The essential guide for planning the ideal weekend escape.

I don’t know how it happens, but every year summer seems to appear out of nowhere, catching me completely off guard and unprepared. When school’s out, it’s normal to feel the urge to get away, even just for the weekend. With the Fourth of July this weekend—the surest sign that you’ve run out of time to go on that summer diet—now is the perfect time to plan a quick getaway.

Read on for our handy checklist of how real people plan a weekend trip.

Decide Beforehand What Kind of Trip You Have in Mind…

The first step in getting out of town is deciding exactly what it is that you’re looking for. If you’re interested in experiencing America’s wineries, checking out some excellent craft breweries, or perhaps finding something more adventurous in any of our nation’s booze regions, the options are endless. One thing you and your travel companions should agree on is whether you are looking to rage your faces off or relax and recuperate.

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…And Plan Accordingly

After you’ve decided what you want to do, you need to take any and all necessary precautions to ensure that you’re able to enjoy your trip. If you’re going to be partying, make sure to rest up in advance. If you need to take any time off of work, even just leaving early on a Friday to account for travel time, make sure to tell your boss in advance. If you have the type of job where you have to work on weekends, present a clear contingency plan for any work that might come up. Nothing dampens the fun quite like a work crisis in the middle of a booze cruise when you’re already a few glasses of rosé deep.

Do Your Research

There are endless resources to enlist when planning your trip, but making an itinerary is key. Make sure you have confirmed accommodations, whether you plan to Airbnb or stay in a hotel. If you’re going somewhere new, using Yelp or Tripadvisor is a great way to find a city’s most popular spots. But I always find it’s most helpful to ask your friends for their recommendations. As one of the world’s leading peddlers of rambling weekend guides to Philadelphia, I can tell you that you’ll be much happier experiencing a hidden gem discovered by someone you know rather than the most popular—and likely tourist-filled—spot in the city.

Set a Budget

The worst part by far about being an adult is financial responsibility. It’s easy to splurge when you’re on vacation, so make sure you plan ahead and save some pocket change as an extra cushion for when you’re feeling relaxed with your purse strings mid-trip. Help yourself out before you leave: If you know that you’re going to want to spend a lot on nice meals while you’re gone, think about staying in and cooking dinner the week before.

Unplug and Enjoy

The best part of getting away for the weekend is taking time to disconnect from your routine and really recharge. Take advantage; your unanswered emails and your Instagram feed can wait till Monday.