ME TIME! It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s so therapeutic on so many levels. Spending a few days away from the family and in the company of my amazing gal pals reawakens a core part of me that often gets buried under flash-fire priorities like school projects that are due the next day, sick visits to the pediatrician, planning kid parties, and the likes. All moms needs a few days off to free up their head space and remember who they truly are once you strip away all the stress of modern family life. I find that I’m more creative, optimistic, patient, relaxed, and connected to the world outside the epicenter of my home after a great girls’ getaway.
That said, it has to really be a great time. There’s nothing worse than taking time out for yourself only to be frustrated with how your trip is going. Because, let’s be honest, it’ll probably be another year before you get to do it again! So that’s why it’s really important to carefully plan out your trip. Here are a few weekend travel tips that I follow when I’m planning a gal-pal retreat.
Don’t feel the pressure to splurge.
It’s easy to fall into the mindset that in order to treat yourself to a fabulous time, you have to stay in the most exclusive hotel, go to the most expensive restaurants, and shop in the toniest part of town. I’ve done that—and wound up regretting going over budget once I returned to the real world. Pick a hotel that offers great amenities and is centrally located, but doesn’t break the bank, like the Hilton Garden Inn. They have spacious rooms with comfy beds (for all that sleeping in you’ll do!) and a flat screen TV (on which you can watch anything you want!), as well as a fitness center, pool (in most locations), and wine at the Pavilion. It fits my bill, especially because room rates are generally less than $200 per night.
Make an itinerary.
There’s nothing worse than wasting thirty minutes discussing amongst your crew what you all want to do, which inevitably leads to mass confusion, frantic calls for reservations, or the realization that you can’t get in anywhere because it’s all booked up or closed. Take the initiative and start emailing with your friends a few weeks before departure to settle on an itinerary, complete with lunch and dinner reservations for every day—it’s easier to cancel if you’ve over-scheduled yourself than it is to organize last minute reservations. Also designate time for other activities, like museum exhibits, exploring a neighborhood, shopping, or just lounging by the pool, and don’t forget to schedule some relaxing solo time in your comfy hotel room before heading out for dinner.
Pack a versatile wardrobe.
It’s really fun to get dressed up for a night out with the girls, but wearing a new pair of stilettos or a silk dress that has to be ironed before going out is not the best idea when you’re out of town. For one, you’ll probably be walking more than you usually do, so you definitely want to wear comfortable shoes. I like one-inch wedges because they give just enough of a flattering lift, while still feeling very comfortable. Also, who wants to futz with fussy clothes when you’re on ME TIME? You want to look great, but you also want to feel comfortable so you can truly enjoy yourself. I like to pack my favorite basics—dark skinny jeans, black pants, and a few blouses—then wear a statement accessory to kick it up a notch, like this gold cuff.
Enjoy overindulging without overdoing it.
Don’t forget that while you want to have a good time, you also want to return to your family rested and rejuvenated—not overtired. So enjoy the weekend, but don’t go overboard. You won’t bounce back like you used to back in the day. I find that water and making a point to get a good night’s sleep is the key. Drink a liter of water before you go out for dinner, then if you partake in alcohol, have a glass of water between every drink throughout the night. Not only will the water keep you hydrated, but it’ll also fill you up, so you’ll eat and drink less. Then, once you’re back at the hotel, make a pact with your friends to let each other sleep in. You’ll all surely revel in the uninterrupted hours of sleep you rarely ever get at home.
featured image: Getty/Anya Berkut
This post is sponsored by Hilton