Check Your Vibes: How To Have The Perfect Weekend Getaway

I’m all about periodic quality weekend escapes (and I think everyone should be!), but there is a distinct art to them — getting out of town is only half the battle. Leaving your home base brings no guarantee you’ll feel any calmer or more refreshed than you do when you’re caught up in the rat race, and it can sometimes even be more stressful! That’s a huge bummer, because removing yourself you’re your daily reality can do wonders for your stress levels and your sense of perspective. Besides just plain making you happy, getting out of town gives you a greater sense of objectivity to help you make more empowered, measured choices about your everyday life back home. There really should be a manual for such things, don’t you think? Behold, how to have the relaxing weekend jaunt you deserve. It’s got all the joys of a mental health day without all that missed work!

1. Plan it in a quick burst. Don’t drag out a long planning process like you might for a longer-term vacation. It’s smart to check out all your options, especially if you want to save money, but if you take too long, the trip might stay a dreamy hypothetical that never happens at all. Block out the time and hit the “book” button as quickly as possible. Consider visiting someplace nearby or considered off-season to save money and time.

2. Set aside your budget for the weekend ahead of time. If the extra expense of a trip is stressing you out, make sure you set aside a designated chunk of cash for the weekend so that you aren’t tempted to overspend. Make peace with that money being gone before you even arrive so you don’t feel like you’re hemorrhaging cash all weekend long. In your mind, it’s already been spent, so don’t feel guilty!

3. Do everything in your power not to think about work or school. I know that when you’re actively trying not to think about something, it’s all you can think about, but hopefully, you’ll become so distracted by simply enjoying yourself that you’ll forget all about real life. I’ve always felt that the mark of a true vacation is feeling fully removed from your life at home, as if you’re on a totally different planet, and it can be hard to reach that point when you’re in a habit of stressing all day long. Sometimes it can take hours or days to stop thinking about to-do lists and all the work you’ll have to do when you get home, but if you can help it, shut those thoughts off as much as possible. Thinking about your responsibilities while on vacation doesn’t make you any more productive at those tasks – all it does is make it that much harder for you to avoid burnout or find any kind of balance. When you’re on a break, be all the way on a break. Your brain will thank you for it.

4. Consider taking a phone sabbatical. Check your phone as little as possible. Sure, there are all kinds of fun distractions on them that count as vacation-worthy, but you already use your phone as a distraction during your everyday life, and on vacation, there are much more fun means of relaxing than that. Do you really want to be reaching for the same thing that keeps you occupied during stretches of boredom at the office when you’re not at work against your will? This is especially true if you’re on a trip with friends or loved ones. I know, it’s tempting to just stare at the phone, but try actually talking to them instead!

5. Bring along quality people. If you’re not in the mood to go solo, a nice little mini-vacation is the perfect time to bond with a close friend or a significant other – just be sure to bring someone along who (mostly) relaxes you and who is on a similar travel wavelength so you have the same ideas about how to spend your quality time. It can also be a great opportunity to get to know acquaintances a lot better. Traveling with someone you don’t know very well can be a disaster if they turn out to totally suck, but since your trip is just a weekend long, there’s not as much to lose if things go south. It’s a great opportunity to bring along a semi-friend you want to grow closer with, because nothing bonds people faster than wonky transportation nightmares, late nights in hotels, and hours of real-life face time together (at least one of which you will totally experience on your adventure).

6. Be as present as you can. I know, I’m totally about to go into woo territory, but enjoy your sweet escape as much as possible by soaking it all in. We tend to want to bottle wonderful moments, and we often try to do that in the most counterintuitive way possible – by overthinking during our experience and breaking every ten seconds to take another picture (guilty as charged.) In reality, though, the closest we’ll ever get to owning a moment is experiencing it as fully and as wholly as possible, because then we’ll have been 100 percent present instead of only half paying attention in order to capture every second to revisit in some unknown future. Instead of capturing the memories, make them – then they’ll be that much more fun and vivid to relive in the future. Happy travels!