8 Tips for Great Weekend Getaways - Part 1

Use Weekend Getaways to Minimize Time Away from Your Business or Work

three friends taking selfie on vacation
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Weekend getaways are a perfect way for a busy entrepreneur to get some rest and relaxation without having a negative impact on business. If you already operate a small home business, especially one that's a one-person operation, you're probably all too aware that it's not easy to take a day off, let alone schedule an extended vacation. In fact, you may have been using some of these excuses to avoid taking time off:

  • You might lose business to your competitors while you're away.
  • You're just too busy to be away more than a few days at a time.
  • There's no one to fill in for you in your absence.
  • You're not getting paid when you're not working so a long vacation would cause a financial setback.

Weekend Getaways Provide Work-Life Balance

To balance your work life with your personal life, whether you are self-employed or not, you need to take some time off. A great alternative to a week-long vacation is to take one or more weekday or weekend getaways that might last from one to three or four days. I make it a practice to get away from my work on such excursions whenever I can. Weekday or weekend getaways help me get away just long enough to get a much needed rest without affecting my business and without breaking the bank. While I'm not always in a position to do it, I try to set up weekend getaways every six months or so.

Whether you take your getaway during the week or plan weekend getaways depends on your business schedule and your preferences. Most of my clients expect me to be available during normal business hours, so I usually like to take weekend getaways.

Over the years I've found that handling my time off with weekend getaways allows me to reconnect with my wife.

I also get refreshed and return to work with some new ideas and a fresh outlook after these getaways.

Making the Most of Your Weekend Getaways

I've discovered some ways to make the most of these weekend getaways. Here are eight tips to help you have a great getaway:

Tip 1 for Great Weekend Getaways: Plan Ahead

If you plan your weekday or weekend getaways ahead of time you'll get better deals on travel and lodging. You'll also be able to schedule your time in advance so you can get caught up before you leave. I know that I'm far less likely to back out of a family getaway if I already have tickets, reservations, etc. Especially if I get penalized for canceling or rescheduling.

I really find it doesn't pay to be spontaneous when taking weekend getaways. As a home business owner, I can take an occasional day trip without planning, but anything more than a day or two and I'm going to want to be prepared. Otherwise, I'll constantly be worrying about what I need to do back home and if my clients are trying to reach me. By planning ahead I can prepare my clients for my brief absence, if necessary. Once you get to your getaway destination, you can be as spontaneous as you like.

Tip 2 for Great Weekend Getaways: Quit a Little Early the Day Before

If you follow Tip 1 and plan your weekday or weekend getaways ahead of time, you should also be able to allow yourself to quit early the day before your getaway, even if it's only an hour or two.

After all, this is one of the benefits of being your own boss. If you're not your own boss yet, see if the boss will let you leave a little early.

Quitting early the day before your weekend getaways allows you to help your spouse or significant other pack and otherwise prepare for your trip. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of the preparation and relieves your partner or family from having to do everything without you, which only fosters resentment and stress. Quitting early may also allow you to accomplish a task or two that you might otherwise put off until the day of your departure, which in turn only results in more stress.

Tip 3 for Great Weekend Getaways: Allow For Some Pampering

You've earned your time off. You're not taking the time or incurring the expense of an extended vacation - is there some way you can treat yourself, your partner, or your family during your weekend getaway?

After booking a hotel room for a recent weekend getaway I discovered the room didn't have a refrigerator just before we left on our trip. On our last few weekend getaways we've always had a refrigerator and a microwave in the room. A call to the hotel the day before we arrived allowed us to add the refrigerator for only $5 per night. When we arrived, the hotel told us that they upgraded us to a mini suite with a refrigerator at no extra charge. Sweet! And, as a business owner, I can tell you that I appreciated the gesture and will return to this hotel when I'm in the area again on a future getaway. I'll also highly recommend them to my friends and family.

Tip 4 for Great Weekend Getaways: Allow Plenty of Time to Get to Your Destination

If your travel will take most of one day, or if you have an event scheduled on the evening of your arrival, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination without rushing. Unexpected delays can hit you from out of nowhere. I learned my lesson the hard way on one of our weekend getaways when we got lost at our destination and couldn't find the hotel - despite a fistful of maps I printed from the Web. The first night turned out to be very hectic and rushed - especially because we were in town for an annual jazz fest and the traffic was incredibly backed up due to construction in the area. Additionally, if you're retreating to a popular spot on a weekend or planning to arrive on a Friday night around rush hour, you need to give yourself even more extra time.

By giving yourself a little extra time, you'll find that your weekend getaways are more enjoyable. If you're driving, you'll be less likely to have an accident on the way. If it means getting up a bit earlier on the day you leave, do it. Your mood will be much better for it. Your departure experiences can set the tone for your entire trip - don't spoil the mood before your weekend getaways even get started.

Next: Weekend Getaway: Tips 5 through 8.

Weekend Getaway Tip 5: Enjoy Dining Out

While I don't take my wife out to eat as much as I'd like to when we're at home, I do like to take advantage of a weekend getaway by exploring new restaurants. Whether it's an inexpensive breakfast at a local chain or a nice quiet evening in a quality restaurant with a bottle of wine, dining out while on a weekend getaway can encourage intimacy with your partner or some quite time together with your family.

You may not have noticed, but typically when you eat in a restaurant, you can be in your own little world. Unless you eat in a family style restaurant, you have your own table or booth and you're either facing each other or are side by side. This is a great opportunity to have some quality one-on-one time without the pressures of home.

Weekend Getaway Tip 6: Avoid Discussing Business or Work

Sure, the conversation is likely to go toward your business from time - that's pretty much unavoidable whether you work for yourself or for someone else. But don't waste your entire weekend getaway blabbing about how you want to do this, or how you should have landed that account, or how you're going to rethink your marketing and sales strategies. After all, this is not a business trip - even if you and your partner work together! This is your personal getaway. Work will still be there when you get home.

You took the weekend getaway in the first place because you needed a break - now enjoy it!

Weekend Getaway Tip 7: Be Flexible Once You Decide to Do It

If you had plans or had a specific route in mind for your weekday or weekend getaway trip, be flexible enough to change them to maximize your enjoyment.

After all, if you followed my other weekend getaway tips to this point, you've already planned in detail. I'm not talking so much about travel or lodging arrangements you might have made in advance to save money. But if your spouse suggests you stop at an interesting antiques store on your way to a show, or your kids want to stop to see something and you have the time, by all means do it. You're bound to discover things you hadn't planned on and you may have more fun during your weekend getaway than you expected.

Whenever possible, everyone present should have at least one special request fulfilled during your weekday or weekend getaway because it goes a long way toward promoting harmony and boosts the satisfaction of all who are on the trip.

Weekend Getaway Tip 8: Enjoy the Trip Home

Since I'm always the route planner and driver, I had a set way in mind of driving home from my last four-day weekend getaway. At one point I had to decide if I wanted to take the shortest route, which might put us in the middle of Boston rush hour traffic, or take the long way over the hills and through the woods of Western New Hampshire. I opted for the scenic route. When we got home from our getaway we were both much more relaxed than we would have been if we had to sit in rush hour traffic.

Not only did we enjoy the scenery, the entire weekend getaway was that much more enjoyable.

Once you get home from your weekday or weekend getaway, check your messages (or better yet, put them off until tomorrow if you can) and enjoy the rest of the evening. Tomorrow it's back to work. Savor the final hours of your getaway while you can.