Have you ever come back from a vacation and felt like you needed another vacation?
This is pretty common when you’ve packed in a lot of stuff in one trip. For many of us, a vacation seems like the perfect time to do as much as possible. Unfortunately, this is approach to a vacation can mean a lot more stress and a lot less relaxation.
If you aren’t going to relax and have a good time, what’s the point in going?
Plan fewer activities.
When I was growing up, there were times that the vacation was just a rushed and stressful mess. We ran from activity to activity site to site without really experiencing anything. My favorite vacations were those that doesn’t involve quite as many activities.
When you have a chance to slow down and experience life you are far more likely to enjoy what you are doing, even if you do a little bit less of it.
Don’t forget: you can always come back again.
Even if you don’t, you’ll still make better memories if you truly experience a small part of something rather than getting a superficial view of lots of things.
As you plan your vacation, figure out which activities are most important, and which site you want to see more than the rest. Focus on the most important activities and don’t worry about cramming everything in. You can move slower I feel like you’re on a real vacation.
Take your time.
If you plan a real vacation with fewer activities, you will have time to slow it down. This can help you relax more and feel like you really are on vacation.
This effect can be enhanced if you plan longer vacations. When you have the time to take more than a day or two, you can enjoy yourself more. I am looking forward to my summer vacation because we will take six or seven weeks to move slow. For a good portion of that time, we will have a home base in the Philadelphia area.
Having a large chunk of time and a home base can help you move slowly and relax more. This works best if you are location independent with your work or if you have the ability to bank vacation days with your job.
Choose shorter trips.
Another way to plan a real vacation is to make it shorter. This can’t be a weekend getaway that doesn’t take you very far. When you choose a shorter trip, it should be more about seen one thing or just relaxing in a new place.
One of the things I like to do is go camping. I pick a place within four hours so that I only spend a half day of travel each way. Then it’s usually possible to spend two whole days in the woods. It’s very relaxing and I feel refreshed when I get home — especially after I take a shower.
There’s nothing like having to put it away a ton of stuff to ruin the end of your vacation. That’s why I like to travel light. I have one medium-sized suitcase and that’s it. If I will be gone longer than a week, I plan to do laundry. I don’t get bogged down in packing a lot of outfits or shoes or makeup. I don’t even bring a carry-on beyond the backpack hold my laptop and other tech gear.
The fewer things you bring with you, the less you have to worry while you travel and the less you have to put away when you get home.
Traveling light can also apply to souvenirs. My son and I have a tradition of getting one magnet for each place we visit. This allows us a nice, cheap memento that doesn’t take up space. Plus, we know exactly where to put it in when we get home — on the fridge.
Plan time to relax.
As you plan a real vacation, don’t forget to schedule time to relax. Keep your schedule clear enough that you can sleep in, just to sit in the hot tub, or read on the balcony. Plan a spa day. Take a long dinner. Sometimes, I like to cancel a plan so that I can keep doing something I enjoy.
Don’t plan out every minute of every day. Leave room for spontaneity or just to discover something new. You’ll be glad that you didn’t still every single second with some sort of planned activity.
If you don’t time to relax while on vacation, you’ll come home and feel like you didn’t get a vacation at all.
Put the camera away.
Finally, as you plan a real vacation, consider putting the phone away. Yes, your phone is probably your camera, but if you send all of your time trying to get the perfect shot for Facebook, you’re not really enjoying the moment.
Leave the selfie stick home. Take a couple pictures of what you see and a couple pictures of you and your loved ones. All you really need are a few pictures to trigger your good memories. You don’t need a ton of pictures to try and impress your Instagram followers.
Once you learn how to plan a real vacation, you’ll get the most out of wherever you go.