Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho it’s off to work we go… Doesn’t it seem like that is all we ever do sometimes? Home to work, work to home and repeat?

It’s funny, I remember when it was promoted that with the advance of technology, we would soon have more time to relax. Computers were going to make life so much simpler and create much more free time in our lives.

For those of you that are of the younger generations, you may not be aware, but it didn’t exactly work that way.

You see, now, we can bring our work home with us! We can take on second jobs and we can even add online education to our schedule. It seems there is a multitude of things that can help us to still stay constantly in motion on the hamster wheel of life – racing around and not really getting anywhere.

Photo of a woman in a sweater at a computer on a table near a window

The question is… Is that the best thing for us?

Research is showing that it really isn’t. As stated in a post from ‘allinahealth.org’ – “Studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and mental health benefits. People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals.”

So, what’s holding people back these days from taking vacations?

In my opinion, I believe there are 3 main culprits:

  1. Money. Yup. I am gonna go there. The belief that ‘we can’t afford to’ is a strong one. Also, in some cases, taking time off may mean not generating an income during that time.
  2. Time. I know, right? It takes time to plan, time to handle what needs done while gone, and time off. Time is a huge factor.
  3. The how. Huh? Well, if you haven’t ever been involved in planning something like this out, how to do it can seem pretty overwhelming.

Let’s tackle the money aspect right off.

There is a mindset out there floating around that implies that a ‘mini-vacation’ or ‘vacation’ requires booking cruises, or packages that start out at hundred’s of dollars per person, to have any sort of fun factor value. This just isn’t true.

I am not saying that cruises and packages are out of the picture – in fact – I have a connection that I will be sharing with you later to save some money, time and know-how. This blog though, is about mini-vacations that you plan for and can be tailor-made for you.

It is almost mind-blowing how much a limited budget mini-vacation taken with the right mindset can re-charge our outlook on life.

Shane and Donna flew out from California to Michigan for Nana Banana’s funeral. Obviously this was an unexpected, yet, they determined necessary, expense. They had other family in the area, and decided to make the most out of this trip. They added a couple of days to the front and one to the back of their weekend. They made sure to leave out arriving in such a way that they would have an entire day to spend with family before the funeral. Then, they spent the evening of the funeral and the day after with us.

Why do I share that story? Well, for one – other than the flights (which had to be bought sort of last minute, and within specific time constraints), they had very limited expenses and yet they told me that ‘we returned home feeling refreshed after celebrating Nana Banana’s life, creating great memories with family and friends, and just relaxing and not ‘adulting’ for a few days.’

So, let’s review the weekend.

Transportation: Shane learned that his sister would not need her car for the weekend, and asked if he could borrow it – thereby eliminating the cost of a rental. *while this isn’t always the case for someone traveling – look in to what transportation options you have before making a decision that costs you hundreds. Maybe you don’t need to rent a car, and can just use local transportation.

Lodging: The first and second night, they stayed with family. Then, for the third night, they stayed in the same hotel as the rest of us – which included a hot breakfast the next morning. The final night, they stayed in a hotel that provided shuttle service to the airport. {Both nights at the hotels were great deals that our travel agent secured for us.)

Food: Meals with family cut down on some of the expense there. The day of the funeral, we all went to a quaint little local restraurant that had phenomenal prices and good country food. <ordering tap water to drink lowers the food tab remarkably.> Then that evening, Shane and I went to the local grocery store and picked up microwave meals, and chips and dips for snacking.

Amy, Ken, Jorjia, and Michael at a table playing Catan, the board game. In the clubhouse, with other tables in the background. 3 windows behind them.

Entertainment: Visiting with family and sharing memories, stories and photos filled up quite a bit of the weekend, but not all of it. Ken, Jorjia and I had driven up, so I had packed Catan ( https://amzn.to/3mrkIwJ ) (a board game we all love). We went to the Hampton hotel lobby, heated up the microwave meals, and set up the tables for us to play and eat and laugh for hours. I had also made two requests with our travel agent for the hotels, we wanted a gym and heated pool. Those also filled some of our time.

Not Adulting: Having someone else set the plans in motion, and have at least a skeleton schedule to follow helps a lot. Also, just cutting loose and relaxing without thinking of work, spending time in the actual moment – that can relieve so much stress. I had tentatively planned out for us to play board games, I am the queen of grocery store eating in hotels, and we had intentionally planned down time for naps, YouTube, the gym and pool, knowing that after an emotional service it would be great acts of self love to stop and take care of ourselves.

During the final day, there was some travel and stopping to eat along the way, as we all headed back toward the airport and our trip home – nothing fancy, yet filled with laughter and trying new things. Who knew cheese curds tasted so yummy?!

If a trip that came about to celebrate the life of a loved one could feel like a vacation, and not cost tons of money, what could you plan to help recharge your life?

While reviewing this blog with Shane, he shared something else that he and Donna had heard, and we both thought I should share it with you. Known as the 2-2-2 rule, from a reddit post from r/Marriage that is regaining popularity on social media – it’s a recipe for relationships. The rule suggests every two weeks go on a date, every two months take an overnight away, and every two years be sure to get a week away together. The gist of this guideline is to be intentional as a couple, and spend that time focusing and listening to each other, plus having a lighthearted relaxing time. Again, not putting yourselves under financial strain to do so, but being creative in being fiscally wise.

Amanda Frances teaches that she labels her bank accounts according to what they are for. What if you created a savings account and labeled it VACATION?

It is exciting to see how quickly the consistent amounts add up, even if you are just putting in say $10.00 a week.

An image with Tips to Help Take Vacation on it - then a list of the items that are shared about next in the blog.

Another great hack to build that balance even faster, is in addition to your consistent deposits; any extra income that comes your way.

  • Perhaps a refund check, selling something, fasting something – deposit those into that account too!
  • *Fasting something? That is a term used for ‘giving up something for a period of time’. So, for example, let’s say that you normally stop and buy a soda every day after work, but you decide that you are going to ‘fast it’ Monday through Thursday, and only treat yourself on Friday. You could take the amount that you normally would spend, and put it in to your VACATION savings fund.
  • Add some intentional temporary income geared towards earning for the vacation. Some things could be: drive Uber or Lyft a bit around your regular job, pick up some overtime at work if possible, mow lawns, sell some services on Fiverr or Upworks or another social platform, sell some things on Facebook Marketplace, etc.

Remember that connection I said that I would share? Well, my friend Denise is a travel agent, and she helped us all get the great deals that we did, plus she handled all of the searching, creating an itinerary, and booking for us – it took so much pressure off of me during such a difficult time! The greatest thing is – “All travel bookings have a travel agent fee built in.” – which means I didn’t pay any extra for Denise to book it, in fact – she found better deals than I would have! You see, ” When you book on your own you pay for a Travel agent and are given an 800# but not given personal service. Paying for a service you don’t use is leaving money on the table. Why not book with a travel agent who has your back?” Denise certainly had our backs, and I am so grateful that it was something I didn’t have to worry about – i just told her what I wanted, and she made it happen. So smooth. So simple. So helpful.

I asked Denise, and she said that she would love to help our bloggers out – so, here is her link – let her have your back for you too! http://mandmmagicaladventures.com/dblassingame.html Denise can help you with everything from vacation packages to simply renting a car or getting a hotel room. You can also email her at deniseb@mandmmagicaladventures.com (let her know that you read about her on our blog – I know she takes great care of all her clients, but maybe she can bless you with something special!)

We would love it if you would share with us any of your vacation tips – on money, time or how to – as I continue this series and hopefully inspire others to take vacation!

Sending Smiles across the miles, Ms Amy

Thank you so much for spending this time with us! We appreciate every read, like, subscribe, comment, and share!

Photo credit:

Woman on computer – Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Catan with family – Amy (selfie)

Quote taken from: http://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/importance-of-taking-a-vacation#:~:text=Studies%20have%20shown%20that%20taking,more%20motivation%20to%20achieve%20goals.

Amazon link: https://amzn.to/3mrkIwJ for the Catan board game. NOTE: Amy is an Amazon Associate, and would like to thank you for purchasing this item, or any purchases that you make through her link. You will not pay any more than you normally would, but Amazon gives Amy a referral commission for it. Thank you so very much!

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