Need to get away with your loved one ~ just the two of you ~ but don’t have time, cash flow is tight, and no spare money to spend on a babysitter?  

But couples need sufficient time to themselves to refresh, restart, and revitalize their relationship. If they don’t, the juices stop flowing, their chemistry dissolves, and stress builds until one or both implode.  

As I did five years ago. We’d been dealing with major damage to our garden, while in the midst of preparing to host a family reunion in just 10 days time . . . until one day I realized how stressed I’d become and that Tim and I hadn’t had a day off together for over a year.

With tears streaming I told Tim we needed to find just 3 days to take a break together before the reunion. Ever the sensible one, he explained why it was impossible:  
  • Colorado is so popular for tourists, nothing would be available at this late date.
  • We were so busy already, we didn’t have time
  • Given how much we’d spent on repairs and preparations, we couldn’t afford it.
  • . . . and more I’ve forgotten
My frustration grew as I knew he wasn’t listening and didn’t understand that I couldn’t keep going at this pace until we spent some time away from it all. He suggested a staycation, but I shrieked that we’d tried that many times, and it never ever worked! The conversation didn’t end well.  
The following morning he took my hands, told me he understood, and assured me he’d find a way. His compassion alone eased the hurt.  Within hours he checked to see if I was free the following week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Within hours he emailed me the “Rules of Engagement” for our staycation.  I smiled to myself as I read each one.  We’ve now road tested these rules many times, and the experience is so romantic and fun that I wanted to share them with you. 

1  No desk work — mobile devices OK but not for doing work. This rule is vital, and we kept it without fail. During earlier staycation attempts, we’d keep drifting back to our email or phone, but somehow the world kept turning without our involvement this time, and we became happier as each day went by.

2  No house work. An obvious winner and one that made the break feel like being in a hotel.

3  Eat out as often as we want, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Although we rarely ate out more than once a day, it was great knowing it was permissible, just as we do on vacation.

4  Daily outings will be booked. What made this work was that Tim planned ahead. Day 1 shopping at my favorite store and dinner at a new restaurant.  Day 2 lunch in Fort Collins, a city an hour’s drive north where I taught school decades ago and which we’d been meaning to visit. Day 3 we drove south to Roxborough State Park, filled with huge red rock formations and perfect for a mountain hike. 
5 Normal routines, such as eating dinner with a movie, will be changed out. Even if we were just eating in the garden instead of watching television, skipping the regular stuff made it fun.

6  Alcohol 2 times day is OK. As he knows, I enjoy a glass of wine with lunch when we’re traveling.

7  Sex is actively encouraged. Now we’re talking. Vacations are great for getting things going in bed — so easy without the To Do lists and distractions of home and work to relax into what brings the intimacy and connection to life. Just a 3-day staycation set the stage for falling in love again — and it’s lasted.

8  House music is to be expected. We’re usually so busy, neither of us thinks to put on the music, the way we do when guests are coming. So great to wake up to relaxing Hawaiian music instead of habitual stillness.

9  Dancing allowed. We love to dance yet rarely do, and we didn’t on either staycation. Maybe next time!   

The obvious benefits of far less expense and avoiding the travel hassles, to name but a few, are small compared to how heartwarming and fun these experiences have been. Imagine instead of spending most of two days getting to somewhere to relax and have fun, you wake up in your own bed and are instantly on vacation!  

So, take the kids to the grandparents or ask neighborhood friends with kids to take them ~ and you’ll return the favor another time.  Whatever the obstacle, you can work it out.

Staycations played by these rules are the quickest stress-reducer I’ve found. Even it it’s just for one day, give it a try — and enjoy!


  • Jinny S. Ditzler

    Jinny is the founder of Best Year Yet® and the author of Your Best Year Yet! The system has over 1 million happy individual and organizational users around the world.

    Jinny's purpose is to support people to use their gifts to have dreams come true and to know that they matter. She is one of the first founders of the modern coaching movement, and a regular contributor to Thrive Global and LinkedIn, having written eight years for The Huffington Post. She’s the first to say none of this could have happened without her family, the clients, and the global team, all of whom contributed valuable knowledge, skill and talent to bring the program to its worldwide status. Jinny started coaching business leaders and executives 37 years ago, and in the early 1990’s her work evolved to include top business teams and organization-wide programs, designed to transform the way people work together to achieve better results and build happier companies. The Best Year Yet Partners have worked with such organizations as Zurich Insurance Group, NatWest Bank, Bank of the West USA, Heineken, Pepsico and such nonprofits as The Hunger Project, Wounded Warriors, and the Humane Society ~ as well as smaller businesses, schools, and charities around the world. Jinny is currently writing a new book and coaching leaders. Her blessings are a happy marriage of 37 years, two remarkable sons, two perfect daughters-in-law, and four beautiful granddaughters.