For the first time, I ventured to Lake Tahoe this weekend to spend a relaxing and quiet three days with my boyfriend. We opted to stay in an AirBnB in a small town south of the Lake, with a population of about 200 people. Nestled among the mountains, we were left without cell phone service, trusty Yelp reviews or even any nearby options for take-out dinner. As I recently blogged about my affinity to on-demand delivery services, I’ll be the first to admit that the idea of being so disconnected both frightened and excited me. I love the bustle of San Francisco and the never-ending list of must-see attractions, restaurants, coffee shops and mom-and-pop diners. But a weekend without the blaring sirens, inevitable early morning traffic, and unreliable Bart services? Count me in.
For anyone who is contemplating a weekend trip, or simply a “staycation” at home, to unwind and disconnect from the familiar for a couple of days, I highly recommend it. The good news is, you don’t have to venture to the mountains to benefit from a refreshing and relaxing weekend. Whether you are staying at home or road tripping somewhere new, here are my top tips for unwinding and rejuvenating your soul.
- Turn off your phone. This works to your advantage for a few reasons. First, it will save you from draining your battery if you’re in a remote area that does not have service (and your phone is attempting to locate a signal). Second, you’ll quickly realize that without the distraction of email, social media and text messages, it’s easier to relax and enjoy the present moment.
- Wake up with the sun. One of the most amazing things about being on vacation is sleeping in and enjoying the feeling of waking up naturally. Take advantage of this opportunity to reset your body clock by turning off your alarm (see tip #1!) and waking up when you naturally rise. The sunshine streaming in the bedroom window is truly one of the most relaxing and lovely ways in the world to wake up, and I recommend you try it out.
- Stargaze. If you’re fortunate to spend time in a remote area away from the city, take one evening to bundle up and relish in the night sky. As we were miles and miles from any nearby city or town, we had the opportunity to indulge in the beauty of mountain sky, without the distraction of light pollution. I’ve never seen so many stars in my life! It was breathtaking and an experience I’ll never forget.
- Take it easy. While I love getting an early start to the day and fitting in every activity I can while on vacation, this weekend was an exception. I recognized the need to wake up without an alarm, enjoy a leisurely breakfast, and explore the area without restriction to a certain schedule. We started our hike around 12:30pm which left plenty of time to fit in a 5 mile trek, stop for lunch along the way, and enjoy several beautiful photo opps on the route. Heading out after the hike, we snagged a front row view of the sunset over the mountains and enjoyed every minute of it before planning our next stop. This made for a peaceful experience that was rich with spontaneity and adventure, but also relaxing without the pressure of needing to be somewhere at a certain time.
- Prepare in advance. While I appreciated the opportunity to take it easy and not worry about planning every activity, equally important was planning a few key items in advance to reduce decision fatigue throughout the trip. One key example here is snacks — while it may sound silly, if you’re stuck in traffic on a long road trip or discover that your destination has nothing but a nearly empty corner store to stock up on groceries, you’re going to be glad you came prepared. Consider packing easy, non-perishable snacks such as a power bar of choice (I love Larabar gluten-free nut and fruit bars when I’m in a pinch), plantain chips, a protein source (almond butter or jerky are an easy fix), and fruits and veggies. As I follow a strict paleo diet, being prepared with an emergency stash of snacks eased my mind and ensured a stress-free weekend without having to worry about searching for the perfect meal option. Whatever you can do to prepare in advance to save time later will ultimately be hugely helpful.
What are your favorite tips for enjoying a relaxing weekend? Share your thoughts here or on Twitter and Instagram @candicedeforest.
Interested in checking out AirBnB for your next trip? Here’s a link to a $25 credit toward your vacation. Enjoy!