Like a ninja, a Weekend Escape Artist is elusive, and remains under the radar; he’s undetected. Or at least that’s how I look at it. Perhaps I’m blowing the title a bit out of proportion.

How to become a #WeekendEscapeArtist

You see, I’ve partnered with Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton’s Travel MANager program to become a Weekend Escape Artist. This means I am now responsible for taking over all of the travel planning for my girlfriend Sarah and I. Similar to the poor analogy I used before, where I compared myself to a ninja, I am attempting to do all of this planning undetected to keep it a surprise for Sarah.

5 #WeekendEscapeArtist Tips

Our most recent trip to Austin, Texas was a success, and since I learned a thing or two about planning and becoming a Weekend Escape Artist, I thought I would share a few of these tips with you. Enjoy!

1. Make Reservations to Restaurants Ahead of Time

Even if you live in a big city like me (Los Angeles), and you’re use to just walking into a restaurant and getting a table, don’t assume it will be the same wherever you’re traveling to. There is nothing worse than having your heart set on a restaurant, only to find out they are booked up and can’t accommodate you. It throws your whole evening off. I highly recommend you call and speak with the front desk when making a reservation. That way you can get their professional opinion on what the normal wait times are and you can even throw in any special requests. Anniversary, perhaps?

2. Figure Out Where the Locals Go

When we were in Austin, one of the best pieces of advice we received, which came from numerous locals, was to visit Rainey Street. This great recommendation led to many memorable hours Sarah and I shared sipping cocktails and enjoying Austin’s nightlife.

In conclusion, listen to the locals closely when they give you advice on where you should eat, drink and play.

3. Bring Multiple Pairs of Shoes

I’m not one to advocate over-packing or bringing unnecessary items, but the last thing you want on a trip is not having the right shoes for whatever the situation. My personal recommendation, in this case for spring/summer, is a pair of flip-flips, slip-ons, and dress shoes. That typically covers most of what I would do during the warmer months. However, a good pair of hiking shoes is nice to if you decide to go on long walks or, well, hiking. Your significant other will appreciate it, especially if you surprised them with the trip and already packed their bag with the correct shoes for the occasion.

4. Ask Questions on Review Sites

One of my biggest pet peeves is visiting a restaurant or somewhere in an unfamiliar city and being deeply disappointed. Even with all the research I do on review sites, more often than not I’m unsatisfied and left with regret. What I’ve found helpful is not only using the popular review sites, but also asking questions on them. This allows for me to have a better understanding of a venue before even stepping foot in there. For example: let’s say I was vegetarian and saw online a restaurant served some vegetarian dishes, but I wanted to know if they would allow customization or special requests. I could call the restaurant and ask, but chances are they will say anything to get you inside. This is where questions come in. There’s a really good chance past guests will jump to the chance to either praise or bash what the restaurant can or cannot do, so you will get a semi-unbiased opinion.

5. Download the Uber App Before You Go

There’s a good chance wherever you end up traveling to there will be access to ridesharing service Uber. The app makes it easy to call a car, split the ride with your friends, and allows loyalty members to view their Hilton hotel stay information (and check-in) right from the Uber app. We used it exclusively in Austin to get everywhere; it was great!

Learn more about the Hilton x UBER partnership here.

As you can see, becoming a Weekend Escape Artist is super easy, and sure to score you a lot of points with your significant other. I recommend you start by finding a Hilton Homewood Suites or Home2 Suites location where you’re headed and then go from there.

Stay tuned for even more travel tips from me in the coming months.