Residing in Arizona is the best. The weather is amazing. The landscape is beautiful. There is so much to do and see. Thus, why we traded the Midwest for the Southwest a few years ago. A major factor in the decision to move to AZ from IL was the fact that EVERYONE said they would come to visit. Arizona was always a vacation destination for us growing up, so we felt confident that our family and friends would use our new location as their choice for travel, too.
Our first year living here, having guests gave us a reason to explore our new state. We regularly got to try new restaurants, see new sites, orient ourselves to hiking, and kind of feel like we were on a never-ending vacation (even with full time jobs, kids, and a house to run). We got quality time with our visitors, sometimes more than what we would have when we lived in the same state, and made wonderful memories along the way.
We wanted everyone to fall in love with Arizona like we did so they would continue to visit and give us that little piece of home we were missing here. And love it they do! So much so, we have even had people decide to move here after visiting. And for those who aren’t committing to a cross country relocation just yet…we can expect 10-15 visits from various guests throughout the year. If that sounds like a lot to you, it kind of is.
Don’t get me wrong, we love and get excited for each and every visitor that comes our way. But, in those busy months where those visits come back to back or close together (Spring Break/Spring Training), the desire to “vacation” with our family and friends is often met with the reality that our normal life still has to go on. With young children, we can only have late nights, excused days from school, missed naps/bedtime routines/normal eating so many times before it starts to impact behavior and daily functioning. And as much as I wish I had unlimited paid time off and/or a money tree to fund all of the activities there are to be done with our AZ visitors, I have tried to find a balance somewhere between YOLO and party pooper when company comes to town. Some simple things that have worked for our family:
- Think Ahead. When looking at our calendar around a visit, I try to make sure the weekends preceding or immediately after guests are light. That way if our schedule is a little extra full of fun while guests are here, we aren’t too tired going in and have some time to recover after.
- Plan. Talk to your guests before their arrival. Find out what they are hoping to do and let them know what you want/can do with them and what might not be possible this trip. I feel less guilty saying no to something up front so alternate plans can be made vs. waiting until they are here and realizing that timing just won’t work.
- Budget. My husband and I look at the calendar ahead of time so we can make room in our budget for months when we have visitors. This makes dinners out, planned activities, and general extra spending less stressful because we have prepared for it ahead of time.
- Ego check. Our guests aren’t just here for us! Maybe they don’t want to spend every waking moment of their vacation in our presence. Giving visitors space to explore on their own or do what they want to do is good for everyone involved.
- Quality over Quantity. Because we have a lot of visitors, we have to limit how much time off we take from work for us and school for the kids, so we try our best to make the quality of time that we spend the best we can.
We love being hosts in our new state and even with some of the aforementioned considerations, hope that our family and friends continue to come to visit regularly for many years to come. And if after a week of living in the sunshine with us they decide to just move here too? Well, sorry Midwest…it’s a pretty easy conversion.