It can be difficult to know how much cash to bring when going abroad. Generally speaking, exchanging about $200 USD is a good idea, unless you know you are going on quite a few excursions where you will need to pay cash. There will be ATMs wherever you go and the exchange rate is usually good. You can always exchange any unused cash once you return. Remember, from Tip 85, exchange some small bills/coins so that you can use it right away when you land.
- rest & relaxation
- catching up with friends
- time for self (escaping daily work and parenthood demands)
- Elizabeth Lombardo lists more benefits in her book “A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness“
- Mom guilt is hard to overcome but it is worth it for the whole family for Mom to get a quick recharge
- Money and time are other challenges
- Prioritizing self vs family or home expenses and spending money on self vs family//home
- Start small – consider a driving trip that is only a few hours from home and not as costly
- Divide and conquer on the tasks
- Make a goal to get away and budget ahead for the trip
- Decide how you want to split costs and track spending
- Sometimes I don’t do much planning at all…it’s so rare to just “show up” as many people share the burden of planning.
- Less stress only worrying only about myself (and cheaper than taking the whole family!!)
- Rebecca – somewhere near home so more people can afford to go
- Michelle – a retreat hotel with a lot of variety in options
- Sandy – consider vacation home rental with a lot of bedrooms and common shared space
- Rebecca – Vegas (#sorrynotsorry) – recommend Priceline for good hotel deals
- Michelle – Driving trips with nearby free festivals or museums
- Sandy – Visit friends and take advantage of some nights with no hotel; Pagosa Springs was a recent favorite near a friend’s house in Colorado Springs
- Rebecca – Napa
- Michelle – Any beach
- Sandy – Lake Austin near Austin, TX
- Rebecca – Chicago – recommend the architecture boat tour
- Michelle – Austin, Napa/San Fran, Nashville, Austin
- Sandy – San Francisco and wine country
Quick and impactful?
- Rebecca – French Lick, Indiana & Downtown Indy (where we get to mention riding elephants again…oh, and a biofreeze massage)
- Michelle – Sarasota & Epcot Food and Wine Festival (Orlando)
- Sandy – short cruise from Florida to Bahamas
- Rebecca – Memphis – Graceland but more seriously the Civil Rights Museum
- Michelle – Trips to a faith-based conference with sightseeing on the side
- Sandy- Lake Austin
- Rebecca – Maui
- Michelle – Maui; Lake Austin gets honorable mention
- Sandy- French Polynesia island cruise including Bora Bora
- Rebecca – Lisbon, Portugal & the Canary Islands
- Michelle – Palm Beach, Florida
- Sandy – Asheville, North Carolina
- Save a date and book well in advance; unless you pay upfront for a hotel, you can usually cancel very close to your travel dates without penalty
- Create a schedule of events with variety; make plans that suit nearly everyone’s needs and then just go with the flow – not everyone may want to do everything and that’s ok
- Agree on a budget and secure some of the costs so you have real commitment
- Don’t sweat the details – you’ll have a blast even if some small things go wrong
Planning to be gone on a lengthy trip? If you are in the US, you can consider contacting the US Postal Service to hold your mail while you are gone. It is as easy as visiting usps.com and selecting “Hold Mail”. This avoids an overflow of mail and doesn’t require assistance from a neighbor or friend. You control which days your mail is held and the date of the bulk delivery to your home once you return. It’s all available online!
Are you a cruise traveler who just loves being on the ship? If so, checkout the repositioning cruises offered by most cruise lines. Depending on the season, cruise ships will run different routes. For example, one ship may transition from doing Mediterranean cruises in the summer to Caribbean cruises in the winter. This means the ship will need to make a one-way trip across the Atlantic ocean. Typically, these cruises are sold at a discount and have just a few port stops with many days at sea while crossing the ocean. You’ll get the same lovely cruise experience at a fraction of the cost!
To avoid major disappointment, plan ahead to check out popular sites or tours at your travel destination. If you’re unsure of the top activities at your
planned destination, check out TripAdvisor in advance of your travels. If daily tickets are limited for the excursion of your choice, considering ordering them online before you leave. You can then build the rest of your schedule around your anticipated excursion. Trust me, you don’t want to miss Pearl Harbor, Alcatraz or La Sagrada Familia!