For our anniversary this year, my husband and I decided to spend a kid-free weekend just fifteen minutes from our house. And we loved it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for vacations where you travel somewhere far from home, but if the goal of your vacation is to spend quality time together with minimal preparations and money, then I highly recommend taking a weekend away in the Twin Cities.
Here’s what we did:
My husband and I used some hotel points to book a couple of free nights at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis and dropped our sixteen-month-old off at my in-laws. We didn’t set an agenda for the weekend—just good food, sleeping, walking, reading, and spending uninterrupted time together. There’s something so freeing about doing what you want when you want to—with little need to plan ahead or take care of children.
Carving out space to have one-on-one time with my husband allows us to have unhurried conversations and think longer-term about where we’re at in our season of life. Our children will likely be living with us for 18-20 years, but we’ll be living with our spouse until the day we die. Taking a simple weekend away is one way to remember that our relationship is worth investing in no matter how busy life gets.
Here are a few reasons why this weekend “vacation” worked well for us and why you should consider doing it:
- It’s a low-risk way to be apart from your child(ren), especially if it’s your first time leaving him or her overnight. I was nervous about leaving my son overnight, but two days felt doable. He had recently stopped nursing, so that also made it easier for us to be apart. And it put me at ease knowing he could stay with his grandparents nearby. If you don’t have family nearby, you could wait until your parents are already planning on visiting, hire a weekend nanny, or ask close friends to babysit.
- It doesn’t have the stress of a real vacation. No long road trips, no toddlers on a plane, no packing for what-if scenarios. Plus, since we already know the Twin Cities, we didn’t have to spend time researching or planning anything ahead of time. If you get weekends off at work, then you won’t need to coordinate PTO or get ahead on your work.
- It’s inexpensive. Because we had free hotel nights and grandparents nearby, the only thing we had to pay for was food. I know many people don’t have hotel points, but the Twin Cities has lots of beautiful and not-too-expensive AirBnB or Bed & Breakfast places (Stillwater is a goldmine for these). If you’re into camping, you could even set up a tent at a nearby campground and eliminate the cost of rooms entirely.
If you’d like ideas, here is a list of intentional topics and questions you could discuss over the weekend (just pick a few though!):
Do you feel like we’re spending enough time together?
Who are the friends we feel closest to right now?
Who do we want to invest more time in hanging out with and how might we fit that into our schedules?
What is God teaching you in this season?
What do you need prayer for? (Or you could ask another question related to your religious or spiritual beliefs.)
Are there things we want to be saving more money for?
Are there areas of spending we could cut down on in order to save more?
Are there things we want to give money toward right now?
What’s making you feel the most stressed, anxious, sad, or angry in this season of life?
What are some of your longer-term goals in the next five to ten years? How can we take steps to make those happen?
What has been a high and a low during the past few months?
Is there something you’d like to study or learn more about?
In the main areas of physical health—exercise, eating well, and sleep—how are you doing? Are there things we could do as a family to prioritize one of these things in the next few months?
What are you most enjoying about parenting? What is the most challenging and how can I help you work through that?
What character traits do we hope to cultivate in our children? How are we doing that right now?
What discipline or behavioral issues have you noticed lately? Are our current strategies working or do we need to change our approach?
Who are the meaningful friends in our children’s lives?
Do we feel like we’re getting enough quality time with each child?
When do we have the most fun as a family?
Are there certain habits, personally or as a family, which we want to change?
Enjoy your weekend away!