Treat Yourself: Take a Mini Vacation

Little fact: In 2011, CNNMoney reported Americans forfeit around $34 billion in vacation days per year. That is the total amount of money from unused vacation days. Ouch.

This statistic and recent planning inspired me to write about the importance of taking a break. This weekend I took my son to Kentucky for our annual mini mom/son vacation. Yes, work will be a little crazy when I return. Yes, it cost a little money. And yes, it was totally worth it.

The sunset and beach in Panama City, FLWhy Should You Take a Mini Vacation?

We all need a break, especially if you have a physically demanding job or sit at a desk all day. Our bodies get stiff, and our minds run 100 mph to keep up with our schedules. I am not suggesting a vacation with crammed schedules full of things to do. I’m talking about a vacation with fun activities and relaxation – think hot tub, beach, a hike or run, ziplining, or a quite dinner and drinks. And I strongly urge you to turn off your phone. Gasp!

Relax and Recharge: There are a number of sources that argue the mental and physical benefits of vacationing. Getting away allows us to have fun and relax, and we tend to sleep better. When we pack up and drive off, we break the monotony of everyday life and free ourselves – even if only for a couple of days. These trips are especially important for kids because they sit in class all day and deal with being kids. If you remember being one, it kind of sucked.

Make Memories: It’s a dismal thought, but do we begin dying the moment we’re born? It’s an interesting argument, and if so, we don’t have a lot of time to make memories and do everything we want. My son loves our mini vacations and will always remember his parents taking him to nearby attractions and cities, good restaurants, and spending quality time with him. I hope he will do the same with his family and friends.

Reflection and Connectivity: In our family, our mini vacations are times when one parent travels with our son. Last year, my husband and son went to their first NBA game in Memphis. This year, I took our son to one of the scariest places on Earth. Our little vacations are a time to grow closer, talk about anything, and try new things and foods. It’s all about spending time together or even traveling on your own. Taking a break can also jump-start creativity and inspire you to work harder.

We stay distracted and busy all the time, so it’s time we shut down like we do our computers and cellphones. Money and time are often factors, so here are some resources that may help:

51 Mini Family Vacations from Parenting.com

Inexpensive Mini Vacations from Easy Money Tips

The Mini Vacation from Travel+Leisure

It’s also a cool idea to vacation in your own city or take a day trip. We often overlook nice hotels and popular attractions that are in our own backyard.

If you’ve taken a cool mini vacation, feel free to tell us about it in the comments below!

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