Keith Jennings took a twoweek vacation in May. His destination? Home sweet home.
"I pretty much stayed here the entire time," the Tempe resident said.
"I was thinking of going camping in Colorado or New Mexico, but I really wanted to vegetate here for a while."
Jennings, who works at Arizona State University, did a few projects around the house, kept an eye on his younger brother while their father went on vacation and watched movies on cable television.
According to the Travel Industry Association of America’s summer 2003 forecast, leisure travel will increase a modest 2.5 percent over last summer. But, like Jennings, many people will opt to hang out at home.
Finances will limit the geographical mobility of some people. Others say the political climate makes them nervous.
Jennings said war and the economy didn’t affect his decision. He just wanted to relax at home.
But recharging can be difficult to do when you’re not "getting away from it all."
"The one thing I did was I turned off my cell phone and I gave my pager to someone else in the office," Jennings said. "The main thing is to determine you’re going to take time for yourself."
The key to a successful stay-at-home vacation, said business and life coach Gloria McDowell, is to do things that bring you joy.
"The litmus test for self-care is, ‘Is this something that I want to do that takes care of me? Is this something I enjoy?’ " said McDowell, a Gilbert resident. "When the words ‘I feel I should’ or ‘I ought to’ come in, then it’s a guilt project."
Jennings did a couple of projects at home, but he also took time for himself — socializing on the front porch with neighbors, or kicking back and watching movies. He ordered pizza and carryout all week and ate off paper plates so he didn’t have to wash dishes.
"I really turned into a couch potato at certain points, but it was good," he said.
When Motorola shut down for three weeks a couple of years ago, Nancy Schmehl of Tempe "ended up being a lump. I sat around most of the time," she said.
She wished she’d been more productive. So, during Motorola’s shutdown this week and next, she plans to paint, garden, do yard work, sew, read and work on her scrapbook. She’ll also clean and organize.
No matter how you decide to spend time, McDowell recommends getting in the vacation mind-set and making your happiness a priority. Excuses such as "I don’t have time for . . ." or "I can’t do that because . . ." are exactly that — excuses, she said.
"Did those socks need to be washed precisely at 11 o’ clock at night?" McDowell asked. "It’s about choosing."
Tips to get away from it all at home
• Plan play time. Schedule days to do things that give you pleasure, whether it’s hiking, playing sports, painting, writing, reading or cooking. Don’t book up all your time with "to-do" lists of repairs and home projects.
• Get together with family and friends and have a barbecue or potluck.
• Be a tourist in town. Visit places in your community that you haven’t seen. Take the kids to museums, go to a public pool or visit a water park. Open the newspaper and see what’s going on in your community that day.
• If you can afford it, try a new restaurant each night, just as you would on vacation.
• Make a point to get out of the house each day, even if it’s a 10-minute bike ride to get an ice cream cone or soda.
• Clean and do laundry before you take time off, just as you would if you were leaving town. That way your days won’t get bogged down with chores.
• Replicate the resort atmosphere at home: Sit on your patio, sip lemonade or margaritas and relax. Give yourself a pedicure. Take a long, luxurious bubble bath.
• If you have children, hire a babysitter at least one day or evening so you can have time to yourself. Better yet: Work out an exchange with friends or family. You take their kids for a few hours one day and they take yours the next. Sources: Terra Wellington, Scottsdale life balance and wellness expert; Gloria McDowell, Gilbert business and life coach
If you’re staying in town this summer for your vacation, consider spending a night or two in one of the Valley’s many posh resorts. In the winter, you’d pay upwards of $400 for a room at some of these places. Here are a few examples of the sizzling summer rates being offered:
Doubletree La Posada Resort, 4949 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley; (602) 952-0420. Rates start at $69. Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, 10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive; (480) 515-5700. Rates start at $145. Includes 4 p.m. check-out; packages available for golf, spa and more.
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch, 7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road; (480) 991-3388, Ext. 76. Rates start at $160 with third night free; kids stay and eat free and can attend Camp Hyatt activities.
Marriott Camelback Inn, 4502 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley; (480) 948-1700. Rates start at $149; includes $50 voucher for spa services, golf, dining or shopping at the resort.
The Phoenician, 6000 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix; (480) 941-8200. Rates start at $175 Sundays through Thursdays and $195 Fridays and Saturdays.
Royal Palms Resort and Spa, 5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix; (602) 840-3610. Rates start at $179; packages available for golf, spa services, romance and more.
Wyndham Buttes Resort, 2000 W. Westcourt Way, Tempe; (602) 225-9000. Rates start at $99; special package on June 28, July 5 and Aug. 9 for $119 includes summer concert, and $20 voucher for food and drinks.