Five Mini-Vacations That Won’t Cost Much or Disrupt Your Schedule

Relaxing Mini-VacationRelaxation is important. There’s a certain level of stress inherent to freelancing, and the freelancer who refuses to take a break risks developing burnout and stress-related health problems.

Despite relaxation and breaks being so important, going on a vacation is a difficult thing to do for many freelancers.

For one thing, we freelancers don’t get paid vacation time like most salaried workers do. A beginning or struggling freelancer might not even have enough money to go on a vacation in the first place.

Also, as business owners we have to worry about being out of touch with our clients for an extended period of time. What if a client or a potential client contacts us with that “big job” while we’re gone? What if something urgent comes up that must be dealt with?

Fortunately, it’s not always necessary to go away on a long or expensive vacation to get the relaxation that every freelancer needs.

Here are five low cost or free vacation options that will help you relax and de-stress.

Need to Relax? Try One of These Low-Cost Breaks.

If you need a break but just can’t get away, try one (or more) of these five mini-vacation ideas to help you relax:

  1. Day at the park — Many cities and towns have parks that are open to the public. Often, admission to a city park is free or you can enter a state or national park (in the U.S.) or a low fee. Pack a picnic lunch and plan to spend the day exploring nature. Be sure to take advantage of any natural features (such as swimming) at the park that you visit.
  2. Movie night — Pop some popcorn, rent a few of your favorite movies, turn out the lights, and have your own movie marathon night right in your own home. Laugh, cry, and cheer for some of the best actors of all times (your favorites). Be sure to turn off the phone and any instant message services you subscribe to. For one evening, don’t give a thought to your freelancing business.
  3. Be a tourist in your own town — We often don’t visit the “attractions” located near to our homes. You can save a fortune in transportation costs and hotel bills by playing the tourist in your own town. Grab a list of local tourist attractions from the Internet and make that your guide for a day of fun. Be sure to bring your camera for those all-important tourist snapshots.
  4. Get active — Spend a day focusing on your favorite sport. Not only does physical activity relieve stress, it’s also good for you. As freelancers (and web workers), sometimes we live as though we are virtually chained to our computer monitors. I don’t need to tell you that’s not very healthy. So, grab your golf clubs or phone your tennis partner and spend an active morning (or afternoon) for a change.
  5. Volunteer your services — While this might not seem like a mini-vacation at first glance, volunteering can actually help you to relax and feel better about yourself. To find a place to volunteer, phone your favorite charity and ask how you can help. Also, many larger cities have volunteer networks that can match your specific skills with a need.

How to Make One of these Breaks Really Work for You

The trick to finding relaxation from one of these mini-vacation ideas is to leave your work completely behind you. With that in mind, we’ve provided a list of do’s and don’ts to help you get the most from your vacation.

And, here are some “do’s“:

  • Do focus on the fun at hand
  • Do bring along those people who are important to you
  • Do try new things

Here are some “don’ts” for a successful mini-vacation:

  • Don’t lug your cell phone along so that you can take calls from clients
  • Don’t bring your laptop and try to find the nearest free WiFi
  • Don’t be constantly thinking about your work when you should be relaxing

How Do You Let Off Steam?

Do you have any tips for taking a break when you can’t really get away from your freelancing business?

Share your ideas for fun and easy ways for freelancers to take a break from work and relax.

Top photo by Rene Ehrhardt

Comments

  1. says

    All are great suggestions.

    Instead of saying be a tourist in your own town, which is a great idea, I might add, “Take a Day Trip”. Most of us don’t realized that within an hour or two there are many different things to see.

    I live in the Baltimore/Washington region and from there a couple of hours West and you are in the mountains, to the East on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay is the Delmarva Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean. Taking a day trip in either direction can be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience.

    I imagine that most anyplace you can go a couple of hours away and find places that others actually plan to see, so why don’t you.

    Who knows a trip like this can open the mind and give you a different prospective and release a great new idea.

  2. says

    I agree with Steve’s idea. I live in St. Louis and will be taking a few days next week to hang out in Chicago. I’ll be taking my laptop along and working but it’s nice to get a change of scenery, go for a run near the lake, and try new restaurants.

  3. says

    I just started doing web design freelance and it really is tough to get away. One hobby of mine is photography so when I can get away I try to take some pictures of Dallas.

  4. says

    These are great ideas! I’ve been self-employed since I was 16, and now I’m REALLY old! It has always been difficult to get away. I have used all of your ideas in my lifetime, and they really are effective. When I can’t even leave the house, but feel the stress building, I choose some energetic music and turn up the volume. Lets off steam and renews energy at the same time.

  5. says

    Nice post!

    When you’re planning a holiday the last thing you want is to have problems with the place that you’re staying in. You want a great place to stay, you want it to be clean and convenient. With the growth of World Wide Web, Online apartment reservation has become easier and a most popular task. It has brought a dynamic change in the field of apartment booking.

  6. says

    This is some of the best advice I’ve read in a long time! I haven’t had a decent break in … gee, I don’t even remember how long it’s been!

    To make up for the lack of freedom from my desk (by my own choice I am chained to it, I concede that) I do take these ‘mini’ vacations as you mentioned: I go hiking (love hiking!), swimming, walking, movies, etc. In other words, I try to spend as much quality time with my family, and by myself, as I can manage without compromising my work-time (difficult), and it really does help to break the stress.

  7. says

    Great Ideas.

    i was thinking to work harder for the next two weeks to take a 20 days vacation. Now these amazing ideas will defiantly help me, since i didn’t take a vacation for more than a year and a half!

    thanks a million.

  8. says

    This is a great thread, i agree by taking time out allows you to avoid “burning out” and also allows you to gain more inspiration when you step away for awhile

  9. says

    Great post! I was quite burnt out by the end of last year from working too hard and ended up taking an entire month off. Now that I’m back in action, I am making sure to take time each week to relax.

    I particularly like the one on being a tourist in your own town. So true! I live just outside Antigua, Guatemala, but rarely enjoy visiting the ruins or other sites around here. Such a shame when I’m so close. :)

  10. says

    Don’t think about your work while you are relaxing. That can be one of the hardest to achieve. The only way I can get around this is to log all the stuff I need to do when i’ve finished my break, then when it’s on the paper, it’s hopefully out of my head.

  11. says

    I think breaks are terrific and necessary!! But there’s something to be said for doing work while in a different spot. So I would just add that if you need a fresh look at things while still getting work done, you can do it by getting out and heading to the park, or going to a cafe. Wherever.
    I was helping out a friend the other week by waiting for the gas guy to come by to switch it on – with one of those lovely 4-hour windows of waiting. And yeah, I was waiting for about 3 hours. But they were some wonderfully productive hours! I was in an empty house with my laptop, and cranking out the work.
    Another time, I tagged along on a conference trip at a resort 2 hours away. While my husband was working, I was working too…poolside!! And yes, I was productive with the waterfall, the pool, and the beers served poolside. It was also a motivator to make some buckaroos to get a pool like that in my own backyard.
    For now, I’ll have to settle for the kiddie pool and some sun tea. ;)

  12. says

    Movie nights the way to go for me. If your anything like me I’m sure you spend more than a night or 2 a week working away in the dark to get that project finished.

    It’s so good to just crash in front of the TV for a night.

  13. says

    Appreciate this post…I like the way of handling the stress for the better performance of the concerned person.I suggest that make a smile even if the moment is hard to face and get the name as the best laughter in your place…that gives lots of relaxation and energy to you.

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