Planning A Getaway
Let’s face it: travel can be intimidating. Even when you KNOW where you want to go, the sheer volume of decisions can be overwhelming. Still, if you want to make time with your spouse a priority (and I think you should!), don't get discouraged, get determined!
If you don’t know where to begin to plan a sneakaway, start with the practical steps. Don't over-think your decisions and don't ever say you're planning "the trip of a lifetime"; you don't need the pressure and with any luck, you'll love your destination and go back!!
First things first...
Pick a date
I know this sounds basic, but if you have a date on the calendar, you immediately have won two MAJOR points: you’ve established a deadline, and you’ve created a boundary.
The deadline is important because deadlines FORCE you into making decisions. Deadlines are your friend.
Second, and more importantly, the commitment to get away gives you a REASON to say "no" to other opportunities. Invited to a shower? Bummer – you’ll need to send your gift ahead of time. Kids have a soccer game? Yikes – you’ll need to ask your friends if they can swing by and grab your child for the game. You will, after all, be away because you have a date on the calendar!
Sit with your spouse and talk about what you BOTH can be happy doing, how much you’re willing to spend, whether you want to drive or fly, and how long you want to be gone.
For instance, for our 15th anniversary trip, our budget was modest, but our frequent traveler programs were robust. So Billy said “beach” and I said “exotic.” Marriott said where we could have free rooms, and Delta had to cooperate on finding us seats. Not a straightforward exercise, but since we had more time than money, we did the research to make it happen.
Your parameters may look different.
Maybe you need to stay in driving distance. Maybe you have NO budget. Maybe your network of childcare options is really limited. That’s ok. Creativity is your friend. Start thinking about trading childcare with a friend. Hop on airBNB or VRBO and swap houses with someone. If someone offers their mountain cabin, take 'em up on the offer. Work with whatever you have.
Make your lists!
Whenever you’re tacking something complicated, there’s a theory that checklists are the way to keep everything on track. Pilots and surgeons use checklists, so we do the same thing. The good news is most checklists apply no matter where you’re going. When you create these lists and keep them on file, you can make edits easily and be ready to go whenever!
Trip Checklists – This is the master checklist which consolidates all other lists as well as some one off our "to do" tasks. (i.e., Grocery shop, Borrow books, Charge camera, etc.)
Household lists - Whenever we leave, the person who is house/dog/child sitting has a clue as to what to do in case the place implodes. This includes all key contacts such as vet, handyman, and neighbors.
Childcare list - Everything you need to know about childcare including a medical release.
Anything on your mind before you leave? Add it to a list!
Pack your bags
We bring little more than a basic plan: books, notebooks, and sunscreen. I find the lighter I pack, the happier I am with the process of travel.
Remember, the goal of the getaway isn't to add stress to your life, but to remove it. Don't aim for "perfect"; think "flexibility" and do your best to take any surprises, delays, or detours in stride. As long as you're together, the time should be well spent.
What tricks do you use to turn a travel idea into an action??