Going on a vacation is a great way to relax, unwind, and forget about the stress of everyday life for a while. It can boost your mood and creativity, and the hope is that you’ll return home with more energy and a positive attitude, ready to face anything and feel refreshed while traveling.
Unfortunately, traveling can sometimes have the opposite effects.
One survey found that 89% of people believe traveling is enjoyable but also stressful and difficult to plan. Most people want to be able to enjoy some time away, but there’s often so much that goes into the experience that it can be hard to fully “let go” and relax. So, you come home feeling like you need a vacation after your vacation.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Let go of those vacation memories with poor sleep, stressful memories, and cuisine you’d rather forget. If you want to feel refreshed and gain the most from your next travel experience, we’ve got you covered with three helpful tips.
1. Plan Ahead
There’s something to be said for not having an itinerary on your travels. The idea of going with the flow and not necessarily having a daily schedule can be freeing.
But, it can also be extremely stressful.
Instead of hopping on a plane tomorrow because you’re trying to be spontaneous and fun, hit the “pause” button. If you truly want a refreshing vacation experience, take time to put in the work now.
Ideally, you should spend at least a few weeks planning your upcoming trip. If it’s a major vacation, however, it could take several months to get the details ironed out. It all depends on factors like:
- Where you’re going
- How long you want to stay
- Your goals for the trip
- Unique circumstances
The more you plan ahead, the less likely it is for anything to catch you off guard when you start to travel. Your plan should include everything from a budget for the trip to a basic outline of what you want to do. You don’t have to have every second of your days planned out. But, if certain things are important to do/see, prioritize them.
Additionally, consider a vacation close to home. The actual “traveling” part of a trip is usually the most stressful. If you don’t have a lot of time to plan something and you want to soak up as much relaxation as possible, choose a destination you can get to and enjoy relatively quickly.
2. Practice Self-Care
Isn’t the whole point of a vacation to relax and take care of yourself? It should be, but that idea tends to fall away in favor of tourist traps, sightseeing, and chain restaurants.
Self-care is important all of the time. But, when you’re traveling, it’s even more crucial if you want to de-stress and come home feeling refreshed. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to make it a priority when you’re away from home. Some of the best things you can do for yourself while on vacation include:
- Eating properly
- Staying hydrated
- Staying active each day
- Getting enough sleep
It’s easy to want to throw caution to the wind while you’re on vacation, but that can end up doing more harm than good. What you eat and drink should help you to feel refreshed not bogged down. While it’s not going to hurt to indulge in some local delicacies once or twice, taking care of your mind and body should be more important – they’ll thank you later. Eating poorly can lead to bloating, or symptoms of GERD like heartburn and regurgitation. That doesn’t exactly make for a fun trip.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking a vacation is automatically a self-care practice. Sometimes a vacation can reduce stress while other times it doesn’t. It’s what you do while you’re away that will really make a difference.
3. Do the Things You Enjoy
There are no rules set in stone when you’re on a vacation. You don’t have to go to Disney World just because you’re in Florida. In fact, staying away from “tourist traps” might be the best thing you can do to prevent feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
Traveling can be great for your mental health when you allow yourself to do the things you actually want to do. Now is the time to pull out your “bucket list” and actively contribute to your own happiness. When you do, you’ll be able to enjoy those mental health benefits even more. It can boost your mood and creativity, increase your self-confidence, and even improve your overall outlook on life. These things are what cause you to feel refreshed while traveling.
What you want to do on a trip doesn’t have to be what everyone else enjoys. If your idea of relaxation includes visiting local markets and eating unique cuisine, do it! If it includes laying on the beach with your favorite book, go for it. Remember, this is your vacation, even if you’re traveling with friends or family. Make time for yourself each day.
If you’re thinking about traveling any time soon, keep these ideas in mind. The goal is to feel refreshed while traveling and come home feeling better than when you left, and that’s absolutely possible. With a bit of planning and making self-care a priority, you can make the most of every vacation from now on.