not always be possible depending on where you are visiting, so keep that in mind.
Hire a Personal Tour Guide
We did this in Amsterdam a few years ago, and I can’t recommend it enough. I’m not the biggest fan of tour groups, but having your own guide to chat with as you stroll about town really gives you the opportunity to experience the city like a local. In Amsterdam this was perfect; we had a two hour walk around the narrow little alleyways, walked through places that we never would have known about as a tourist and learnt things that we would never have learnt had we done it on our own. We got to check out some secret bars, were shown the best photo spots and learnt some weird and wonderful facts: it may be a red light zone, but be aware of the underground doors with blue lights…the equivalent (but less prevalent) transvestite option.
Choose a Centrally-Located Hotel
This might sound like an obvious one, but we’re all guilty of thinking oh I could save a few pennies if I just book that hotel four miles outside of the city… especially if you know there is a reliable transport system. That’s all good, but let’s say you are visiting London and decide to stay at a hotel in Shoreditch, but plan to be seeing the sites around the West End. It’s going to take you about 30 minutes each way, which is fine if you aren’t time restricted, but that’s an extra hour each day that you could be seeing more of the city. In Moscow, we were lucky enough to get a room at the incredible Ritz Carlton on Tverskaya Street, and were within walking distance to all the main attractions. You will find that the more luxurious the hotel, the more likely it is closer to where the action is. I remember for my first ever holiday, as a poor student, we ended up staying at a hotel about one hour outside of Paris as it was significantly cheaper. Little did I know that we ended up spending so much on travel and taxis that we probably could have put that money to a hotel a little bit closer to the centre!
I hope these little tips will encourage you to book that weekend break you have been wanting to go on and that you might be willing to try something a little different. I promise that once you have been bitten by the travel bug, it’s something you won’t be able to shake off easily! I’d love to read more tips on how to maximise a weekend break. If you have any, leave them in the comments below! Xxx