It’s all those social media pics of people at far off and exotic destinations.
You see the cliche photos of legs extended on a poolside lounger or on the beach towel along with colorful fruity frozen cocktails.
Or, it’s the lavish five-star resort with all the accoutrements of a pampered luxury lifestyle.
Your mind begins to drift and daydream about how awesome it would be if you were there right now - relaxing and enjoying everything in that environment. Free of any stresses and cares, you’re simply living the good life.
It’s a few minutes of a well-deserved daydreaming mental break.
Then, you snap back to reality and come to terms that there’s no way you can take an extended solo vacation to Bali.
You look back up from your phone toward your computer monitor and all you see is that same damn blinking cursor on the screen waiting for you to type more.
So, you get back to scrambling and racing around to get things done.
It’s non-stop go, go, go. A wacky race through the day that leaves you feeling like you didn’t do anything well. You just barely made it through the day.
You know that feeling when you’re running too fast and feel your legs start to go? It’s trip-over time – watch out for the crash!
It’s the same in your adult life even if you’re not physically running. Going too fast with no time to slow down leads to crashes, mistakes, collisions, and the feeling that you’re way out of control.
It’s time to down-shift from high gear and slow things down.
Those few heavenly minutes you spend in the shower or the few hours of real sleep you get are great, but they’re not enough. You need meaningful relaxation time, all to yourself, that recharges your mental and physical batteries.
Bet you think you can’t have it with all that’s going on in your life, right?
You can, but we won’t lie. It’s going to take some pre-planning organization and a bit of self-discipline.
The Benefits Of A Solo Weekend Getaway
It’s Scientifically Proven To Boost Your Health
VIDEO: The Science Of Vacation
YOUTUBE: TEDx Talks
It’s More Do-Able & Manageable
You’ll Be A Better Person
You’ll Appreciate Everyone More
Perhaps you won’t miss them during your solo “me time,” but it’ll give you space to realize what they mean to you.
When someone is nagging you to spend “just $5” on a game when you are trying to finish a report, cook dinner, and figure out where the hell your car insurance documents are, then appreciation of your kids is last on the list.
But, when they’re away or you’re away for some length of time, your perspective changes. It’s like how the saying goes, “The heart grows fonder with time and distance.”
All too often we lose people and opportunities before we have the time to appreciate them - and that guilt stays with you for life.
Time alone allows you to leave the shit behind and just be at peace.
Appreciation is important, being grateful and happy with the good things in your life is what it’s all about.
You’ll Be On Fire At Work
You'll Get More Creative
Your Family Gets A Change Too
With you out of reach, they’ll be forced into a change of scenery with a new activity, maybe seeing other family members or a babysitter with tons of energy.
When you get back, your kids will be delighted to see you and tell you about their fun times instead of grunting and asking for the iPad because you’ve got the grumpy-ass face again.
Your family needs a happy and rested parent. When you’re happy, they’re happy and more importantly – they feel stable. Kids notice when you get over-stressed and tired, even if you think you’re hiding it like a pro.
They’ll be there when you get back in 36 hours time.
You Know What? It’s Just Nice
Life’s nonsense isn’t going to disappear and it’ll be waiting for you when you check back in - that’s for sure. But damn, it feels so good to tell it to go stand in the corner and take a time-out.
These self-care breaks don’t have to bring piles of benefits either. You can enjoy a grand time from tiny pleasures and these are things that everyone should be in favor of.
How To Pull Off An Overnight Micro Getaway
It’s an age-old question. Shakespeare himself was heard to say “How to get a solo weekend getaway - that is the question.”
The main challenges with getting away for a micro-trip boils down to two things:
1) Coverage for the kids
2) Coverage for yourself
The first one is pretty self-explanatory if you have kids. You’ve gotta figure out a way to have someone take care of and watch the kids while you’re away.
The second one is how to handle all the tasks that usually fall on your shoulders during the weekend.
When you’ve got both of these things addressed, you’ve freed yourself.
What we’re aiming to do is find a way for you to be able to take a 36 hour micro-trip where you leave on Saturday morning and return on Sunday night.
Let’s get started.
Coverage For The Kids
It’s paramount to know that they’re being taken care of so that your mind is at ease. And when your mind is at ease, you’ll be able to really relax deeply.
There’s no point having a solo micro-break if you’re just worrying.
Here are some options that you should consider.
1. Your Significant Other
Make it easy for them by arranging all the stuff you’re usually responsible for in advance and make sure they know about any birthday parties the kids are invited too, where the gift is, how to get there, and the parents’ names.
Offer to reciprocate by gifting them their own "me time" in return. Fair’s fair after all.
2. Your Parents Or In-Laws
They may be delighted to take the kids off your hands for a night, especially if they don’t get to see much of them.
Leaving your kids in their capable hands feels safe and that means you can relax. But just a heads up, they might return them feral, pre-diabetic and uncontrollable.
And, be prepared to get this response for the next few days, “But grandpa let me do it.”
3. Your Brother (in-law) Or Sister (in-law)
If your kids have a favorite aunt or uncle then go for it. Reciprocate with their children, or if they are still single and carefree, offer up the gift of free “try before you buy” parenting.
Heads up - you may only get one shot at this so make it count.
4. Kid’s Friend’s Parents
Ah, the overnight playdate - making romance happen again. Well, in this case, it’ll be a relaxing night of stress-free bliss.
This is a great choice because the other parent’s kids are entertained too, so they get free time as well. It’s a win/win.
Again, reciprocation is important.
5. Trusted Babysitter
Ask your friends and neighbors to find out who they’ve hired in the past and that they trust. This should be your first source.
If no recommendations are available, there are lots of companies that hire out babysitters for a weekend.
These wonder-workers are vetted, background-checked and trained to work with children. Just check all the credentials and reviews first.
Of course, you’ll have to get your kids on board with this option as it might not be something they’re happy with.
A good way to start is hiring a new sitter for a few evenings here and there before moving up to a 36 hour micro-getaway. The kids get to know them, and you can build some trust.
Coverage For Yourself
One method that we use to address tasks is called the 4D method: Do It, Delay It, Delegate It and Dump It.
There are many different variations of this method. We’ve tweaked it here for the sole purpose of helping you address your normal weekend duties and tasks so that you can get away.
1. Do It
For kids, the most important essential usually involves their stomachs.
Buy in enough meals to last a whole weekend and more. Literally, label it “Saturday lunch” or “Sunday dinner” - microwave is fine, in fact, it’s probably better if no-one but you can use the oven.
Or, the easy option: let them go out to eat for all the meals. Just be sure to stock up snacks at home for the times between the meals.
Next, remember food for Monday and beyond because you don’t want to rush back out to the supermarket when you arrive home. Try to knock this out before Friday night or order online and have it delivered when you get back home on Sunday night.
There will also be odd bits that crop up in the week that aren’t regulars but need addressing.
This could be as simple as signing a school permission form or something as horrifying as a special school project. “Build a working model of the Titanic” - Oh Jeezus...FML.
Just do it now, or better yet, delay or delegate it.
2. Delay It
Maybe the car is due for an oil change, you have a hair appointment or need to get some new clothes for the kids - all of this shit can wait.
It can wait ‘til next week. Prime “me time” is more important.
3. Delegate It
If your partner or children can operate a smartphone or iPad they can certainly do some housework, get the laundry done and organize the various messes around the house.
Delegate some of the household responsibilities that usually fall on your shoulders on the weekends and keep those new responsibilities in place on your return to make your life easier in the long run.
This not only gives you more time, but it also teaches them self-reliance and self-respect.
This video might help get you started.
VIDEO: Why Chores For Kids Matter
YOUTUBE: Health Science Channel
Hiring help is becoming more popular as people work longer and longer hours.
It can mean something simple like ordering a pizza for dinner through to someone cleaning the whole house, walking the dog, doing the laundry and sitting with the kids.
Imagine having a blissful mini-break, and then arriving back home to a spotless house. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.
If you can afford to pay for those mundane chores, make it happen now and gift yourself some me-time away from it all.
4. Dump It
These are the requests and tasks that aren’t priorities for you and your family. Not doing these won’t have any negative impact, in fact, it instantly frees up time.
If your kids have been invited to yet another party by someone they barely know, just say no and send your apologies. Unless it’s major on the kid scale, it’s not worth the effort.
Ditto for any work-related weekend events. They’ve got enough of your time during the week. They don’t need more.
Bonus Idea: Time-Off Gift
You could ask your family and friends to give you time instead of traditional presents for birthdays and Christmas.
If your family is aware that you want and need time away, it’s much easier to manage. A voucher for a weekend hall pass is worth its weight in gold for a stressed and frazzled parent.
How To Protect The Trip From Sabotage
Now, you’re going to block out Saturday morning to Sunday evening for your micro getaway and people need to know this is not a joke.
That’s gotta be crystal clear.
Tell friends you’ll be out of contact and give your family specific times when they can call or better yet, tell them that you’ll check in with them at a specific time.
There should be no calls to you unless it’s an emergency. “Where are my swimming trunks?” does not count.
You may find that your friend loves the idea of a micro-getaway and suggests she comes too.
That’s nice, but no.
This getaway is time for you and you only to unwind. Plan another trip with friends if you like the idea, but if you take another person along, you have to make allowances for them and then, you won’t be able to fully unwind.
When it’s solo, everything’s to your preference, pace and schedule.
Where To Go - Solo Overnight Trip Ideas
So, let’s take a look at some ideas that you can consider when planning your solo weekend getaway. All of these should be within an easily drivable distance from home.
1. Relax in a full-service spa resort
It’s warm, cozy, stress-free and everything is on hand, right there on the property with no need to go anywhere else.
Once you arrive and park your car, it won’t be turned back on until the moment you leave. You’ll be in a relaxing bubble of isolation.
Check the major online travel booking sites for local deals near you.
2. Kick-back in a hotel with “spa amenities”
Your hotel room is a private little hideaway, so order room service and head down to use the facilities whenever you please.
Some of the major hotel chains are more biased toward business travelers, so their weekend guests are fairly light. These hotels may offer some great deals for weekend getaways. Check online and see what they’ve got in store.
Here’s a tip: if you’ve got a friend or co-worker that doesn’t use his/her hotel points or just has a ton of points, ask if you can buy some for this little overnight at a cost that’s less than the night’s stay, of course. Who knows, they might even just gift the points to you.
3. Get Zen’d with a meditation/yoga retreat
Even if you’ve never tried yoga before, a yoga retreat can do you a world of good.
There’s usually a schedule of stress-relieving activities and guided meditations that almost force you to unwind.
And, you don’t need to be a frequent meditator or yoga contortionist. There’s usually always options for “newbies” in these programs.
Search online for local yoga/meditation retreats. Undoubtedly, there’ll be a few within driving distance.
4. Get outdoorsy with a country cabin
The sounds of car horns and people are replaced with chirping birds and babbling brooks. Ahh, the sounds of nature.
Nature lovers benefit hugely from the great outdoors. Try renting a country, mountain or lakeside cabin on Airbnb and breathe in the stress-free fresh air.
It’s a different world - one where you don’t have to wipe anyone’s ass...just your own.
5. Be a “local tourist” in a neighboring city or town
There are plenty of rooms to rent out from major hotels to independent Airbnb’s.
Then, just wander around and take in the atmosphere without listening to “I’m bored” comments or constantly searching for snacks.
You can be a “local tourist” and discover so many new things that you just never noticed.
6. Take-in a weekend “experience” trip
There are lots of these available on travel booking sites and even on Groupon (they make great gifts, so hint to the family).
You could try a homemade beauty product weekend, foraging for fungi (mmm, truffles), blacksmithing, golfing or learn to cook some fancy French cuisine.
There are so many options to choose from that there’s bound to be at least one that is right up your alley.
7. Relive the old days
Nostalgia is proven to stimulate the release of feel-good hormones in our heads. Experiencing and seeing your old stomping grounds can bring all those great memories back.
You can add to the nostalgia by listening to a playlist of songs from that special time.
8. Home-swap with your parents/in-laws
Try swapping homes with your parents or in-laws. It’s free and maybe they’ll look after the kids too. The only downside is having to clean your own place up in exchange.
Again, if money is tight, this is a good option because frankly, any solo “me-time” is better than none, right?
It’s the time away from all the noise that’s valuable.
Look Out For Deals
Be sure to check for last minute deals online and if you’re able to book far in advance, looks for deals there too.
It’s worth keeping an eye on vacation sites and grabbing a bargain when you can. You can save a ton of money this way and stay in some beautiful luxurious places.
Another helpful tip: Don’t forget to check with your credit card companies, banking, etc. for any potential reward points that you may have earned or accumulated.
You’d be surprised at how many people forget about this. You might be sitting on a pile of unused benefits.
Start Planning Your Solo Weekend Getaway Now
You’ve gotta take care of you first, so that you can take care of others later.
The trick is to get organized so no-one feels like they’ve been abandoned or gone without something they really need.
Remember those exotic vacation pics you were daydreaming about?
Well, now you can get those same feelings at a fraction of the time and cost. While your experience may not be from the tropical beaches of Bali, they will be special to you nonetheless. And, that’s what really counts.
Before long, you’ll feel as happy as this little guy.
VIDEO: Dog spa
Do the planning.
You can do it.
Get away for 36 hours.
Your family will be fine.
Your work will be fine.
The world isn’t going to end without you.
In fact, your family, friends, co-workers and the world wants to see a more relaxed and happier you. They deserve it and so do you. Go for it.