Vacations can often be stressful. Packing up everything you might need, arranging care for the animals at home and getting through airport security lines can raise your anxiety levels even before you reach your destination. Once you’re in paradise, there’s the navigation, tourist traps and the time change adjustment that can cause tension.
The Institute of Leadership and Management, in the United Kingdom, collected data about stress from one thousand British workers. They found that just the idea of an impending vacation brought stress to 73 percent of study participants.
We want you to enjoy your next vacation. While past holidays may have been hectic and caused more stress than relaxation, you can have a refreshing and enjoyable vacation this year. Here are 10 tips on how to have a stress free vacation.
1. Tell a Neighbor About Your Travel Plans
Make sure a couple of trusted friends who live nearby know that you’ll be away. Give them your cellphone number in case anything strange is going on at your place. A neighbor can be on the lookout for any activity around your house and collect any packages that are delivered while you’re gone. If you don’t know your neighbors, consider asking a friend to swing by your place a couple of times while you’re on vacation. It’ll lower your stress level if you know that things are fine at home, and you aren’t worried.
2. Consider an All-inclusive Trip If You Don’t Like Planning
Some people like to plan every little detail about their vacations. They don’t mind scouring the internet for weeks to coordinate the perfect, custom created getaway. If you’re not one of those people, don’t worry. There are plenty of all-inclusive vacation options that offer all sorts of package deals so that you can just show up and enjoy the ride. Look around online for resorts that offer meals, activities, excursions, and entertainment on-site.
All-inclusive trips are often helpful for those traveling on a tight budget. You’ll know upfront how much everything is going to cost and be able to pay for the vacation at once, then relax and enjoy it.
3. Research Restaurants and Menus Ahead of Time
One thing is certain when you’re on vacation: you will get hungry. Everyone needs to eat. If dining out isn’t something you’ve researched before the trip, you’ll most likely be stuck paying top dollar for mediocre grub at the nearest greasy spoon and praying you don’t end up with stomach cramps or worse. Can you tell that I’ve made this mistake a time or two?
So much stress during a vacation can be eliminated by researching restaurants in advance and checking their menus. You can budget and plan for dietary needs easily these days by checking online before you go. Reading restaurant reviews is helpful too. Nobody wants to deal with food poisoning on vacation.
4. Pack Your Bags at Least Three Days Before You’re Scheduled to Leave
When you wait to pack up all of your things until the night before you leave for vacation, you’ll almost always forget something important. Do yourself a favor and pack your bags a few days before the trip. When you pack early, you’ll have some time to remember any items that you left out accidentally.
5. Read Hotel Reviews Online Before You Book
Nothing can ruin your vacation more effectively than a bad hotel experience. When things go wrong, and you’re forced to find alternate lodging at the last minute, it can be pretty expensive and inconvenient. It’s extremely important to read travel reviews before you book a hotel room. Look for recurrent complaints of bedbugs, uncleanliness or poor heating and cooling conditions. If you find more than a handful of negative reviews, keep searching. You’ll rest easier knowing you’ve done your homework and found a clean, safe place to sleep.
6. Make a Plan and a Backup Plan
Rarely do things work out exactly the way we’ve planned, especially on vacation. Hotels might become overbooked, attractions could be closed and rental car companies might lose your reservation. Be sure to have a few restaurants on your list and some alternate activities in mind for unexpected weather, closures or delays. It will also help to have some reasonably priced backup lodging options in mind. It’ll bring you peace of mind to know that you have some good alternatives if you need them.
7. Don’t Try to Cram Too Many Activities Into Your Trip
One of the most common vacation stressors is having too many things going on, too many people to see and too much scheduled into one week. That rushed feeling you have when you might miss the plane can be extended throughout your entire holiday if you overbook yourself. Nobody needs that kind of stress on vacation.
Don’t plan more than one or two events or activities into a single day during your trip. It’s not fun to feel pressured as you’re racing from one excursion to another. This is a vacation, not a challenge to squeeze in the most excitement. Build-in some downtime just to chill out and decompress. If you’re visiting a coastal area and you haven’t scheduled a full day just to enjoy the beach, start crossing some items off your planning list and pack the sunscreen.
8. Plan to Get a Massage at the Beginning of Your Vacation
If you can swing it, consider planning to have a massage the day you arrive. Starting your vacation with an hour of stress and pain relief can set the tone for the rest of your trip. Check online for hotels that offer spa service packages so that you can enjoy some deep relaxation during your getaway. A little pampering is a great stress reliever.
9. Leave Your Laptop at Home
Those of us who can work remotely have trouble leaving our work behind. The three hours when the kids will be blissfully swimming in the hotel pool seem like hours that could be put to good use on a work project.
Don’t be tempted to bring your work with you. Join your family in the hotel pool. Have coffee on the balcony deck and listen to the waves crashing. Take a walk in an unfamiliar city you’re visiting. Do anything except log into your work computer and see if you can accomplish a few tasks. Once you open that laptop, you can easily slip into work mode for the remainder of your trip.
Human behavior expert and University of Texas psychology professor Art Markman authored a global study on our memories associated with vacations. Several hundred travelers from all across the world participated. Markman found that vacationers who worked ― even for just one hour ― during their vacations, were much less likely to clearly remember events of their trips than those who left their work at home.
If you want to make wonderful vacation memories and keep them, resist the urge to hop online for a few minutes and check on things at the office. Work will always be there for you when you get back home. You can’t say the same thing for that sand between your toes or the hike your family is begging you to take with them.
10. Plan for Lost Luggage
Lost luggage is something that can add stress to your vacation. About half of all people who travel by plane will experience lost luggage at least once during their journeys. However, there are ways you can minimize the risk of losing your luggage.
First, use a luggage tag. Fill it out completely and include your cellphone number. Also, complete an identical form to put inside your bag. If it’s possible, include a copy of your trip itinerary inside the bag as well. If your outer tags are damaged, the airline will be able to track you down with the inside identification.
Next, make your luggage stand out. If the airline doesn’t lose your bag, it could also be mistakenly claimed by another passenger. Tie a bold colored bow around the handle of your suitcase. You can also let the kids decorate your bags with paint markers. Make sure your bag doesn’t look like every other bag coming off the conveyor belt.
Then, snap a photo of your bags before you check them. This will help the airline identify your luggage if it’s lost and return it to you more quickly. You might even want to take a photo of the contents inside the bag as well, particularly if they are of high value.
Finally, pack some essentials in your carry-on bag. Always stash a change of clothes, phone chargers and any medications you need in your carry-on. In the event your luggage is lost, you won’t want to spend hours trying to fill prescriptions and shop for toothbrushes and underwear.
Have a Wonderful, Stress-free Vacation
Life is stressful enough. Make your vacations a time to relax and unwind. Use these tips to have an enjoyable and refreshing time away from home.
Staying active while on vacation will help you have a stress-free and enjoyable trip. Make sure to check out our Bodyweight Blender, a low-impact workout that you can do from anywhere!
Brown, J. (2017). We’ve reached the point where workers are stressed by the mere thought of vacation time. Retrieved from: https://qz.com/1021728/going-on-vacation-is-stressful-according- to-recent-surveys-of-workers/
Markman, A. (2016). Science of memories study. Retrieved from: https://www.vrbo.com/info/ media-center/press-releases/2016/Science-of-Memories-Study-uk/