Is the daily grind, well, grinding you down? It may be time to take a vacation! However, planning, packing and traveling can sometimes be stressful, and you don’t want to let that get in the way of some much-needed R and R.
Whether you’re planning a road trip or taking to the skies, and no matter the time of year, the following tips can help put you in vacation mode while taking the stress out of the equation:
1. Plan ahead. There are some things that can be done way ahead of your trip, like making reservations, taking the car for a tune-up and letting neighbors know you’ll be away. The more time you give yourself, the less likely you are to get overwhelmed with last-minute tasks. Even packing can be done earlier than most people think. For instance, getting your bag ready on Tuesday for your weekend at the lake will be less stressful than packing it on Friday, with your family in the car honking the horn.
2. Delegate. Scrambling around to get everything ready for your trip? Dole out tasks to lighten your load. Tell your kids to clean out the car before piling in for that road trip or ride to the airport. Ask your teenager to look up good restaurants in the area you’re staying. Have your husband or wife contact the kennel to make reservations for your four-legged friend.
3. Unplug—everything. Leave your laptop at home and your smartphone in your pocket or purse. Designate 20 minutes a day for catching up with work-related emails only if necessary. We’re so focused on technology these days that we forget what it’s like to be away from it. After a few hours of connecting with your family, friends or nature, you’ll feel liberated and care-free.
4. Do nothing. Pencil in some time to do nothing. Whether this is two days on your weeklong vacation, or an afternoon during a long weekend, section off a block of time when you have nothing planned. This will allow you to plan your activities based on how you feel at that moment—a true luxury in this fast-paced world.
5. Smile. This may seem like a given, but we often get hung up on the small stuff–even while on vacation. Don’t get upset if a friend bails last minute, or your hotel room is smaller than it seemed in the picture, or you forgot to pack your kid’s bathing suit. When you look back on your trip, these inconveniences will be forgotten, so don’t let them ruin your time in the moment.
When planning your next getaway, remember these tips. After all, you work hard and deserve a stress-free vacation.