The 10 Stages of Planning an Adult Vacation

 ("dirty day" in Key West 2012 - no make up or primping allowed!)

Last spring we went to Key West to celebrate (soften the blow) my 40th birthday.  I wrote a little bit about it here. 

Several things went wrong on that trip, some of which were mildly annoying (like the torrential downpours for 24 of our 36 hours there),  and others that have probably scarred me for life.  In any case, I called a "do over".  So, as you read this we are in the air after catching our 6 am flight...smiling and clinking airline cans of Bloody Mary.

As our departure date approached, I realized I was passing through several specific Pre-Vacation Stages.  Planning an adult vacation isn't for the faint of heart, but if you can "work the stages" you will come out just fine.

Stage 1: Suggestion

It all starts with a little comment "We should go away without the kids...ha, ha".  This mere suggestion creates a little niggling that grows and grows.  This niggling can occur over time, but if drinks are involved, the niggling can come on quite suddenly as soon as someone else bites and says "I'm in!".  It never really gets anywhere, however, until they add the crucial..."Dude, I'm serious."

At this point, someone will say "Key West, Baby!" while performing a fist pump.

Stage 2: Denial

You come up with 1,000 reasons as to why this is a bad idea while simultaneously googling everything you can find about flights, rooms, rental cars...

Stage 3: Temporary Insanity

You decide to throw reason to the wind and in a flurry of temporary insanity, purchase the flights and rooms you've been researching while reasoning "Bah! We have plenty of time! It will all work out!"

This stage is usually accompanied by mad giggling and high fives.

Stage 4: Regret

Usually the next day, you come to your senses (or maybe it's later in the month when you look at your credit card bill) and say to your spouse "What the HELL were we thinking?!? WE CAN'T GO TO KEY WEST!!!" but the stage is already set.

Plow on...secretly smile.

Stage 5: Desperation

You begin calling every college student, relative, random grocery store clerk, to find someone to watch your kids.  You call in favors, you beg, you plead, you dangle money...

Stage 6:  Disbelief

Once you get the sitter on the hook, you really can't believe it.  You spend the whole next day watching the phone, waiting for them to call to say they forgot they already have an appendectomy scheduled for that day or that trip to Hawaii they forgot about.

Stage 7: Acceptance

When a week goes by you start to believe this might actually happen so you might as well start to plan. 

You make lists: what to pack, what to do, what to eat, what diets to try...

Stage 8: Procrastination

You realize about 2 weeks before you leave that those lists have become nothing more than words on paper. In fact, where the heck are those lists anyway?  What was I supposed to do? What was I going to pack?  Who is watching the kids again? 

You decide to pack so you can feel like you've something.  As the days go on, you raid this packed bag several times to wear items of clothing you still needed in the meantime.

Stage 9: Panic

Refer to Stage 4 and repeat: "What the HELL were we thinking?!? WE CAN'T GO TO KEY WEST!!!"  but now you can add "The kids have finals coming up! There is a lacrosse tournament that was just scheduled! We have 3 book reports due!  I forgot to start that Suzanne Somers diet!"

There is too much to do, there is too much to organize, there is too much to plan! How oh how will this ever work?  Somehow 3 months of planning occurs in one afternoon, fueled by caffeine and despair. 

Side effects of this stage can be headaches, stomach aches, and the tendency to ravage you children's leftover Easter candy, totally wrecking the diet you never actually started.

Stage 10: Glee

You wake up at 4 am and giddily gather your belongings and steal away in the dark of night for a 6 am flight.  You can't believe you are actually going to get away with it but as you pull out of the driveway you look at each other and an evil laugh rumbles from your very depths "Mmmwwaaaahahaha!  KEY WEST, BABY!"

At this point, you board the plane, read one page of your book and pass out asleep for the next 3 hours only to wake up in Key West, ready for a "do over".

So, tune in next week to read about my "do over" Key West trip!

("dirty day" sunset - still going strong!)


  1. I hope you guys have a great time!

  2. Hooray for grown-up time! It would be funny to write this from your husbands point of view. If he's like mine, it would read something like: Step 1: decide to go. Step 2: Glee!

  3. I loved this post! I haven't done it yet, but I think your list sounds exactly how every parent feels. I still don't know if I have the guts to go for more than 1 night, but I feel like it might actually be easier to be gone for an actual vacation rather than just in a hotel 45 minutes away for a night. I almost cried when I got home!

  4. Hi,

    Nice one!.
    I also one of the vacation lover and love to read blog about the the adult, adult vacations and tour etc. I goggled Adult vacations and landed in your blog. Love to be here again. Keep posting.

  5. Hi, I also googled Adult Vacations and landed in your great blog. Will definitely be back :)


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