Planning a trip for any family is pretty tough. Taking an actual vacation—not over the holidays to see family or a quick weekend getaway—is not only few and far between, but quite rare for most military families I know. Not only is there the PCS seasons to think about, but deployments and TDY’s get in the way too; add in the day-to-day missions and tasks, and finding actual time for a trip is nearly impossible. My husband’s schedule is all over the place and varies each and every day. Asking him what he’s doing a few months in advance usually gives me that are-you-seriously-asking-me-that-question look, followed with a smirk, a laugh, and an eye roll.
So when I broached the subject of taking a cruise, I was ready to juggle different dates and prepared for the idea to get shot down. Instead, my husband thought it’d be a good idea. Say what?! I had a credit to use on a cruise and that credit had an expiration date, which put the wheels in motion for planning this thing sooner rather than later. I found a date that didn’t correspond with any known deployments or TDY’s, and I booked that sucker (with insurance as a backup, just in case, of course), as fast as I could.
We’ve traveled a lot in the past four years of our marriage, but in my eyes, there’s a huge difference between traveling and taking a vacation. It may be a dream come true, but unless you have thousands (and thousands and thousands) of dollars to spend, traveling around Europe isn’t exactly relaxing. Just planning the darn thing is exhausting, not to mention all the walking you do to see allllll the sights. It’s basically the opposite of relaxing, and by the time we’d finish each trip I’d long for a vacation from my vacation. The last time I truly relaxed on a trip and didn’t have a care in the world was on our honeymoon.
Our honeymoon, ironically enough, was to the Bahamas, the same place we went this time. There’s something to be said for the Caribbean! The all inclusive cruise meant I didn’t have to think about what I wanted for breakfast, didn’t have to scrounge around for lunch, and I definitely didn’t have to make dinner. The only thing we really had to do was decide if we wanted white or red wine for dinner and what fruity cocktail I wanted while lounging on the pool deck and at the beach. Bliss, my friends; a vacation is pure bliss.
My husband, bless his heart, took this vacation one step further and let me do a little extra relaxing. During the hours Julia was awake and wanting to play, he suggested I go up to the pool deck with my Kindle in hand so I could just relax. I felt horrible, because he stayed behind and played with our daughter while I soaked up the sun. He reminded me that when he deploys, he’ll go months without spending time with her, so he was enjoying their father/daughter time just as much as I was enjoying my me time. Win/win for everyone!
I’ll be back later this week or next with a more detailed recap from our trip and some tips if you plan on cruising with a little one, but here are some quick tips on how to enjoy yourself on vacation.
1. Splurge. It’s a vacation, so while you shouldn’t jump off the deep end with your diet, it’s okay to dip your toes in the forbidden pool of chocolate (or in my case, the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream bar). I had desert every night and munched on a few French fries here and there. I also had mouthwatering, delicious drinks and I didn’t think twice about how many calories each contained.
2. Pamper. Cruises have world-class spas ready to pamper guests from head to toe. Indulge a little and get yourself a facial, mani, or a hot stone massage. I had a pedicure on my last cruise and almost opted for another on this one, but instead I chose to….
3. Relax. The temperature is perfect, the sound of the waves is relaxing, and that drink in your hand is just delightful. Stop what you’re doing and just breathe; enjoy your surroundings and the fact that you don’t have a single thing to do. I also took advantage of our balcony and chilled outside while watching the sunrise in the mornings before everyone woke up.
4. Unplug. Using your cell phone on a cruise can cost a fortune, and the Internet packages may also break your bank, so take this opportunity to step away from technology and enjoy real life. I may have taken this tip a little too seriously, because I dropped my phone (I was using the camera portion of it) in the ocean. Yup. More on that in a different post, but from that moment forward, I was most definitely unplugged.
5. Read. Y’all, I read two books on this trip. TWO! That’s
twice as many as I’ve read in the past year! (Shoot, does it still
count as being “unplugged” if I read them on my Kindle?) I loved looking
around the pool deck and the beach and seeing so many people reading
books and magazines.
6. Get dolled up. This may be a no-brainer for most of you, but for me, it’s a big deal. You see, I don’t get dressed up too often anymore. Our ship had a “formal” night where everyone got dolled up to the nines for dinner. I put on a fancy new dress, wore high heels, applied makeup, and I even attempted to make my hair look pretty! My only issue was taking the ensemble off at night. Since I don’t wear make up too often, and since Julia was sleeping in the bathroom (more on that in another post; I promise!), I couldn’t use the sink to clean my face. Luckily, I thought brought Simple Skincare’s Eye Makeup Remover Pads to do the job for me. The best part about using the little pads was that I could use them in a completely dark room (the little one was sleeping and I really didn’t want to wake her). I also used their Cleansing Facial Wipes to take the rest of the makeup off (not what it’s supposed to be used for, but it worked), and to make me feel refreshed again!
Now that I’m back on dry land again, I’m going to try taking those steps above and applying them into my every day life (well, maybe not the first one all the time)! It felt so good to get back to the basics and focus on myself a little bit.
Simple Skincare, Operation in Touch, and I want to know how you take care of yourself, be it on vacation or at home. They’re giving one of my military spouse readers some cash to spend on base/post. (It’s okay to be a little selfish and buy something for yourself.) Follow the prompts below for your chance to win a $50 gift card to the commissary.
I received products to try out and gift cards for this post, but all of the words above are 100% my own.