Did you ever want to be spontaneous and take a quick mini vacation? Here’s a easy to understand how to guide for just that!
On Sunday June 12th, Danny Boy and I watched Travel Channel’s Top 10 Roller Coasters. Exactly six days later, we packed up my new car aka “Sparky” and made the drive to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
Since this was a first in my life, I decided it was a great blogging opportunity. Spontaneous mini-vacations can be great fun and here’s how to have one of your own.
The first thing you need is inspiration and motivation. Find something you can be excited about. Seek out something not to far away that can really be a good time.
Dan and I realized we had never gone to an amusement park together. Living in Chicago, we’re about an hour and a half from the Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. The problem is we’ve both been a million times throughout our lives.
Since this was a first roller coaster filled day in our relationship, we needed something different. Sandusky, Ohio is about 4.5 hours away from Chicago. To cut costs, we decided to make the drive early in the morning so that we go directly to the park and crash for a night at a hotel before driving back.
You may feel tempted to over research this type of thing. Trust me, I found other places in driving distance and was tempted to push back our mini-trip to Memorial Day weekend since I have an extra day off.
It starts to feel less spontaneous so tread carefully. Make sure you have enough time to make the drive and enjoy your destination without spending lots of money. Two days of driving somewhere means a total of four days in a car to make it back. Unless you have things to visit along the way or a lot of vacation time, keep the actual driving to a minimum.
For something outdoors, check the weather. I checked every day in the six days between the idea and the actual mini-road trip.
But here’s a thing to remember, weather forecasts are not perfect. All week, I was told it would rain that Saturday in Sandusky, Ohio. Did we cancel? No. Did it rain? Not a drop of rain all day!
So you found your motivation, your place of interest, and you know it’s doable. Avoid over-planning everything. Here are a few things to ask yourself:
What do I need to bring?
What time do we have to leave?
Can I buy tickets online for my destination? Can I find a coupon code or a discount?
I was able to find a discount and get our Cedar Point tickets for only $37 each. We planned to leave at 4:30am. Yes, we actually left at 5:15am, but it didn’t ruin our good time.
Anything else of importance? How about making a fun playlist for the drive–one that could be put on shuffle while you laughed your way across state lines.
My road trip playlist included a lot of crazy choices: Freebird, Send Me On My Way, Dream On, Bohemian Rhapsody, Bitter Sweet Symphony, Walking On Sunshine, 99 Luftballons (yes, the German version), the theme song to Fresh Prince of Bel Air, ABC by the Jackson 5, Blue Monday, Baby Got Back, Chelsea Dagger, Low Rider, and many more.
Oh, the subject of packing. I am a guilty party to over-packing. I did it when we went to Cancun, and I’m sure it’s not the last time.
For Cedar Point, I had a game plan. The weather could have been really nice or a little chilly and rainy. So one outfit was for chilly/rainy weather and one was for hot/sweaty weather. I brought a change of PJ’s and that’s it. Remember it’s not worth stressing about. And make up? Leave it at home!
So you planned, packed, and are ready to go. A few small tips. Make sure your partner in crime has the same ideals about this mini-trip as you do. If you don’t have the same motivation, you will bicker a lot.
Dan and I had only one goal. To ride as many roller coasters that the roller coaster gods would allow us. We shared the drive there and stopped when we felt like it. No fighting, no bickering, and no stressing!
PUBLIC SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT
You want to road trip? Put away your cellphone. If you are sitting in the passenger seat, put away your cell phone and give your driver some conversation (unless you are searching for something related to your mini-vacation).
From Chicago to Ohio, we saw two car accidents (one was really bad). Just keep in mind, you are going incredibly fast, and even if you are bored, stay safe and focus your mind on the road.
Next is to just have fun and enjoy your day. If you are at an amusement park, don’t get bored waiting in lines. Be excited and don’t let your old age make you feel too tired to really get as much fun as possible out of your day.
Don’t sweat the little things either. The new roller coaster that opened at Cedar Point was called the GateKeeper. We went straight there and turned away from the line when we heard there was a four hour wait.
So we got in line for another coaster and right when we got close, it shut down for maintenance. After 10 minutes, it reopened and it was smooth sailing the rest of the day.
I also managed to drop my phone and crack the screen while waiting in a line. But you don’t let those things ruin the rest of your fun. Emotions are all about perspective, so focus on the positives and walk away with good feelings.
We went back to the GateKeeper later and sat in the first row. It was the highlight of the day!
Here are a few photos from our mini-vacation. They are all from my cellphone since we didn’t even pack a real camera.