I wonder why some people NEVER take a vacation. I guess some may feel they can’t actually leave the job for a while. Many of us identify ourselves by our work….I am a doctor, a lawyer, an Indian chief. There is a concern that if you leave, the place will fall apart. Believe me, work WILL get by without you, perhaps not smoothly and yes, there will be a pile to catch up with when you return. But if you feel that essential to the workplace, I bet there is a certain amount of stress and you probably could use the recharge time. Don’t tell me you don’t ever think about NOT going to work some days.
Some people take a week off from work, and then they stay at home. Perhaps, it is the expected financial burden anticipated in a trip away from home. People who are not used to travelling assume it has to cost more than they can afford. So, instead they stay home, go to the movies, go to mini-golf or bowling, and eat out every night. That all adds up financially, so perhaps a getaway from the daily routine is something each of us can use and it can be very affordable, if planned to stay within the budget.
If you have not been the type to go away for a week or two, perhaps a long weekend or a day trip would be a great first step. Other people may look forward to vacation but it is months and months away and the need for a break is NOW! A short trip would make sense for them also.
When we first were married, Graham had taken a semester’s sabbatical in Pueblo, Colorado. He actually had to work at the local university, so we used numerous weekends to explore where we could go in day trips and two night camping trips. By playing tourist close to home, we explored sites than many of our new friends had never seen, even though many were Colorado natives.
For example, we went to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Did you know that the highest sand dunes in the United States are nowhere near a large body of water? I have included some photos of our two night trip there.
Getting an omelet prepared for me is pretty neat at home….prepared over a cookstove it is amazing!
Even now, almost five years into this middle-aged marriage, we try to plan an escape weekend every 2 months or so. It not only soothes our itch to travel, but gives us some “alone” time, something every loving relationship can enjoy.
Years ago, when my older kids were little and we lived in Connecticut, we would set aside one Saturday a month as “Explore Day”. We took a state map and with eyes closed, dropped a dime on it. The town where it landed was where we went for the day. I had several Connecticut day trip books, including one that specialized in kid-friendly locations, but those were the days before the Internet and now, if you plan a day trip with a few days’ notice, you can do your research on line.
Day trips are easily achievable for any location within a two hour drive. If you leave home at 8 in the morning and plan activities all day to include dinner, you can be back in your own bed by 10 that night.
A weekend trip can be planned for a location within 4-6 hours. If you can hit the road by 6pm Friday, you will be at your lodging by midnight, ready to spend a day and a half before the drive back home.
One more example: We have a few singers and bands that we love to see in person. I was joyful to discover that Bobbt McFerrin was going to be the guest conductor for the Toledo, Ohio symphony orchestra one weekend in January a couple of years ago. The tickets were surprisingly affordable and to my delight I was able to score front row center seats. While those may not be the optimum tickets for a symphony experience, I read that he would be conducting the first half of the evening, but the second half he would be singing. I knew, from a prior concert experience that he would be sitting on the edge of the stage. So there he was, 10 feet in front of us. Wow. (If you have never heard him except for Don’t Worry Be Happy, please check him out on YouTube. The Wizard of Oz song is a really fun one, but he often uses his voice as an instrument in ways I have not heard other singers) So we went to Toledo, Ohio and had a great time. I found a wonderful place to stay and we visited a number of museums and did some shopping for things we can’t find in our town.
So how can you plan an affordable get away? If you are willing to take the time, it is workable. First of all, your state has a tourism website. That is always a good place to start. Take the time to read through it. There may be a place less than two hours away that you never considered visiting that will offer some interesting things to see and do.
Secondly, once you pick your location, Google to see if that area has a visitor’s website. There you will discover information about places to eat, events that are planned, and interesting things to explore.
If you are going for an overnight, decide on what kind of lodging you prefer (i.e., camping, motel, bed and breakfast, cabin, hotel, farm stay, etc). The regional website will also have a list of some lodging, but some of these websites are limited to locations who pay a listing fee. You should spend a bit more time to search other websites for the area. There are many interesting and unusual places to stay also, which could become the main point of your trip.
If this still sounds too confusing and like hard work, let me know…I can help you plan a wonderful break from your routine and you will be surprised to find out just what you can enjoy with a small budget!
So, this year, if you decide you can’t really afford to take a week at the beach, think closer to home, and plan several day trips or a short exploration nearby. Life is too short to never get out of the regular rut we find ourselves in because of school or work. Have fun!!