We know there are questions around travel amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read our note here.
We're all about family adventures and raising kids with a passion for travel. But we know that sometimes, you need to get away on your own to rest and recharge. Make this the year you pay attention to your own needs, beginning with a "momcation" to help you regain your peace of mind. From going it alone to establishing expectations with your family, here are a few things to think about to make sure your vacation is everything you deserve.
Consider Going Solo or in a Smaller Group
Traveling with friends is a wonderful experience, but it can also add stress and expectations that are exactly the sort of thing you want to get away from on your momcation. While it can be daunting to consider traveling by yourself, solo trips offer a number of advantages over group adventures. You can prioritize the locations and experiences you want without compromising any of your own time. You also have space to truly unwind and relax — whatever that looks like for you — apart from any social expectations.
If you're not used to traveling alone, don't be afraid to start small. You don't have to take off halfway around the world in order to get the rejuvenating solo experience you need — though we have some ideas for that if you're interested! If the urban jungle is what restores your spirit, head to the nearest city for a weekend of museums and window shopping. If nature is what you need, load up your tent or book a cabin. Enjoy a few days of peace and solitude in the nearest national park. Even a single day without the responsibilities of a family can leave you reenergized.
If you're set on a trip with friends, know that the larger the group, the more compromises that will have to be made. We've all had that vacation that left us more tired than we were when we left. So opt for plans with a couple of close friends rather than a more extended group. This will help ensure you get the mental reset you need.
Don't Overbook Yourself
Speaking of tiring yourself out, think twice before trying to cram every bucket list activity onto your trip's itinerary. It can be tempting to visit every must-see spot and try every recommendation in the guidebook. Remember that the purpose of a momcation is to relax and refresh, and leave yourself plenty of space in your schedule. The last thing you want is to be stressed out because your masseuse is running late and you're not going to make it to the show on time.
Identify a couple of activities you want to prioritize, and keep the rest of your itinerary open. Not only does this make planning less stressful, but it allows you to be open to new possibilities and to pay attention to what you need in the moment.
Don't be afraid to try something new, but also be mindful of committing yourself to something that will only stress you out. Spend some time before your trip thinking of what activities will truly help you feel calmer and more centered, and recognize that everyone is different. The spa day that left your friend feeling twenty years younger might sound boring to you, and that's okay. Self-care isn't one-size-fits-all, so seek out the places and activities that speak to you and leave yourself room to discover even more.
Set Communication Expectations
Whether your partner will be taking care of the kids or if they're going to have a babysitter, establish in advance whether and how much you want to communicate with them while you're away. Some moms may not want to hear from their family unless it's an emergency. Others will be able to worry less — and enjoy their vacation more — if they get a morning text to let them know that things at home are going smoothly. Figure out what will be most helpful to you, and then make sure everyone, including your kids, are on the same page and know what to expect.
What you don't want is to get a call every time someone can't find Fido's leash, doesn't know how to heat up the frozen food, or needs to know what day to set out the recycling. Leave any necessary instructions in writing, and, again, make sure everyone understands the expectations while you're gone. Having plans in place to make sure things are taken care of — from childcare to chores — will allow you to relax instead of stress over what's happening at home.
Communicate clearly with both your children and your partner that needing time away is a natural part of any healthy family and relationship. By taking care of yourself, you're setting a good example for them. Help them understand that this vacation is a positive event for you, rather than a sign of anything being wrong. Then, they can better respect your space and honor your needs regarding calls and texts while you're away.
Stick to a Budget
A momcation doesn't have to break the bank. In fact, splurging on your trip — instead of making it more enjoyable — could have the opposite effect by making you feel extra pressure to enjoy yourself and return refreshed. After all, nothing kills a good time faster than thinking, "I'd better have fun!" Figure out a budget that makes sense for you and plan around it, so you don't have to stress about the financials during your trip.
Whether your trip is going to take you across the country or just down the road, look for deals on travel and lodging. Identify the aspects of your vacation that you prefer to spend more on and the ones that are less important, and distribute your budget accordingly.
The most important part of a budget is recognizing what you can spend, so you can put away any feelings of guilt. Recognize your momcation as an investment not only in yourself but in all of your family. Let it be a time of rest and relaxation that gives you joy and energy to bring back to your relationships at home.