|Easter sunrise exactly as it was.|
A whole month???
Are you kidding?
How extravagant is that?
Those are things we thought when the idea dawned. We were looking for a vacation home to rent for two weeks—one week didn’t seem long enough to decompress. What we found is it’s cheaper to rent by the month than by the week.
But a month?
You don't have to be "rich" to make this happen. We certainly aren't. We’re the kind of people who keep vacation jars into which we put $25 a week. This year Madeline and I also had a directing gig—we threw those funds into the mix.
But a month?
It actually only took five minutes to understand a month was exactly what we needed. We started looking in Florida, but the properties were too expensive. We took our search all along the gulf coast. Less expensive, but the waters weren’t warm enough for a 10-month-old Bambina. We took our search to Puerto Rico (there are other US territories as well) where we wouldn’t need a passport for the Bambina, and the air and water temps would be in the low 80s.
We searched Airbnb, Flipkey, Trip Advisor, Craigslist, and other sites specializing in monthly rentals. (Be extra careful with Craigslist.) It was a negotiation process—every owner was willing to come down in price for the month—especially since we were searching for something only two weeks away.
Tip: It’s easier to get a good deal with a last minute request. The downside is that many of the most popular houses are rented—that didn’t matter to us.
Tip: Nail down your property before you purchase airline tickets—it helps the negotiation if you are somewhat flexible. Some places only rent from the first to the 30th, but many allow for mid-month start dates. We went from the 17th to the 17th. Mid-week travel is cheaper than weekend travel. We left on a Tuesday will return on a Friday.
Some hidden perks to vacationing for a month.
1. You can rent a house with an extra bedroom or two and invite friends/family. Next year we’ll plan for this a little better. We have family spread far and wide. We could see several of them over the span of the month.
2. Many people can only get away for a week. By having a place for them to fly into, they can hit the beach running. When Sam came to visit, he didn’t have to spend a day renting a car (we found a small local company), grocery shopping, or getting the lay of the land. Madeline and I had done all of that. (Well, most of it--there was a Sam's Club run in there.)
3. Visiting friends and family can pitch into the cost of the rental property—making it more affordable for you. On the other hand, if you can afford the cost of the rental property, you can offer someone else a vacation where they don’t have to worry about lodging costs. How awesome is that? How often do we get the chance to offer friends/family something they might not be able to afford on their own?
4. When you have a month, the pressure to go-go-go disappears. You can have down days where a walk to the local beach is all the excitement you want to have, and yet, you don’t feel like you’ve “wasted” a vacation day by not seeing something new. In essence, you give your mind, body, and spirit a chance to renew itself. The extended vacation lends itself to restoration.
Some of the things we’ve learned on this trip:
1. Stay a little closer (but not too close) to the airport.
2. Get the Sam’s Club membership on Day 1. We spent far too much time, energy, and money searching for cheap local food.
3. Always have cash—many low cost food establishments don’t have the ability to process debit/credit cards.
4. Women tend to be able to “do nothing” more easily than men.
Some of what this extended vacation has accomplished:
1. It has made us feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually rested.
2. The Bambina is on the best sleep schedule she’s ever been on.
3. The Bambina tossed her pacifier. (Not something we were even striving for.)
4. We’ve wallowed in Vitamin D—there’s an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency in much of North America. I made peace with the sun, soaking in more of it than I ever have before.
5. Madeline and I have walked so much, and have tried to eat as fresh as possible—it’s been a kind of get fit spring boot camp.
6. There were issues/anxieties we didn’t know existed because back in the real world as they didn’t have the environment to go from the sub-conscience to the conscience. The spirit hadn't had a chance to think, so to speak. Those thoughts were able to surface here—and clarity came. One answer surfaced in a 15-minute random encounter with another vacationer. It felt like a God-appointed moment.
7. We’ve given the Bambina a love of water, sand, hiking, and exploration. She has been the perfect pace-setter.
A month of vacation?
We highly recommend it.
We are incredibly grateful for it.
All in Goodwill,