The time you spend on vacation is extremely precious. It’s quality time to spend with others, pamper yourself, experience new things and explore unknown places.
You go on holiday to unwind in one way or another, and most times, you don’t get nearly enough of it.
So knowing how to glean and savor each moment on vacation while exploring is an extremely useful skill to have.
Below are eight strategies you can use to prepare for your next holiday:
1. Enjoy the planning and the anticipation it creates.
A study from 2010 found that most people experienced an increase in happiness levels during the planning process of their vacation, but saw a decrease shortly after returning, concluding that perhaps the anticipation built before going on the trip was actually more effective at boosting your happiness levels.
Make the most of this time period by planning your trips far enough in advance to savor each upcoming activity. Not only will you create and cultivate and excitement for yourself and the rest of your companions, but you’ll also feel less stressed having a clear idea of what to expect.
2. Don’t over-extend yourself.
Now just because you’ve had plenty of time to book some really cool activities, that doesn’t mean you need to overbook yourself with so many excursions and tours that you wind up more exhausted at the end of your trip than when you left. One of the keys to making sure you get to see a lot and relax is balancing your schedule.
Try one day of active travel or tours followed by a day of rest and relaxation. This way you’ll be able to make the most of your holiday without using all your energy and still get to read that best-seller that has been on your nightstand for months.
3. Prepare for while you’re away too.
Another way to take the pressure off of you while you’re on holiday is to make sure that you take care of the things back home. Make sure your bills are set to paid while you’re away, the post office holds your mail, you’ve arranged for your pet-care, etc. There are great checklists out there to help you cover all the bases.
Also, make sure you have a budget and stick to it. This is where planning comes in handy, so you can anticipate both the big purchases you’ll make, as well as where you might be able to save on large expenses. If you’re really financially savvy, you can even look into making money while you’re away by putting your car to work and turning it into a rental car. Since these rental car services have become so popular to help you out by transporting you after a night out or when you don’t feel like making the commute, while not give it a shot while you are on vacation and put yourself in the driver’s seat! You will also be able to make a little extra cash to spend on those adventures you have been dying to take on.
4. Step away from the work emails.
It’s true that keeping on top of things at work – and even trying to get ahead – should theoretically de-stress you during your vacation. But, it’s a fine line you have to balance. Over working yourself prior to your time off could leave you exhausted before you’ve even left. Not working enough will leave you constantly checking your emails during your vacation.
Your best bet is to be productive up until your time off, prioritizing the most important projects and preparing your colleagues for your absence. Make sure you’ve crafted your out-of-office message, and stick to it. Finally, practice mindfulness as you approach your departure to help you prepare and maintain being ‘present’ during vacation, leaving work at work.
5. Document, but don’t stay glued to your camera.
It’s obvious that you want to take loads of pictures so you can look back on your amazing vacation. But, remember too, that it’s important to stop and just take it all in. Nothing can capture a sensation, so experience that sunset without your iPhone. Got to a concert without keeping your GoPro on the entire time.
Try taking one or two good shots either before or after. Then you’ll have the memory with you, but you won’t miss out on the moment – the conversation, emotions and sensations. Those will be yours to keep, and most likely your photo will help bring those back to you.
6. Put together a vacation playlist.
One of the most powerful emotion elicitors is music. By making a vacation playlist, anytime you need a pick me up at work or just want to be transported to that time and place again, all you’ll have to do is hit play. It’ll be an automatic happiness boost that is nearly effortless, and the impact will rarely fade.
7. Make sure you choose a vacation you actually want to be on.
Don’t be pressured by friends or family members to vacation somewhere you have no interest in going, or doing an activity that doesn’t appeal to you. For example, maybe your significant other has this great desire to go shark diving, while you’d rather go geo-caching. Speak up and tell the truth. It’s possible you’ll come to a compromise, or can split up for the day.
If it seems like things are getting really difficult to decide, have everyone make a list of dos and don’ts for places and activities. Knowing everyone likes and dislikes will allow you to plan a trip that is fun for everyone.
8. Turn off the social media.
This particular one may be super difficult for some people and easy for others. It’s important, though, that we take time to connect with the people who have chosen to spend their free time with us. Use these moments wisely and get to know each other in an environment free from the stresses of work and life.
Don’t worry if you want to share some of your holiday experience, just make it a rule to limit yourself to one post a day. Then you can ‘stay connected’ but still remain present in the incredible moments you’re spending with your loved ones.
Getting the most out of your vacation isn’t difficult to do.
Just keep these 8 tips in mind and start planning!