No mater how many incredibly scenic drives I experience around the world, there's always one…
Mom, you need a break. A few days with no laundry to fold, no butts to wipe, no baseball carpools to coordinate. Heck, when was the last time you watched a movie of your choosing at an early enough time that you could actually stay awake for it? Maybe it’s time you booked yourself some time away. Here are three trips to consider.
The Solo Trip
There was a time when I thought traveling alone sounded lame. Those days are long gone. When was the last time you were truly, blissfully alone? Sign me up for some me time!
Why do it: Because sleep debt is real! Isn’t it time you got the rest you used to take for granted? Also, as the person who’s often prioritizing everyone else’s needs, it’s nice to get reacquainted with yourself. Get up as early or as late as you like. Eat what you want. Go to the art museum you’re afraid your kids would break something in, or the movie your husband finds cheesy. Shop without hearing, “you’re going to yet another antique store?”
How to make it easy: You don’t need to take a luxurious, bucket-list-worthy vacation. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. Why not go somewhere within driving distance? Book a room at a nice hotel downtown. Hole up in a charming upstate B&B. Wouldn’t a seaside bungalow be the perfect place to unwind? Bonus: you can blast your favorite music with naughty lyrics. Hello, the new Lizzo album!
What to pack: Bath bombs. A book or kindle. A small candle in a tin. Wine and fancy snacks, like cheese, crackers, olives, and chocolates. A face mask. Nice lotion.
Things that will make it epic: If you’re looking for serious downtime, pick a hotel known for nice beds. Book a massage. Order room service. Read. Sleep. Take a bath without someone banging on the door, whining that they “need” you, even though dad is out there and fully capable of helping.
How to level it up: Consider taking a class that’s always piqued your interest, but you’re just not making time for it. Maybe it’s a pasta-making class, a ceramics lesson, or learning to ride a motorcycle.
A Girlfriends Getaway
Not only is it a riot, but science also says traveling with your friends is even good for your health. Traveling with friends is important!
Why do it: Sorry, kids… trips with your best girlfriends are often the most fun. Everyone can take care of themselves, the pressure tends to be more low-key, and laughing so hard you pee your pants is way more fun than traveling with a two-year-old who might pee their pants just for the heck of it.
How to make it easy: If there’s a flight involved, pick a place with a lot of direct options. If it’s an annual trip, take turns making the destination more convenient. You could also select a roughly equidistant place depending on where everyone lives. All within a few hours’ drive of Dubuque? Go! Sure, it’s not exactly sexy, but with a fun group, just about any destination will be fun.
Where to stay: This is the perfect opportunity to rent a house or apartment. In a hotel, a group vacation feels disjointed. It’s fun to cook together, lounge in the living room, and drink your coffee on the patio. When people want to go to sleep, they may retreat to their room while everyone else can keep hanging out in the main areas.
How to level it up: Sign up for a group experience ahead of time. Whether it’s wine tasting with a driver (much more enjoyable that way!), a group yoga class, or hiring a tarot card reader, it’s nice to have a few things in place so you’re not constantly needing to make decisions at the moment. Nothing worse than constantly having the “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” conversation.
Fun idea: Ask everyone to bring a favorite product or treat for a gift exchange. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I love learning about the products my friends are currently into– anything from lip balm and books to awesome socks or their favorite locally roasted coffee. That way, you can bring home a little souvenir that reminds you of your favorite people, not necessarily the place you visited.
A Multi-generational Girls Trip
You’ve probably talked about taking an all-ladies trip with your family… stop talking, start doing!
Why do it: Whether it’s a trip with your sisters and mom or a multi-generational vacation that includes cousins and aunts, getting everyone together will lend itself to incredible memories you’ll cherish forever.
How to make it easy: Traveling with family comes with its own set of challenges. There’s history and family dynamics, not to mention everyone knows how to push everyone else’s buttons.
That’s why it’s nice to build a trip around an event or activity. Maybe it’s a hiking adventure in the Grand Canyon, a pilgrimage to the Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas, a craft-filled trip to Asheville, or a canoe trip a few hours away. Doing an activity together gives you something to bond over.
Where to stay: Whether you stay in a hotel, camp, or rent a house, make sure there’s enough space. Not everyone needs their own room, but for the few extra bucks you spend, renting a larger space will pay off ten-fold in lessened stress and frustration. No one really wants to sleep on a pullout couch.
And for Pete’s sake, if you’re sharing a house, rent one with more than a single bathroom. You won’t believe how quickly you’ll revert to your 13-year-old self when your sister hogs the only shower.
How to level it up: Document the trip. Take lots of photos, and make a photo book to share with the group (boom! You just got your holiday gifts checked off, too!). Are you somewhere selling those sorts of cheesy, expensive touristy photos? I say buy it—imagine how fun that will be to have 20 or 30 years from now.
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