Here’s what I learned from taking a week off and flying to Florida for my younger son’s school break:

If you’re looking for beach weather, Florida might or might not have it in February. We happened to hit a week of temperatures in the mid-70s, which was certainly warmer than home (and no snow!) but not warm enough to sit on a beach except fully dressed. We Canadians were obvious; we were the ones wearing shorts while the locals had long pants and coats.

Bring your own snacks and headphones. Oh, the airlines are happy to sell you both, but who really wants a $6 sandwich and cheap $3 headphones? You can still get free coffee or a Coke, though. For now.

Be prepared to pay to see a movie. You might expect Air Canada to have been the first to figure out this new way to make money (and I’m sure they’ll be all over it soon), but it was WestJet. I read a book instead.

You really don’t want to travel anywhere with more than a carry-on bag. Going, we  were in line a full hour just to check our bags, after already checking in online. Customs and security took another hour. Coming home, we waited 50 minutes for our bags to arrive, and only one out of three made it. The other two were delivered two days later. We’re grateful this didn’t happen on the front end.

Try to stem the e-mail tide. Before leaving, I went to all the lists I follow and changed my delivery frequency to once a week instead of once a day. I added a vacation notice to a client e-mail account and recorded voice mail that made it clear I wasn’t in the office all week. Still, I came home to more than 200 messages from five working days away.

Be merciless. Because I had 200+ messages to wade through, I did a lot of skimming and deleting, particularly those list digests.

Getting away for a break is well worth it. Just having no particular responsibilities (like a 6:30 a.m. wake-up call to walk the dog, or figuring out what to make for dinner) is a pleasure.

I’m back to reality now, complete with early morning dog-walking, which I actually missed. (The walking part, not necessarily the early start.)