We all need a weekend getaway once in a while to recharge and gain perspective on whatever might be going on in our lives. We can sense when life has gotten too hectic and stressful, yet, we come up with excuses like “I was going to clean the garage this weekend,” or “My car needs an oil change, and gas is too expensive anyway.

While these things might be true, they shouldn’t stop you from getting away when you need to. Here are some ideas for truly relaxing – whether you literally leave town, or just take a mental vacation, a.k.a. a staycation. This week, I’ll be covering getaways, and next week will be all about staycations! So, stay tuned for that… for now, here are some tips for getting outta town:

Hit the Road!

First, decide what kind of weekend getaway you want. Is it a romantic trip, or one for the whole family? Will you be bringing pets? Or, are you getting friends together for a fun group getaway? Each type of getaway should strike a balance between relaxation and fun activities. Find out what’s going on near your destination, and plan from there.

Here are a few ideas for planning each of these types of getaways:

Romantic Escape

Location: Bed and breakfast or boutique hotel
Activities: Wine tasting, couples’ massage, lounging by the water, romantic walks & sight-seeing excursions
Tip: Check Living Social Escapes for great deals on couples’ packages near you

B&B’s provide a unique, personal experience that you can’t get at a chain hotel. When I ran my own, I strove to make it as chic and unique as possible! When you’re booking a weekend at a B&B, keep in mind that their rates are often comparable to hotel rates – but you get a lot more bang for your buck at a good B&B. Usually, your rate will include perks like free parking, in-room movies, and a meal that’s much more gourmet than the typical continental breakfast you’d get at a hotel. B&B’s are often located in quaint, sometimes hard-to-get-to places. If an escape is what you’re looking for, nothing feels better than spending the weekend at a picturesque place in the middle of nowhere!

Group Getaway

Location: Campground, cabin, or timeshare
Activities: Wine tasting, antique shopping, sight-seeing, lounging, swimming, game night
Tip: The bigger the group, the larger the discounts! When you’re planning your trip, be sure to ask about group rates. Check out vrbo.com for listings in every state and city – they have house rentals nightly, weekly, and monthly. Good for family or group trips!

Group getaways are a fantastic way to spend time with close friends. They can be tricky, because everyone in a group has different energy levels, needs and wants. The key to planning a stress-free group getaway is to leave plenty of room in your itinerary for the group to break off into smaller groups so people can do their own thing or relax if need be. Plan to have at least one meal together per day, and leave the middle of the day open, with a few different activity options. For example, maybe the girls would like to go antique shopping while the guys check out a nearby hiking trail. Make sure everyone’s needs are met by selecting a location that provides a few choices. Then in the evening, everyone can reconvene for a wine tasting and group dinner!

Family Vacation

Location: Campground, cabin, timeshare, or family-friendly hotel / resort
Activities: Cooking out, hiking, swimming, outdoor sports (tennis, archery, tag football), art or street fairs, all-ages festivals
Tip: Check out Festivals.com to find out what family-friendly events are happening near you.

Locations that offer outdoor activities, whether that means hiking and camping or attending a festival or street fair, are ideal for families. All-ages events are called that for a reason – there’s something for everyone! It helps to choose a location where other families stay, so your kids will have playmates. Or, if you have friends or family with similarly aged kids, make it an extended family vacation.

Be sure to involve your kids in the planning process, from choosing the place you stay to mapping out your route, to choosing games to play in the car and picking activities you’ll do once you reach your destination. If you know you have a conference coming up, or if one of your kids has an activity like a baseball game coming up in a different town, turn that trip into a mini-vacation! Try to tie in your trip with whatever your kids are obsessed with at the moment. If your children are learning about early America in school, replicate that experience on your vacation! For example, Glacier National Park offers families the opportunity to spend the night in a tipi and eat traditional Blackfeet cuisine at their Lodgepole Gallery & Tipi Village. It never hurts to get a little learning in on your family vacations! Let your kids help to document the trip by taking pictures of all the places you stop, and make a scrapbook when you get home.

Travel With Pooch

Location: Campground, cabin, pet-friendly hotel or B&B
Activities: Walking, hiking, outdoor dining, Frisbee, eating treats, cuddling
Tip: Check out TakeYourPet.com for great travel tips and to find out which destinations allow your furry friends to come along.

For many of us, pets are part of the family too! Traveling with them comes with its own challenges, but it can make any vacation extra special. In the car, make sure your little buddy is strapped in, either in a doggie car seat or a crate. Pull over every hour or two, so your pet can relieve him or herself. And don’t ever leave your pet alone – in the car or once you reach your destination. For safety, keep your furball on leash at all times, except when you’re in your room (or tent). Make sure you know where the nearest vet is!

What’s your best vacation memory? Share it in the comments below and I may feature your vacation ideas on the homepage of ediTORIal!


Photo Credit: Urban Princess; Diary of a Girl Abroad
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