I was so refreshed after our weekend away, the morning after we got home I did all the unpacking, 2 loads of laundry, & 1 load of dishes all BEFORE I'd had even a sip of coffee!
It seems spending 3 days roaming anonymously in Dallas was just what we needed.
Maybe it was all that time spent in the 2 door coupe, something about the trip bonded our party of 4.
It was our first vacation without any extended family or friends.
We planned it as soon as we found out that we wouldn't have visitors for Easter.
The fact is, we have to figure out this whole thing because it's likely we'll always live away from family.
10 hrs round-trip in a 2door coupe with 2 kids under 4 to spend 3 nights/2 days in the biggest city near home may not sound like a recipe for refreshment, but it was!
Here's what I think made it successful:
1. Trip total cost was under $500.
Hotel suite, Gas, Attractions, Food, the whole sha-bang!
Spending less money meant less pressure.
No stress on our budget and no need for a credit card, meant I wasn't concerned about making every last moment worth it!
I did some searching online to choose a hotel that could be as much a part of our vacation as the attractions in town, but for less. (Great Wolf Lodge @$400 a night wouldn't fit in this trip)
Enter: Sheraton Suites Market Center-
1 night free w/Starwood points. 1 night less than $99.
1 bdrm suite w/2 flat screen tvs, a small balcony, king bed & sleeper sofa.
We even got free breakfast buffet coupons both mornings.
2 best features: closing the door between the bedroom & living room, allowed the kids to go to sleep & the parents to stay up to watch a movie!
Secondly, the hotel has both an indoor & outdoor pool w/hot tub.It's not fancy, but it's modern & clean.
It was perfect for a family stay.
Bonus: it's right on the highway for easy access around the city.
2. I left "good mommy" at home.
I wasn't making sure the kids had vegetables or fruit at each meal or monitoring screen time. In the past, I took the advice of keeping the same schedules & rules on vacation as they are used to at home to prevent breakdowns.
But this was just 2 nights.
Guess what? 3 days without baths & more junk food than they've had all year didn't kill them! It gave me a mental vacation.
As soon as we woke up in our own beds, we embraced our home rules & so far no trouble adjusting.
3. We chose low-key, low-cost attractions
Enter: the Fort Worth Zoo
By the end of the day no one was exhausted.
But the kids had just enough time walking around in the sun to make them conk out as soon as we hit the freeway. ahhhhh....
Plus, the zoo lets you bring in your picnic lunch & drinks & has lots of tree-shaded nooks for eating. Well-hydrated, nutritionally-nourished kids are less likely to meltdown.
Carter was thrilled by an easy sell on getting one of those cheap, over-priced souveniers at the gift shop (he had no idea mommy & daddy spent less than $40 to have all that fun at the zoo!)
Use these keys to my current state of serenity & put them to use on our next "we have to get out of this town!" trip.
If you have natural attractions nearby-mountains for hiking & camping, l
akes for splashing & floating-even better! We'd have to drive too many miles.
If you go for exploring a new city, like we do, take pleasure in the new additions on your urbanspoon app & the way your kids look at the freeways & skyscrapers like they're on another planet.
It worked for us!
I may just need another trip for the State Fair!