You work hard all year long, collecting that treasured vacation time, and when the time comes to take those hard-earned days, most of us tend to play hard too. We play so hard and pack our days so full, in fact, that many people return from their trips and declare that they need a vacation to recover from their vacation.
With so little time to travel, it makes sense that we want to go, go, go and do, do, do all day, every day when we finally get a vacation. But it’s okay to kick back and do a whole lot of nothing as well. If you find yourself wound up, stressed out or tired when you travel, perhaps it’s time to embrace a little rejuvenation instead of tackling another hardcore activity.
Here’s how to make it happen:
1. Unplug from the outside world.
Leave your laptop at home, put your smartphone away for the duration of your trip and do not, under any circumstances, check in on Facebook. Plan ahead on any work-related items and then just let it go. Despite what you might think, the world will not end if you don’t update your social media status or log in to your email. The goal of vacation is to escape all the outside stresses, so just don’t bring them with you.
2. Sleep in.
Leave the alarm off, draw the drapes before you tuck in for the night and enjoy the luxury of waking up when your body tells you it’s time. For an added bonus, order room service if you are able and enjoy breakfast in bed.
3. Stay in one place (or minimize moving).
One of the more stressful components involved with traveling is the actual act of travel. Getting to your destination is hard enough, so once you’re there, you might as well stick around for a bit instead of packing, repacking and moving around. Not only will you be able to “move in” and get comfortable with your surroundings for a few days, but you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying yourself and not worrying about the additional detail of transport.
4. Choose a destination you know you love.
There are two benefits of choosing a place you know you already like: First, you don’t have to exert any energy getting to know somewhere new. You’ve had a routine in this particular place before, so you can just pick up from where you left off without dealing with the logistical issues that come with discovering a new locale. Second, you know that the place is somewhere you’ll be comfortable. Nothing ruins a vacation quicker than realizing the destination was a bad choice.
5. Eat long, leisurely meals.
Instead of slamming down three meals every day, make them last. Take a newspaper to breakfast and nurse a good cup of coffee. Over dinner, take the time to taste what’s on your plate—and the conversation you’re having with your table mate. Sit for so long that dessert comes a full hour after your dinner.
6. Don’t get caught up in a schedule.
As tempting as it may be to pack your day with excursions or new activities, avoid planning too far ahead. Instead, take each day as it comes along, with only the occasional pre-planning to book tours, spa treatments or dinner reservations. You may find that, even though you think you want to do something, you’d actually prefer to kick back with a good book or just relax on a veranda looking out over the mountains.
If you’re trying to save money, it is incredibly tempting to book a hostel room, grab street food on the go and pass up somewhere you’d be more comfortable in order to save a few bucks. Though you should definitely consider the cost of traveling, don’t be a slave to your wallet. Plan ahead that you’re going to spend a bit of cash to have a relaxing trip so you won’t feel guilty when you hand over the money in exchange for peace of mind.