When you think about simple living, you may think that spending money and getting away, is NOT a simple way of life. Stay-cations are becoming a hot topic and are becoming a popular way to spend a week's vacation. There is no doubt that you may be able to save money by not staying in a hotel, renting a car, flying, etc. But at the end of the week, was it everything you imagined and more?
Don't get me wrong. I am not against stay-cations. In fact, I love my "at-home" long weekends where we have nothing going on, except house projects, getting caught up on things at home, and having an occasional meal out. But I have learned that to truly relax and take a mental break from our normal routine in life, we need to leave.
We choose to spend our money on vacations. We do not take extravagant vacations, by all means. We spend a LOT of time looking at flights, waiting patiently, looking for the most reasonable place to stay, and have learned ways to save money, even on vacations. And for us, part of the fun IS the planning part.
We have become fans of vrbo.com and homeaway.com. Being from the frigid north (Minnesota to be exact), thoughts of beaches, sun, and driving with the windows down, is usually what lures us to the south for vacation. Our past 3 vacations have been at places we have found through vrbo.com. Trust me, I was extremely hesitant to reserve a place through one of these websites, but let me tell you, reviews are a life-saver. We choose places that have 4-5 star reviews. We have only but amazing experiences staying at places through websites like these. What we like is that we can save money by eating our meals AT the condo we are staying at, typically have our own balcony, with a breath-taking view. Yes, a hotel room may be comparable in price per night, but remember you have to eat EVERY meal out, if there is no continental breakfast. Because we typically choose to stay in places we can explore, we always pack a sack lunch, and eat supper back at the condo. Even though we are typically gone during the day, all we need is a bathroom, small kitchen, and bed to sleep in.
Our faith also plays a big part into why we take time away. There are numerous references in the Bible about taking time to rest. To just BE. To just BE STILL. God has given us a world to explore and enjoy. He didn't create it by accident and didn't create it for nothing. He created it for us to enjoy. Yes, God also wants us to be good stewards of our money. There are places in this world that I would absolutely love to go, but our financial situation doesn't necessarily allow for vacations to these places (such as a tropical island in the middle of the ocean). But that is why we compromise and go to the Florida Keys (yes, you can do a vacation there for QUITE cheap!) We feel that God has given us the gift of His beautiful creation and taking time away to see what He has given us, only increases our awe of who God is, His majesty, as we gaze upon the different terrains of His world.
For us to simply live, relax and refresh, we need to take time away. Coming back is always difficult, but it's because the vacation was just that relaxing and amazing. And that is why we continue to listen to the advice when we first got married - take time away.
Where do you take time away to? Are you a stay-cation or vacation (vacate) family?