So what is a relaxing vacation?
You might think I’m joking and remark…aren’t all vacations relaxing???
Looking back, I’ve been on quite a few vacations in my life. And there were times, to be honest, when I needed a little recovery period afterwards. A short respite before going back to work and resuming normal life.
Wouldn’t you agree?
That’s why I want to share some of my personal experiences on this subject. I’ve learned a lot about what to do, and what not to do.
I’ve also discovered various other little tidbits of knowledge that might help others get the most out of that much-needed sabbatical.
This isn’t a time to stress! Vacations are a wonderful thing!!!
It’s just a matter of understanding a few basic principles that could turn a bad situation into a rewarding, enriching experience…
Leaving Time On The Table
Before we get started on my tips for getting the best relaxing vacation, I want to tell you about some surveys I recently looked at.
Quite frankly, the information shocked me!
Did you know that for the first time in our noted history, 55% of Americans did not use some or all of their vacation days? This is ludicrous…
You might as well just donate money to your boss!!! LOL.
To put things in perspective, in 2016 Americans lost $66.4 billion in benefits alone. WOWZERS
The trend is changing, however. People in the US recently have begun to use more of their paid time off. This information comes from a survey done by Wyndham Vacation Rentals.
In fact, they say it is the largest increase since around 2000, when vacation usage embarked on a rapid nosedive.
Why wouldn’t you use it?
The Center for Economic and Policy Research claims that 1 in 4 American workers don’t even get paid time off.
Those that do, and don’t utilize it, admit they can’t totally relax while on vacation anyway. They find themselves continually checking emails and work-related voicemails.
Well there you have it…vacation is supposed to be a period of regeneration for our body, mind, and spirit.
According to the Harvard Business Review, we cannot keep functioning at optimal levels without these intermittent breaks.
NPR also did a feature story titled “Overworked Americans Aren’t Taking The Vacation They’ve Earned.”
They went on to state that regularly disengaging from your normal routine can lower stress.
A little spontaneity definitely will spice up your life. But when it comes to vacations, you’d be better off-putting some thought into it.
Experts say the most effective solution for employees to use more of their paid time off is by improved planning.
Planners seem to be happier in all categories when compared to non-planners.
Poorly planned vacations lead to stressful ones, and this diminishes the positive rewards you were hoping to get from your time off.
There is a ton of information available to us in today’s cyberworld. So do start your research early!
If relaxation is your goal, look for places with as few distractions as possible. Some less popular destinations can be perfect for those looking to unwind.
You can also pick a date to visit just outside of peak seasonal times.
I live here in America, and I like to go to the shore before Memorial Day or right after Labor Day. It’s not as crowded, and the weather is still pretty nice to enjoy some quality beach time:)
Another great option for a relaxing vacation is to rent a cabin somewhere in the mountains.
The fresh air, sounds of nature, and the absence of crowds can really be invigorating!
And don’t forget, if planning is too stressful, you can always find an agency to help you…
How To Send Vacation Stressers Packing
Now we’re getting down to the nuts and bolts of relishing in a most relaxing vacation.
First, let’s identify what the top stress factors are when traveling. According to a survey:
- Too much money being spent- 61%
- That pesky packing- 49%
- Making sure your friends or family are properly entertained
- Locating the appropriate accommodations- 46%
Let’s take them one by one…
1)Money- For starters, everything always seems to cost more when on vacation. That’s why I often like to set up a loose budget guideline regarding my expenses.
I consider how much I would like to spend eating out, on entertainment and local activities, and finally how much to set aside for souvenirs.
Most hotels have a refrigerator and microwave in the rooms. You can stock up on quick little bites to hold you over in between meals. That way, you won’t be starving when you get to the restaurant…and order half the menu! LOL
Budgeting on vacation is not an exact science. But thankfully you can plan things out using the internet.
Search for eateries and menus in the area you’re heading to get an estimate on what they are charging.
Entertainment costs will be a little more tricky to judge, so you will just need to use a bit of discipline and common sense if you don’t want to drain your wallet…
2)Luggage- I hate packing for vacation! But it must be done My best advice is not to wait until the last minute. At the very least, get your stuff together a few days in advance.
Make sure you pack some comfortable clothes for hanging around the room, too. Some hotels might provide a laundry service or have one located nearby. Call the concierge of your destination and ask him/her about this issue.
You’d be surprised how much stress this one predicament can cause if not dealt with properly beforehand.
3)Universal Happiness- When traveling in a group or with family, it can be challenging satisfying everyone’s needs and desires. After all, we are each separate and unique in our own way…
Set some time aside before you leave to talk with everybody. Find out what they’re hoping to experience on this vacation, and once again, plan things out so that everyone is happy!
4)Where To Stay- I think I sort of covered this last stresser in my earlier comments. Start early, research different accommodations and what they offer, take notes, and don’t wait until the last minute to book:)
Sharing Is Not Always Caring
Almost half of all vacationers admitted that social media affected their trip in a negative way.
Okay, I know it’s an essential aspect of modern day life. Many people couldn’t function without their daily dose of Facebook Updates and Pinterest Pins.
But when you go away, the emphasis should be on total relaxation.
That means first, distancing yourself from any thoughts of work or your job, and slipping into a vacation-only mindset! Next…eliminate distractions!
Consider these statistics: 17% of people claimed they were annoyed by their travel companions overindulgence in social media(OMG Put your phone away already!!!).
…16% of vacationers said constantly trying to capture the most awesome pics to share on social media deterred from their overall enjoyment(I wonder how many LIKES this one will get!). LOL
So you see, if you really care about your own personal well-being and want the most out of life, wait until you get home to upload those photos.
Be present in the moment, utilize all of your senses when sightseeing, and don’t rush things. Take it easy, Mon!
Now it’s time for my #1 tip for a relaxing vacation.
About a year ago, I decided that I needed a break from the nagging stresses in my life. The pressure was really starting to get to me.
I sat down one night and began to think about taking a little fiesta.
It was late in the summer, though, and most of my friends already had their own plans mapped out.
So I said hmmmmm, maybe I should just go somewhere alone.
I researched an area of interest, a quaint spot at the shore about 3 hours away from me. I then looked at various accommodations, analyzed what I wanted to do and bring, and finally booked a room for week…just me, myself, and I!
Now this is not something I would suggest as a permanent arrangement. But there are many distinct benefits to a solo vacation, such as:
- You don’t have to worry about pleasing others, you can do whatever you want
- You can make new friends in other areas of the world
- It’s a great opportunity to get in touch with yourself, your own thoughts
- Expenses tend to be less when traveling alone
- Your self-confidence will certainly grow and expand
I had a great time!!! And I felt relaxed and more balanced for weeks afterwards…
One final bit of food for thought…
Elbert Hubbard said “No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one.”
You should have a pretty good idea by now of the implications that statement evokes.
But you should also be aware of the various ways anyone can have a relaxing vacation, and come home feeling like a million bucks!
Life moves faster and faster the older we get…you have to stop once in a while and look around, before it all just passes you by…