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Five Tips to the Perfect Weekend Getaway

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Internationally, the United States is at the bottom of the barrel for unused vacation days; those living and working in Europe typically take as much as six weeks off of work annually. On average, U.S. employees leave more than 400 million paid vacation days unused yearly!

According to USA Today, vacations are proven to reduce stress levels allowing the body to repair and replenish itself, increase productivity and open your mind to new perspectives. It is imperative to take a little "me" time every now and then, and step outside of your comfort zone to experience something new.

So whether traveling with a significant other, family or friends, or embarking on a solo weekend for rest and relaxation, these five tips can help set the stage for a perfect weekend getaway:

Choose a Unique Destination - The first step to planning your perfect weekend is determining where you're going to go. Let a map be your guide. Whether it's visiting a new state that has a National Park, or relaxing at a luxury spa, fulfill your desire to escape for the weekend with a setting special to you.

Check Something off Your Bucket List - Once you've chosen your desired destination, it's time to plan excursions. Make your perfect weekend getaway as special as possible by choosing an activity that is exciting and new. Whether it is a physical activity you've never done before, like hiking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, or achieving new heights at the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon West, you should embrace the endless options of uncommon activities to truly make the most out of your trip. Nonetheless, if you're looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary, like a concert at a unique venue or seeing Cirque du Soleil live, be sure to check out Ticketmaster's website to purchase tickets prior to departing for your trip.

Find Ways to Save - Once you've selected the destination for your perfect weekend getaway and mapped out a few activities, start working on ways to save money without losing any of the enjoyment on your getaway. If you're an AARP member, purchase an affordable flight through the AARP® Travel Center Powered by Expedia® to avoid additional booking fees. Whether travelling by plane, train or automobile, learn more about your destination with your Amazon Kindle; this will also help the travel time fly by!

Treat Yourself - Your weekend getaway isn't truly a perfect weekend getaway without a little bit of splurging. Whether it's indulging on a meal at a special restaurant, or stopping at Tanger Outlets on the way to or from your desired destination, it's okay to splurge on your trip. So, say "yes" to the new shoes you've been eyeing and "yes" to dessert. It's your perfect weekend, don't forget to treat yourself.

Unplug the Digital Distractions - Out of sight, out of mind...or so the saying goes. To truly enjoy a rejuvenating weekend, turn off your email, close out of the apps on your smartphone and enjoy the present moment! In doing so, you'll open yourself up more to spending quality time with the people around you.