Recently, my husband was on a job out of town and had to spend two weeks living in a hotel. Not getting to see their dad nightly was hard on the boys. Dad’s hours are insanely long – he’s not a 9-to-5er and he’s only occasionally home for dinner during the week – but a whole 2 weeks with little more than a few Facetime sessions just wasn’t working for us.
Now we love a good hotel stay – and I’ve written about our staycations before – so the boys and I turned it into a good time. I was able to take some vacation time each Friday, and drive us out to spend some time together.
I can’t recommend staycations highly enough. You may think “Why on earth would I ever spend money on a room when I already have a home that I pay for, and it’s only a few miles away?”
Think about it differently. If you take a day off and spend it at home, do you really take a day off? Or do you use it to catch up on chores. Do you see the cobwebs in the corner and think “Wow, I have the time to take care of that!” Or get to the little reno/repair/redecorate project that you’ve been putting off. And at home, do the kids expect you to make dinner? Get them stuff? Are they feeling the fun?
Hotels don’t have to be expensive. Hotwire.com, Hotels.com, Trivago.ca, Expedia.ca – and a ton of others, from Groupon to WagJag have offers and deals galore. And you might be surprised to find that big cities and airport strips are especially full of empty rooms on weekends that no big events are taking place. They’d rather get something than nothing, and some of the deals I’ve enjoyed have been crazy. My best find was a 4-star hotel with breakfast, parking and free Internet for $72.
The fun of a hotel lays with the amenities. Room service. Breakfast in PJs. Late-night hotel exploring. Swimming pools. Games rooms. Having the whole family snuggling in front of one TV watching a movie – and many hotels have a movie service that offers movies still playing in theatres. A new release for a family of 4 $12 in the room as opposed to $50 at the theatre – what a steal! If you’re celebrating something and you let them know, they often offer you an upgrade or send a treat to your room. Even if you’re not celebrating, always ask about upgrades. If there really are a lot of vacancies they may try to win your love with a special suite. We’ve had huge jacuzzi rooms, double rooms, palatial rooms, dessert sent up and even wine brought to our room with the hotel’s compliments.
Just be nice.
And remember to tip.
Nobody expects you to make dinner. Nobody expects you to make a bed. Nobody expects anything! Turn off the cell phone, shut down the laptop and just relax, nobody can find you, nobody can bother you, and the kids are mesmerized by the different environment.
I love hotels. I always have – and they’re magical to kids. It’s fancy. It’s rich. It’s a treat-and-a-half. Remember jumping bed to bed, thinking that the complimentary soaps, potions and lotions were treasure, that having your parents’ full attention was the happiest time of your life?
Staycate. Try it. It’s the most amazing family getaway because it’s easy, convenient and really requires no planning. In fact, we’ve had completely unplanned staycations where we’ve been out and decided to just find a room. There’s an app for that, you know. A quick stop for bathing suits and toothbrushes were all we needed. I would never say no.