Little Getaways; a few of my favorite things
This week is spring break for our school district. The best way to tell if it’s spring break in Ohio is to check the weather for a week with the random pop-up spring snow storm. That’s probably your school district’s spring break.
I’m writing this from the passenger seat while Ryan’s driving through what weather people would call a "wintery mix".
Where are we going? A little family getaway. Sometimes when people think about vacation, they assume it involves airfare, or resort fees, or passports. Those things are great. But for most families, "vacations" are not doable on a regular basis.
But here’s the thing, getting away is important. It’s good for families to change it up a little and leave town from time to time. That’s why I love little getaways. When I talk about a little getaway, a few things come to mind:
It’s relatively close to home.
It’s not very expensive.
It does’t require much advanced planning.
In order for it to be a quick getaway, it’s important that you aren’t driving for 8+ hours to get there. Otherwise, you’ve basically tacked on a day on both sides. For busy professionals, it’s much easier to swing a short trip. No one wants to be away for a week or more and come back to twice the work. We happen to live within two hours from four state parks with wonderful lodges and cabins. State park lodges are great because they are all the fun of a resort (indoor and outdoor pool, golf, basketball courts, hiking, etc.) without the expense of a resort.
Which leads me to the second point, these getaways shouldn’t break the bank. There’s a time and place for extravagant vacations you save up for. These are special occasion trips that most families will only do once or twice period. Getaways should be regular, which means they can’t be expensive. We like a short 1-2 night trip each quarter. I already talked about state parks, which we frequent. We’ve also used Airbnb and VRBO this year. These are sites where people can rent out their properties in interesting places. You can find really good deals on vacation homes, condos, or cabins this way. We rented a condo in Gatlinburg last summer with Airbnb and had a ton of fun. For my 40th, we used VRBO to rent a cabin in Amish country for my extended family. It was beautiful and we still talk about how much we loved it.
Sometimes people think about going somewhere, but get overwhelmed by the planning. My sister is an expert Disney planner. She watches Vlogs, and gives tips, and knows her way around the Disney app. When we went to Disney, I needed her to tell me what to do. I needed her to help me get fast passes and know what things we should experience. And although it was fun to plan all that, it was a little overwhelming. That’s the opposite of how a quick getaway should be. Because you’re not traveling too far, or spending too much money, it’s okay to plan these trips just a few days before. In fact, we’re on our way to a state park as I type this for spring break and we booked our cabin three days ago. We threw some clothes and snacks and our dog into the van and we’re about to have some fun. The kids will get muddy and we’ll probably check out some local pizza shop (that tends to be a staple of these excursions) and we’ll make a bunch of memories and maybe even some traditions. We’re only staying two nights because a week away isn’t that much fun in our stage of life.
Getting away is important. It’s the stuff kids will look back on with fondness. Stories you tell for years often come from trips away, like the time our nephew fell in an almost frozen lake while fishing or the time we went on a trip during March Madness and it was me who couldn’t miss a game. Most of the time, I don’t care at all about sports, but I love March Madness.
I hope you get a chance to do a quick trip away in the next few months. Make some traditions and memories. Laugh, and hike, and get muddy, and eat some pizza. These are the things your kids will tell their kids about and maybe even continue the tradition.