Have you ever done something crazy and spontaneous? Just thrown it all over and disappeared for a couple of days? Well you should consider it. Why? Because sometimes we all need a break or mini-vacation.
More than just a day off yet less than a full blown vacation, what it will do for your sanity and well-being is more than you’ll ever realize.
So how do you do it? I can hear you thinking – “What on earth is he talking about?” Well – lucky you – I’m going to share a huge secret with you.
Look around your area and price the hotels. If you live in a tourist area like I do you will see that they can really get up there in price. However if you take advantage of shoulder or off-peak seasons or mid-week rates you can save a fortune. And you should. There is something about letting yourself be “on vacation” for a day or two that will totally recharge you.
Almost everyone has heard of Priceline, HotWired and Hotels.com by now. And yes – when you are trying to get everything done quickly they are probably decent sites to go to. Using a travel agent may be a better option if you are going on a “dream holiday.” But for what I am talking about you can and should deal directly with the hotel yourself.
If there is a nice hotel in your area with a swimming pool and a restaurant go for it. Stay one or two nights. Explain when you phone or drop by that you are indeed local and that you need a couple of nights as a break. Ask if they have any special rates and packages. We have a several places with indoor swimming pools and or fitness facilities. Some include breakfast while others will refer you to great local eateries. And if you are staying locally you might not need all their services but there is something nice about a room you don’t have to clean and a bed you don’t have to make. Remember to leave the cellphone at home along with the computer. It’s only a day or two. (And this is coming from someone who had to deal with between 500 and 1000 emails a day.) Unplug and recharge! That’s the purpose of this mini-break.
As far as meals are concerned – get a gift card from one or two of the local restaurants. Use it up. The idea is to feel special. If there is a theatre, museum or concert hall around see what is happening and take advantage of it. So often we say we will do this or that and then, when we want to, the event is over. This time, because you are on vacation, you will be able to do it.
If the hotel is affiliated with a national/international chain, deal directly with the hotel and not with the 800 number of the chain. But you should make sure you are a member of whatever loyalty program they may participate in as it could get you a free breakfast or other perks. If you are already a member of a loyalty program and have enough points or miles to stay for free then consider using your points if that’s a better deal than paying for your stay. It will make you feel even more like you are on holiday.
Also you should check with local tourism bureaus or chambers of commerce within a three hour drive of your home. Three hours is just far enough to let you feel you are away but close enough that you won’t be exhausted when you get home. Don’t forget to check with your local ones as well. Often they have additional discount coupons and other specials. Telling the people what you are doing could save you quite a bit of money as well since they will try to help you. You would be amazed how many things exist locally that you might not know about.
Three hours from where I live is Cape Cod. There are a few B&B’s that run off-season specials. One place has a $99 weekend rate in the fall. Why? Because they’d rather make a few bucks than no money at all. While I haven’t taken advantage of it yet I have spoken with some people who have and they have said that the hosts are wonderful and will go out of their way to make sure you have a great stay. Small independent hotels and bed and breakfasts are also great places to check out. You might get an even better break because you are local.
The idea is to shake up your life a little bit so that you will feel better and think better when you return to your normal routine. So go for it and enjoy.