Every dad knows that every once in awhile you just need to have a guys weekend. No spouse, no kids – just you and some of your closest dad friends. Planning a guys weekend away can help you be a better father, husband, and friend because it helps you to recharge those batteries. So let’s talk about what it takes to put together the ultimate guys weekend, whether it be a road trip or a weekend getaway to somewhere farther.
Choosing your Crew and your Destination
The first step to a successful guys weekend is choosing the right guys and the right place to go. Here are some tips for how to make that happen. But, before you can go, don’t forget to…
Pull your Weight at Home
You’re going to have to ask your spouse if it’s okay to have a weekend getaway. Don’t be that guy who doesn’t pull his weight at home and still asks for time off! Make sure you’re paying extra close attention to your fatherly duties and your share of the work at home before you ask for a trip away. (Don’t go hanging out at golf courses every weekend or anything like that!) I like to seed the idea long in advance of actual decision making so that my wife knows what’s coming. And unless it’s a really special occasion, like when I went to the Men’s World Cup, I usually just ask for two or three nights away.
Choose the Right Travel Companions
Generally, I’ll only focus on my closest friends for travel, especially on a short guys weekend. I’m old enough that I’ve traveled with a bunch of my guy friends and I know what does and doesn’t work with them. Of course, sometimes friends will want to invite other friends and that’s fine. In my many guys trips I’ve found that the perfect guys for the trip, are whoever shows up. But do be sure you know realistically what size group you want to travel with. There’s no point in planning a guys getaway if you’re just going to be disappointed not enough people are going or stressed that too many people are going.
Usually, coordinating dates is much more difficult than agreeing on a destination, so I like to take care of choosing a date first. There are some helpful tools to do this. My favorite is to use a Doodle poll. We’ll usually choose a general time of the year for our weekend getaway, like spring, and then put every single weekend in that timeframe on the Doodle poll. You could also use something like Survey Monkey if you don’t like Doodle, though I personally find that more cumbersome.
Choosing a Destination
Once you’ve got your dates locked in, it’s time to choose a destination. Do you want to go to a city and experience the nightlife? Or would you rather spend some time out in nature and the wilderness? Are you looking for one or two great golf courses or do you want to dedicate all of your time to a golf resort? Maybe you and your guy friends just want to check out the craft beers a place has to offer. Of course, it’s likely that you and your friends will be looking for somewhere that offers a combination of these things. There’s no one right destination for a guys trip – the right destination for your guys weekend is the one that everyone can agree on!
One last tip, if somebody has a big milestone coming up (40th birthday, about to have a child, etc.), let them have more say or be a tiebreaker. That just makes things easier.
Should you stay in a hotel or a house?
Again, there are no right answers here, but this is something important to think about. If you and your friends need more personal space during your weekend trip, separate hotel rooms or bunking up might be preferable. If you want to hang out together more, you can rent an AirBnB or a VRBO. Hotels, especially if you’re in a city, often are more convenient because you won’t need a car. AirBnBs of course allow you to cook your own meals. These are some of the aspects you need to weigh-in on with your group as you’re deciding.
Tips for a Successful Trip
Here are some of my favorite tips to have a successful guys weekend with your friends.
Make sure you have a lot of options
Let’s face it, different people like to do different things. So unless everyone’s committing only to one activity, look for a place with a lot of options – nightlife, nature, food, fun, all of it! My friends and I like to go to Las Vegas because we can gamble, party, eat, or go out hiking in the desert (though not in the summer). If we get bored we can go see a show. But you don’t have to go to Las Vegas or New York; Even smaller cities have plenty to offer. When hanging out with other Traveling Dads in Harrisburg, I really enjoyed getting out in nature while hitting the breweries for craft beers at night.
The more options a destination has, the happier everyone will be. Compromise and do activities together that you all want to do.
Don’t Feel Pressure to Stay Together
That being said, you don’t need to feel pressure to stay together all the time. Personally, I try not to give-in to FOMO (fear of missing out). I will try things out that I’m not super into, but at the same time, if I need a break, I’ll pass. It’s important up front for everyone to have the proper expectations. How often will you all hang out together? How often will it be okay to split up? One thing I’d recommend is just to agree to meet up for dinner every night. That way, people can go off and do what they want during the day (groups will naturally form) and then they can meet up for dinner at night and possibly hang out for the rest of the night.
If you’re on a guys trip, I think it’s important to get active, and I don’t just mean golfing. There’s something about being out and doing something physical – like a nice hike, that really helps the bonds of friendship to strengthen. I prefer to do these active things out in nature because when it’s just you, your closest friends, and mother nature, it’s just an incredibly satisfying experience. If you’re looking for nature, there are National Parks all over the country. If you’re near one you can make it a priority to spend some time with your group there. Even if you don’t have anything to say to each other while hiking or kayaking (or whatever), being out in nature builds a common bond between you and your friends.
To close things out, let’s talk about what’s likely the most important thing to do during a good guys weekend. Eat, and eat a lot! Nature bonds you, but eating together with a great group of guys is when you have the best conversations. It’s when you get to catch up about your families, exchange parenting tips, and also it’s when you get to let your guard down and just let loose. Good food, good drinks, and good friends are the most important parts of a guys trip for me.
Why you should plan a guys weekend
Ultimately, the details in a guys weekend don’t matter as much as just doing it. A guys weekend will help you reconnect with your friends and strengthen your support network. Being a good husband and father is very difficult. Don’t fall into the stereotype that you can do it alone – go on a trip to build and strengthen your support network so you have people to talk to when you’re back in the thick of things at home. Being away from home always helps me recommit to doing my best for my family because I get to recharge and I miss them so much.
So, go plan that guys weekend. Have a great time, and when you come back…make sure you encourage your spouse to take her own trip. Not only does your spouse deserve it, but hey, if they take a trip, you’ll improve your odds of getting to do a guys weekend again!