Tag Archives: vacation

Can Someone Who Hasn’t Taken A Real Vacation In Years Not Have ANY Vacation Time?

I apologize for the long title for this post but I’m really puzzled how come I have zero vacation time left when I haven’t gone on a “real” out-of-town vacation in years? I’m not panicking since I will continue to accumulate hours and should accrue enough for some time off during the summer.

I know that I took a day off here and there last summer and around the holidays. Sad to say, except for one beach excursion, I don’t remember what I did on those vacation days.  I guess this is a reminder that rather than picking a random Friday and then see what’s happening around town, I should find a fun activity first and then schedule my vacation time around that event.  Otherwise, I’ll end up staying home and only taking the kids to the park if I’m extra motivated.  Apparently staycations don’t work that well for me, unless I plan in advance.

The good news is that I did plan my upcoming time off so at least I’ll remember what I did with those vacation days!

Are you planning your summer vacation already?  Anyone going on big trips?

While Your Family Was Out Picking Strawberries or Whale Watching….

As you may have guessed, my summer “vacation” was less than spectacular.  I had to include doing laundry as one of my vacation accomplishments.  Anyway, I was thinking that if my kids kept a tally of their fun summer, it would be a major fail.  Luckily of course they don’t keep a tally…

However if they did, this is what I imagine they would include on their list, plus commentary:

  1. 1 concert in the park  (music was ok but loved water toys and tables)
  2. 1 aquarium visit (not as exciting as Nemo)
  3. 1 Kid Museum day (love the colorful balls and slides)
  4. 2 Mall Visits (loud music, lots of people and toys)
  5. 3 Library Visits (books…bleh..)
  6. 1 Coffee Shop Visit (it’s fun to topple other people’s cups!)
  7. 1 Beach Trip (let’s run into the ocean! I hate sand on my feet…)
  8. 1 Birthday Party (balloons…)

If you consider that I read several local parenting websites and regularly check out their family event calendars, this list is pretty pathetic.  We have good reasons for missing out on activities and events, but still… I do  hope to squeeze in a few family outings before month’s end.  We’ll see…

What fun things did you do this summer? Oh wait, don’t tell me…

Vacation Tally

  1. One book
  2. One exercise class
  3. Two Movies
  4. Two Family Outings (including the beach and live music concert, both firsts for the kids)
  5. Two tubs of sweet organic strawberries
  6. Two chores completed (that I’ve been putting off for weeks…)
  7. Three Meals out
  8. Four loads of dishes (loaded/unloaded)
  9. Six loads of laundry*
  10. Six tantrums (I didn’t count but I assume once per day…)
  11. Six glorious days of sleeping in!

As you can see from the six loads of laundry, things did not always go as I planned.  I wanted to exercise more.  I would have loved to get one extra organizational chore out of the way and off my mind.  And of course I wanted to unload fewer dishes!  On the second day of my staycation, my husband had to remind me to enjoy myself.  It was a much-needed reminder as I was focusing on the pitfalls of staying home (laundry, dishes..) and not the fun part (sleeping in, kids, family time)…

* I did not tally my chores against my husband’s. Two of those loads were my clothes (he does his own) while the other four were baby/kid clothes.  To his credit, he did some kid-proofing, changed air filters, took out the trash a few times, also unloaded dishes, probably cooked dinner a few times, and took care of the dogs, a chore I hate!

A Vacation, Downsized

In my pre-kid days, a vacation meant exotic locales with a good mix of relaxation and exploration.  I would look forward to this weeks ahead of time, think through my packing list, and put the image of the destination on my computer screen as I count the days til departure.  My husband and I love traveling and we always had a memorable experience.

Traveling with one kid is very do-able but becomes a different experience with two, one that we’re not so eager to take on.   Plus, with stretched finances and limited time, it’s not feasible to take a long vacation anymore.

That’s where I got the idea of taking off a day or two every month.  I need to spend more time with my kids, period.  Even an extra day per month makes a difference mentally.  At first, I thought we could go to the park, library or do some other unique kid-friendly activity.  Maybe I would join stay-at-home moms on play dates.  I got tons of ideas from parenting websites and local parenting groups.   At the very least, I would also use part of the day to exercise and then just enjoy having more time with the kids.

Reality check.  Most vacation days turned into a “catch-up” errand day.  The laundry load multiplied to make up for my extra time.  I’m serious!  We were lucky to head out to a nearby park for half an hour at 5:30 p.m.

Naturally I got very down about my new vacation experience, to the point that I almost did not take a day off this month.  Then I re-sized my expectations to:  Getting to sleep in, not commuting and time with kids.  That’s it.  No planned excursions.  Nothing exciting.  More time to do the laundry.  This was okay.   This is probably very depressing to non-parents but I was actually more content after this realization.

On a recent day “off”, I cooked a lot of baby food, folded laundry, did laundry, and got the kids to both nap at the same time.  My husband ran a few errands that are just easier to do without the kids.  We didn’t even attempt to go out as a family.  Both kids were extra clingy and sweet and I “solved” a diaper rash crisis (yes, crisis…), making me mom of the year at our household.  Those things made my vacation all worthwhile.

Did you have a new definition of vacation after parenthood?

October 26: Take Your Vacation

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

I’m always amazed when I hear that many Americans don’t take all their vacation time each year, considering the average person gets 2 weeks and even if you get more days off, it’s unlikely to match the average European’s vacation time.  

If you want to enjoy a simpler life even though you’re still working full-time, you have to take your vacation days.  That time off is your golden chance to experience the slower pace of life enjoyed by those who have left the rat race.

I’ve been guilty of not taking my vacation time, too, so I get it.  You’re too busy, you have no money, you can’t coordinate your schedules, your boss doesn’t take vacations, you’re indispensible (BTW, no one is indispensible..), you hate planning, you hate flying, etc…But vacations don’t have to be complicated or even that planned out now that you can find last minute travel deals everywhere.  You can stay local or go hiking or pamper yourself at a day spa.  Or stay home and pretend you’re a pioneer and can your own vegetables.  Whatever.. just take your much deserved vacation time.

Do you take all your vacation days? If not, why?

July 27: Vacation

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

Take a break from blogging…..(this is a “cheat” in terms of Wednesday tips, but since many readers also blog, it’s not that much of a cheat) Sometimes you just need a break….

Do you ever take a break from blogging?

July 6: A Simple Vacation

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

I was inspired to write this after reading a few posts over at Apartment Therapy which has  had several posts over the years about making the most of a vacation at home and on making the most of summer

The truth is, as much as I love vacations, vacation planning is not always simple.  Even if you book a cruise or some all-inclusive deal, there may be some research involved or price comparisons.  Even the most “laid-back” trip often involves some excursion planning and transportation-related headaches (from getting to the airport on time to finding the nearest restroom while on the road).   A “stay-cation” is no picnic either, because you often end up doing errands and no one is making the bed for you, i.e. it doesn’t feel like much of a vacation.

This year, we’re not planning any big trips.  Nothing complicates travel like young children and I don’t want to haul strollers and diapers around.  I’m just taking a few days off here and there.  However, over the years, I have learned some tricks for simplifying my vacations:

  1. Pack Smart.  This means pack light and clothes that mix and match well.  No browns and blacks.  If you pack light enough, you can avoid checking in luggage which also simplifies life.
  2. Don’t overplan. As tempting it is to see and do everything, try to stick to a short “must-do/must-see” list.  Otherwise you’ll just tire yourself out and not enjoy the trip as much anyway.
  3. Use kayak.com or www.farecompare.com for airplane ticket comparisons.  I found farecompare.com to be the best website because it grabs deals from several sources.  My best find was $600 r/t (maybe $700 after taxes and fees?) to Italy one summer.  If you have other favorite sites, let me know. [correction: Earlier I had written that kayak.com was the best source but I just remembered that the best deal I got was through farecompare.com]
  4. Live in a tourist destination.  It’s much easier to enjoy a stay-cation if you live in a part of the country that people visit.  After all, people are attracted to your town for a reason so there’s probably a lot to do.  Note: I’m not suggesting that anyone moves but living in Los Angeles with connections in Italy definitely has perks.

How do you keep your vacations simple and fun?