You can’t go about planning a 2 day trip without having the right tools at hand (unless you get off on pulling your hair out and being totally underprepared).
To ensure I get flights that fit my schedule and budget, a hostel that meets your location and social requirements and some pre-trip info, I use these resources to plan and manage every trip. They take away a copious amount of frustration and uncertainty from my travels.
These guys are number 1 when it comes to booking hostels IMO. They have a huge range to choose from, a really easy to use website, simple booking process and are the cheapest around (with no commission). They send you confirmation emails with all the info you need including directions to the hostel and your reservation number.
I had some questions about the hostel I stayed in in Hong Kong in March and they responded quickly and professionally, so their post-sales support is primo.
There are a few flight booking aggregator sites around to help you book the flights you want around your schedule and budget. They’re powered by various different engines (retrieving flights from airline websites directly and from central public fare websites) and are great at giving you the absolute lowest fare available. You can also compare number of stops, search by multiple airports, do multi-city trip searches and filter by time of day. Most will also give you all the important flight data like aircraft used, if the flight is a red-eye and where the stopover is.
Once you’ve found the flight that meets your schedule and budget, you can jump straight to the airline booking site and do the needful (and in some cases, it carries across your search data so you don’t have to search for the flight again).
I would be a significantly lost chap without this website and the corresponding iPhone application. TripIt lets you keep track of all your flights, trains and accommodation and you can insert notes like key attractions to check out. Best of all to create a new trip all you need to do is send your hostel/flight reservation emails to email@example.com and it creates your trip itinerary for you automatically. Really simple, really easy to use, absolutely love it.
For the times when I’m catching a train (Eurostar/TGV/Thalys) rather than flying, I use these guys to plan out the route. It searches across all railteam operators in Western Europe, showing you connections, the train on that service and stations arriving at/departing from.
And that’s all you need for a quick jaunt on the weekend. These resources will make getting everything in order a whole lot easier, leaving more time for random encounters with other travellers, discovering a cool bar somewhere or buying some souvenirs to send back home to mates.