Don’t Stress About Your Vacation: How to Use Your Vacation to Relieve Stress

Are you one of those people who stress about planning a vacation that is supposed to help you relax? Well, worry no more! Here are some tips that will help you find out how to plan that vacation, enjoy it, and come back rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.

Plan ahead.

Start by looking up information well in advance about where you want to go and what you want to do, to determine the best times and dates for the activities you want to do. Early planning can allow for better prices for airfare or other means of travel. Are you going on a cruise? Touring another country? The earlier you plan major trips, the more likely it is that you can get discounts.

Planning ahead also allows for alternate routes or travel arrangements, should things go awry. The more you can organize your travel details in advance, the more prepared you will be for possible delays and transportation problems. This leads us to…

Start early.

Be ready to depart for your vacation the day before. By packing early, you leave yourself time to think about what you’re forgetting, as well as to leave in time for hitting traffic. You also want to get enough sleep before you leave so you’re not worn out at the beginning of your vacation.

Be prepared.

Plan your work schedule so that your vacation is truly time off. If you are expected to check in via email or other formats, coordinate it with your vacation schedule so that you can do it during some downtime. Know how much your boss expects of you and negotiate for as least interrupting to your vacation plans as possible; this is your vacation, after all. Don’t feel guilty about checking your email, but don’t feel guilty about being on vacation either.

You also want to prepare for the unexpected. If you’ve thought about what might go wrong on your trip (missed connections, getting sick, bad weather, etc.) then you’ll be better prepared when something does. Put all travel confirmations on your phone and have paper backups. Read TSA requirements for your travel method and destination so you know what you can/can’t take with you. This leads us to…

Pack extras.

If you take medications, be sure to pack extra and keep it with you. If you wear glasses, bring an extra pair. Pack a spare battery/memory card/charger for your phone, camera, etc. Pack for changes in weather and unexpected outings (hat, sunscreen, loose clothing, etc.). If you are a light sleeper, bring eyeshades and earplugs so that you can sleep in any setting. Leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs.

Leave room for the unexpected.

The most stressful thing about travel is when things don’t go as planned. Expect some wrinkles in your trip and you’ll be ready to go with the flow. Think of it as part of the journey. You’re taking vacation to relax, so don’t let the unexpected throw you off balance. Part of the experience is putting yourself into new settings and learning new things, meeting new people. These enable you to get out of your daily routine and build connections to new ideas and perspectives. This is good for you mentally and physically, as you walk around and get fresh air, taking in new sights, sounds, and smells. Be open to all the travel experience can bring.

Plan for down times so that you can explore your surroundings without constraint. Wander the local area and take in the sights; enjoy the food and people watching. Immersing yourself in a different culture allows you to form social connections with your fellow travelers and locals at your destination. As you see how others go about their daily lives, which may be even more stressful than your own, you rethink your problems and your place in the world. You figure out new ways to deal with your old stressors. You see yourself in relation to the larger world, and this new perspective can be joyful.

Before you go…

Prepare your home for your trip. Ensure the security of your home. Have a friend or neighbor stop by regularly to check on your place. Stop mail and newspaper deliveries. Make sure your friend has contact information for emergencies. Put lights on random timers and leave music playing. Leave your curtains as you normally would and don’t post about your trip on social media until you’ve returned.

Your vacation should be a time for rejuvenation, whether you’re relaxing on a beach or repelling down a mountain. With these tips, you can help ensure that you leave your stress at home.

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