Romance is thinking about your significant other, when you are supposed to be thinking about something else. – Nicholas Sparks
Sometimes no matter how much we really want to get away for a romantic weekend, it just isn't possible. We can, however, spend time making a game plan on how to spend some precious time with our loved one right in the comfort of our home. Plus, with a little creativity, we can even re-create that luxury hotel feeling.
There is a very popular five-star resort within viewing distance of our home. We have always talked about staying a few nights there and almost did a couple of weeks ago. In an effort to make a plan to experience this amazing resort, we added up the cost. We quickly came to the conclusion, "WOW, that would be really expensive!" We are currently saving for a down payment on a new car and had to decide if this expense was in our budget. We made the hard choice that it wasn't, at this time. Instead of breaking our budget, we got creative and planned our own five-star experience at home.
Here are some tips to help create a fun, romantic staycation for two:
- Send in the cleaning team. It is hard to relax and enjoy each others company if laundry is pilling over and the floor needs cleaned. If you don't have the time and the budget allows, hire a cleaning service. Budget tip: Divide and conquer. Give yourself a few days to clean top to bottom. Play some high-energy music and you'll be surprised how quickly the time will fly and how good you'll feel with so much accomplished.
Creating a 5 Star Hotel Room Suite Experience
- Make your bed using white linens. Every luxury hotel suite has white, crisp, high-thread count sheets. If you do not have a set, you can find great deals on Overstock.com, Target or even your local Exchange. Budget tip: Splurge on the pillowcases.
- Create a fresh flower arrangement. A splash of color and the smell of fresh flowers can really help transform a space. Shop your commissary or grocery store for inexpensive fresh flowers.
- At home spa. Recreate the spa experience starting with aromatherapy. Use essential oils from your local bath and body or health food store to create a calm, relaxing atmosphere. Pick up a new luxury body wash. Lay out white, comfy robes. Create a relaxation playlist on your iPod® and press play.
Go Off the Grid
- Log off and power down. Make the decision to turn off the ringers. Check email and messages at designated times only (if you must). Use an "out of office" auto-responder on your email. I once took a cruise to the Bahamas and one of the best parts, no cell phone service.
- News fast – Agree that you both will avoid reading or watching the news. No cell phone, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest surfing.
Room Service Please
- Order take-out. Leave the cooking to someone else and order from one of your favorite take-out restaurants. Budget tip: Prepare the meal ahead of time and have it waiting in the refrigerator. The only step required: bake in the oven! Use your fine dinnerware and wine glasses.
- Dine under the stars. One of the great things about vacations is the ability to dine outdoors. Set the table outside, add some candles and enjoy the stars.
- Late night dessert – One unique feature of the hotel experience is the ability to order a late night sweet treat. Consider ordering dessert with your take-out or prepare a favorite in advance. Dessert ideas: Chocolate covered strawberries, cherry cheesecake, chocolate covered sundaes, etc.
Other Ideas: Watch a newly released film in bed or a TV series via services like Netflix or Amazon Prime; plan a hike or exploration of an outdoor attraction; see a theatre stage show or concert, etc.
If you need to solve the dilemma of what to do with kids, consider making a plan to trade babysitting services with a set of friends. You can rotate each month. You can extend the fun and plan kid friendly staycation activities for example: game night, scavenger hunt, camping in the backyard, baking contest, outdoor obstacle course, etc.
Planning fun on a budget, without taking leave, can be done. It just requires a game plan and some creative thinking. What are your ideas? Share your input below.