Do you have any getaways planned in the near future?
This weekend is Labor Day and many people here in the States will be heading off for the last hurrah of the summer. You’ll see them driving down the highway in cars loaded up with bags, beach chairs, coolers, rafts, and toys, so much so that passengers can barely fit.
I often wonder, will they really use everything they crammed into that car? Probably not, but it’s good to bring it all “just in case,” right? I say no way.
The amount of time and effort that’s required to gather up, pack, load, unload, unpack, repack, reload, unload, and unpack seems counterproductive to the intention behind going away — to relax and enjoy some down time.
Are there some essentials that you need that may take up a lot of space? Sure, but as you get ready for your next adventure, I challenge you to change up the way you prepare. To help you collect more experiences and enjoy your time away, consider the following:
How many times did you come home from a trip and found that you didn’t wear or use many of the items you brought with you? When Melissa and I traveled to Italy for two weeks, it seemed like a good idea at the time to pack a dress and a pair of heels, three different purses, and an assortment of jewelry so I’d have options depending on my mood of the day. However, none of those things ever saw the outside of my suitcase.
When we got home and unpacked, we determined that the things we didn’t wear or use was almost a carry-on bag’s worth! Thinking back to us shlepping our luggage around Italy and what a hassle it was with the various forms of transportation we used to get around, I knew that was going to be the last time I would overpack.
Our next big trip was a 10-day excursion to Belize and we challenged ourselves to each pack only a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. We did, and what a great decision it was! We were easily mobile, there was no waiting at baggage claim for our luggage, and we didn’t waste time deciding what to wear when we were down there. In fact, we still had one or two items we never wore. We even brought a small amount of laundry detergent and washed clothes in a cooler and it was totally worth it to feel more free.
When packing, make a list of “must bring” items and a separate list of “might want” items. Pack the must brings first (and be strict about defining “must”) and then evaluate if you still feel you need some of the “might want” items. What would happen if you didn’t bring them and wished you had once you’re there? What would you do instead? Asking yourself these questions will help you determine just how necessary those “maybe” items are — or aren’t!
Limit Electronic Devices
I know, I know. A digital detox sounds both fabulous and terrifying, but putting them aside allows for much more family time and connection.
To ease into it, bring along the devices but choose a period of the day when they stay tucked away. Instead, do a jigsaw puzzle together or play a card game. I can remember times when I was young sitting around with my family on vacation playing the card game, Crazy Eights. Everyone staring at their respective electronic device simply doesn’t create the same memories.
When you do decide to pull out those devices, you can even use them to foster connection and fun. Play a round of Heads Up or learn more about each other by using Danielle LaPorte’s app Conversation Starters.
These precious moments are the times you’ll remember for years to come.
Play the Hi-Lo Game
At the end of each day, go around the room and ask each person to share a highlight and lowlight of their day. What did they enjoy the most? What did they enjoy the least? Doing so will help you identify how your family really wants to be spending their time, and you can learn a lot about each person’s values. It’s pretty cool and eye-opening!
So what do you think? Are you up for challenging yourself to a minimalist getaway? You’ll be surprised how powerful the impact is when you have fewer distractions, and you’ll learn just how little you need to be happy.
Wherever you’re headed off to, I wish you space and clarity.
Have a great week,