I absolutely love traveling. I love backpacking, camping, hiking, trips to the beach, driving cross country and almost anything that involves me packing up my stuff and heading off into the sunset. Vacations are supposed to be fun activities, where you can relax, unwind and recharge. But sometimes, vacations fail to produce the fun were expecting and stress us out. Some people get so stressed that they wish for a vacation from their vacation.
If you’re that far gone from having real fun, you can use these vacation tips to get yourself back on the fast track to travel bliss.
Lower your Expectations
Studies have shown that the act of planning a vacation is more fun and enjoyable than the actual trip itself. It’s pretty weird, and it probably has something to do with all the anticipation and giddiness people tend to experience during the planning stage because they see all the pictures of the place they’re going to visit, read all the reviews and envision themselves as having the time of their lives.
They may even broadcast the whole planning session on Youtube and use social media to document all the steps. But when the actual vacation rolls around, they’re underwhelmed and have less fun than they thought they were going to have. This sucks. So next time, when planning a trip, give it all your enthusiasm, but keep it on the down low. Also, don’t expect too much out of it. That way, when something unforeseen happens, you’re OK with it and not bummed out.
Have a Plan B
When the planned vacation doesn’t pan out, it’s always a good idea to have a back up. Having a back up ensures you’re not stuck in the hotel room twiddling your thumbs and wondering what to do next. Have an indoor activity planned just in case it rains, or be sure to check out some of the less visited places. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the corner coffee shops, or the lovely mom and pop bakery down the street.
Don’t schedule anything unless you have to
One time, I went on vacation with my mother’s relatives. One of my cousins planned the whole trip, which was fine when it came down to buying tickets, hotel reservations and document translation services (for emergencies). Hell came early the next day, when she woke everyone up at 6am so we could catch the breakfast buffet. The breakfast freaking buffet and I don’t even eat breakfast!
As I dragged my feet to the lobby, hating every minute of my time there, I learned we were “on a strict schedule” so no one could be late or venture on their own, because everything was planned to the last second. I wanted to buy a ticket back home. But, being a minor at the time, my parents wouldn’t let me. Don’t make the same mistake. Have a plan, but a flexible one. You’ll end up more stressed and agitated if you schedule activities on your own vacation.
Take it easy, and go with the flow
Stop and smell the roses. I mean it! Taking things slow, really investing your time and attention to every single detail is the only way to spend quality away time. The workweek is fast paced and stressful as it is. Take your time to slow things down several notches. Check out every nook and cranny in an ancient castle. Taste every beer on tap in the local pub. Haggle (in a friendly way) with a street vendor until one of you caves in. Slowing things down lets you get in touch and appreciate the local flavor more. Don’t forget to smile while you’re at it. They love smiling foreigners, but some think were just nuts.
You should be relaxing and recharging your batteries. Why are you taking your ipad, laptop and all the other electronic gizmos with you? Leave them at home! If you have to take a smartphone for picture taking, turn off your email or switch to airplane mode. Schedule a time of the day where you switch it back if you really need to check on your email or text messages, but switch it back to airplane mode once you’re done.
There you have it, 5 ways to get the most out of your vacation. Not all of us are lucky enough to be granted some paid time off, so when vacation time comes around, make sure you don’t over think things and have a rigid plan so you can enjoy your time there and not be too stressed out if you didn’t follow the plan.