I'm a planner. I love having things booked out way in advance to look forward to. However, sometimes, the plans never seem doable. There's no time to spare, no money in the bank, or no hope on the horizon. When those times arise, you need to keep your radar on to seize the unexpected free weekend to have an impromptu getaway with your loved one.
Last weekend, my husband and I ran across a pocket of free time and a little boost in the budget. We decided to take the opportunity to get away before Valentines, and it was such a blessing! I know you can't plan impromptu, but you can prepare for the possibility, so that when that moment comes you can seize it and make the most of it.
No. 1 - You Don't Have to Go Far
There are definitely times when it's great to get far away from home and see new and exciting places. The reality is, if you're struggling to fit something in the budget or calendar, you probably don't have the resources to get too far. That's okay! Sometimes it's nice to hop in the car and know that 15 minutes later you'll be enjoying relaxing time with your sweetie, and you didn't over spend on time or gas. There's probably a new nook of the city you live in that will offer enough change in scenery to make it feel like you're officially away.
No. 2 - Take 2 Nights at a Minimum
I know your time and calendar budgets might be stretched, but it is so worth it to take just one more night. If you didn't drive far, you've saved the time it would have taken you to get there, so make it up in time relaxing with your loved one. The extra night will allow you to truly feel rejuvenated when you return.
No. 3 - Use a Website like Kayak to Get a Hotel Steal
If you book last minute, chances are hotels are eager to fill their rooms and offer great deals. Kayak helps you find last minute deals while checking prices on hundreds of other sites to make sure you get the best price. We found an amazing rate at Element Dallas Fort Worth Airport North Hotel. At $80 a night for a king studio room with a kitchen and sectional sofa, it was well worth it.
No. 4 - Don't Go on a Holiday Weekend
This may sound like common sense, but if budgets are tight, holiday weekends are deal breakers. Even if you plan in advance, holiday rates are sure to be inflated because of the demand. If your available moment falls near a popular travel time, try to get away just before or just after the rush. That way you can still celebrate the "holiday" together, but without paying the high prices.
No. 5 - Sweeten the Deal with Your Sitter
So you've saved money by not driving so far, and getting a killer deal on a hotel, that doesn't mean you have to go super cheap on everything. Sometimes what keeps us from getting away is anxiety about leaving our kids - no matter how wonderful the babysitter might be. My mom lives with us, however, that doesn't mean we have the ability to come and go as we please. We left her some extra cash to take the kids to a movie and out to eat. Knowing that they'll be having a good time while you're gone frees you to enjoy the time you're away and not fret about the kids.
No. 6 - Have a Vision for Your Time
It's so easy to jump on the wave of spontaneity and get away with your loved one only to be disappointed with your time because you didn't think past, "Let's get away."
Where there is no vision, the people perish.
I'm not talking about a minute by minute schedule. I'm talking about a general idea for what you want the time to accomplish. Do you need to be refreshed? Do you need to reconnect? Do you need to have an opportunity to let loose and do something exciting? Identify the purpose so that you can make the most of your time away.
No. 7 - Be Upfront with Expectations
This really goes hand in hand with the last tip. If you have a vision for what you want your getaway to look like, but your loved one doesn't share the same vision, your relaxing getaway could turn into a war zone. Relationships require communication and compromise. You can't get to a place where you can compromise if you haven't communicated your expectations.
No. 8 - Enjoy the Quiet Together
If you have kids, chances are you haven't had a conversation in a while that wasn't innocently interrupted by a little person. Life is noisy, and it's easy to lose sight of the value of a little quiet. If you can, avoid the TV or other distractions. TV can be a date night at home! Your getaway time should be unique, sacred, and different than life at home. If you're an introvert like me, you need quiet, and it can be fun to enjoy quiet with your loved one.
No. 9 - Nurture One Another's Souls
As a mom, it's so easy to see your own need for a getaway, and miss that your husband might be as desperate for one as you are. Anger and fighting come from seeking one's own desires above others. If you purpose to nurture one another's souls, you might both come out refreshed and rejuvenated in ways you never expected.
No. 10 - Count the Cost
You might be reading this thinking that it all sounds good, but you just don't have the budget to pull of an impromptu getaway. If this is the case, look at your budget. You spend money on things you value. Anyone could tell I love books by looking at my spending patterns. If there's a luxury item (like Sonic happy hour drinks) that you're currently indulging in, see if you can't do without for a little while and put the money you would have spent in a jar. Before long, you'll have saved up enough to get away.
Really the cost you need to be counting is the cost of letting time slip away without being intentional about giving your loved one a substantial amount of time every now and then. It doesn't take long for two people to become strangers, even if they live under the same roof. Relationships are expensive but well worth the investment. If you'd like to strengthen your relationships, just like your stock portfolios, you'd better put your time or money where your mouth is.