Escape with your family – NOW

When was the last time you spent quality time with your family away from home? Three months? Six months? More than a year? If it’s been more than six months, you and they are due for a getaway trip.

We Americans are notorius for not taking vacations. (I count myself among the guilty, though I hope to change that soon.) We shun vacations, both short and long. Sure, the financial difficulties many of us have faced in recent years put a a crimp in our outside activities. Even so, there comes a time when you just have to get away.

One stumbling block, I believe, is our perception of what a “true” or “great” vacation ought to be. Typically we view it as escaping to someplace warm with white, sandy beaches and large, inviting pools. Most likely, a resort in the Caribbean. I have to admit: The thought of spending a week camped out in the Riviera Maya or most any fine resort in the Dominican Republic sounds pretty good right now. (Indeed, I’m considering a resort vacation in the Playa del Carmen area sometime this summer.

Fact is, you and your family can enjoy quality time together by staying closer to home for a shorter period of time. Many people have gone this route in recent years. It’s called a staycation. People are staying home or close to home while on vacation. Personally, I prefer to get away from home while on vacation. That’s the purpose of this column.

How far should you travel? That’s up to you. What is your tolerance for driving? I prefer someplace within about a two-hour drive. That distance is far enough away that I feel as if I”m away from home. Yet it’s within a reasonable driving distance.

How long you stay away is also optional, but I recommend at least three nights. Two nights just isn’t enough to unwind and do some sightseeing. Plan to arrive at  your destination by Thursday afternoon at the latest; Wednesday afternoon is even better.

Now, to decide where to go. That’s the fun part, because you’re essentially going to pick a spot on the map, and go. Seriously.

Grab a highway map now. Draw a two-hour arc (or three-hour arc, if you don’t mind the drive) from your home community. Which towns fall into that region? Pick one you haven’t visited. Do a little research about the area, and maybe book a hotel room. But otherwise, wing it when you arrive. That’s half the fun. And it gives you and your family one more exercise to do together.

My family is blessed with owning a cabin and some land in Wisconsin. (See the video above.) It’s about 3-1/2 hours away from my home in New Berlin, Wis., but still within a reasonable distance. I can hop over there any time I need to escape for a weekend.

You may not have a cabin or lakefront home to escape to when the need arises. But you can still get away with your family on occasion. Do so. Don’t wait until whatever it is that you’re waiting for to make the trip. You’ll always find yet another excuse to stay home.

Commit to a getaway weekend within the next four weeks. Grab that map, and get to work. You’ll be so glad you did. Good luck, and have fun!

For related reading, see “What to pack for your vacation” and “How to stay safe while traveling.”


Would you like to stay at a nice resort and pay 1/2 or less of what you paid for your hotel room last time? Interested in some cruise specials, too? I have just the program for you. All the details are right here.

Las Vegas Feb. 2 001


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