A vacation away always sounds fabulous! A beach house for a month, a lodge at the base of the mountain , ski in ski out, or a condo on a golf course on Hilton Head Island. Something for everyone, right. Okay, here are your tickets and reservations, all paid, your cab is waiting to take you to the airport. Bon Voyage!
But wait…”I can’t go now, I have too much work to do”, “I can’t leave for two weeks”, “I can’t leave the kids”, “I have responsibilities!!!”
Every year, thousands of vacation hours are lost, written off the books, untaken by harried employees who have worked hard all year to accumulate those precious hours. Or, they are “spent” at home, still working, albeit in robe and slippers. How does that happen? I’m happy to report that this was one bad “corporate” habit I managed to escape. And now, as a business owner, without a specific, limited vacation bank, I would have thought that it would be easier to get away. Its not.
Booking flights, finding hotels and rental cars along with coordinating child care, school transportation, kennel reservations and transportation, lawn care, snow removal and house sitters can seem daunting. Even the little things like stopping the mail seem like a pain—actually stopping the mail is easy, getting to the post office, during their limited hours, to pick it up after vacation always seems to be a challenge. So, why don’t we get away on vacations? Can it be that it’s just too much WORK to take a vacation?
Here are some ways to make it a little easier.
You won’t find the time, trust me on this. Like other important things in your life you have to make the time. Sit down with your traveling companion(s) this weekend. Look at your calendars for the whole year ahead and mark the dates for your vacation(s).
Plan the whole trip ahead of time. The idea of jetting off last minute may be romantic, but for most of us it just doesn’t happen that way. And, if done right, planning can be almost as much fun as the vacation itself.
Arrange your trip at whatever level you feel comfortable. Some people just don’t know how to get started, others prefer to “leave it to the experts”. There are amazing companies that will pick you up at your door, whisk you off to the destination of your choice and return you, free of worry. There are also amazing websites that allow you to book everything from your flight to train tickets to museum entrance times on your own. Let your comfort level and budget help you decide what is best for you.
- Take advantage of free or inexpensive travel apps (Pack the Bag, YourtTrip) that help you get organized the first time and then keep track of your all of your lists for future trips. These apps gather and store information for individual lists sorted by trip type: business, beach, skiing as well as “before you leave” lists.
- Create a Master List of all of your preferred service providers, from childcare to furnace repair, physicians to auto mechanics. Don’t have a preferred provider? It’s time to make those connections and find those resources, even if you never leave the city.
Cultivate ongoing relationships with the service providers that make your life easier. Making kennel arrangements may be just one more “to-do” on your list, but to the kennel, its their business and an opportunity to be of service. The same is true for lawn care folks and house sitters.
- Cultivate relationships with others who are willing to take care of your children. Yes. You can and should leave them once in a while. If you are one of those parents who believe only you can take proper care of your child than you are doing them and yourself a big disservice. It may not be as big a leap as you think. Many children already attend sleepovers…just consider two sleepovers in a row, and you have a weekend away with your spouse. Remember you are not looking for someone to raise them, instill lifelong values and launch them into adulthood. You are looking for someone who will keep them safe and entertained for a few days. In most cases, the temporary caregivers will have given them more time and attention than you would have during that same period because its a “special occasion”. Having said that, it is also critical to raise children that are welcome in other peoples homes! And be willing to reciprocate, giving other busy parents a chance to get away.
- Consider simplifying your life. What does this have to do with vacation or travel? The choices we make everyday, in our personal lives, homes and careers all result in a certain level of maintenance. A beloved pet is worth the effort needed to make special arrangements, but be wary of becoming a slave to your belongings and lifestyle. (Implementing tips 5,6 and 7 can make your life easier, even if you never leave the house.)This is an excellent time to evaluate outside commitments and obligations. Extraneous meetings, appointments that you have trouble saying “no” to may be an inconvenience during a regular week, but can be a real anchor when you want to get away.
Take the first step, make your plans, enjoy your vacation. This, like so many things gets easier with practice and who wouldn’t want to practice taking more vacations?
I’d love to hear where you are headed for vacation this year. And as always, if you need some help with getting started on anyone of these. I’m here for you. Book a 30 minute complementary Strategy Session to get started.