Guest Author - Christine Wilcox
Companies in the United States dole out the least amount of vacation of any country - on average we only get 13 days per year of vacation time. (source Expedia.com). And yet most Americans still only use 10 of those days for a little R&R.
One of my favorite ways to indulge myself is to take a spa day every few months. I don't leave town, but I get the works - facial, manicure, pedicure, full body massage (for as long as they'll let me) and anything else that I want to splurge on. I do follow the cardinal rule that it ALWAYS has to be a true vacation day, where the blackberry goes into the purse and anything that makes noise is muted, but this year, I'm going to do something different. I'm going to make it a true vacation, and combine my pampering with one of my favorite destinations.
And when I'm planning a little escape, I'm not afraid to admit it - Google is my friend.
A bit about what I'm looking for here, and what I think you should look for, too. I'm going to budget at least $1,500 for this trip. If I find it for less, fantastic. I'm going to minimize stress by going to a destination that I am already familiar with. I know how to get there, how much the rental car will cost, and what's waiting "out there," so if I want to stay by the pool all day and read, I can. I'm also going to book my vacation starting on a Tuesday or Wednesday - because those are the days that it's generally cheaper to fly - and thereby use at least the three days of vacation that I've been leaving behind every year. Sometimes, spa services are discounted if you stay for multiple days rather than a 1 night check in - so check it out! I'm also going to call the hotel directly and double check the internet pricing I'm seeing before I book. Occasionally, if you call the hotel, it can be less expensive or they'll throw a special deal in. But I'll check all the websites before booking anything.
When I think of ultimate relaxation, I think Wine Country in Northern California. Great food, great wine, and some absolutely FANTASTIC resorts. Searching "Napa Spa Packages" yielded some promising results - and the package at the Silverado in Napa Valley looks like a great deal - a Suite Spa Escape looks heavenly. There's also a good little getaway deal at The Fairmont that bears additional research.
Sedona - of course - also leaps to mind, and it looks like there's a great pacakge at L'Auberge. For a two-night stay, I get a $200.00 spa credit - so while it's not like getting the spa for free - it's still a great deal in a great spot!
Take those three days you may be leaving behind on your yearly vacation and take a spa day! Sometimes the best gift to give is the gift you give yourself!