As spring unfolds and summer is around the corner, many people are turning their thoughts to travel.
If you have ever returned from a trip feeling like you need a week to recuperate, you could probably benefit from simplifying your future getaways.
Here are 7 ways to help maximize the fun and minimize the stress of your next vacation.
1. Define Your Objective
Give some thought to the true purpose of your break. Is it quality time with your significant other? Making great family memories? A lively adventure? A chance to rest and recharge? When faced with choices about where to go and what to do, refer to your initial goal of the trip to guide your decisions.
2. Plan Ahead
This simple advice is easy to overlook. With travel and booking information only a few clicks away, preparing an itinerary can be tempting to put off. However, the more details you finalize ahead of time, the better rates you are more likely to secure. The process of researching your travel destination is just as important as the trip itself.
3. Budget Your Spending Goals
Vacations can quickly get out of hand. Begin your planning with a specific dollar amount in mind then work backward, subtracting the cost of airplane tickets, lodging, car rental, meals, etc. Mapping out your budget in advance will help plan for the things you most want to enjoy while preventing the stress of returning home to huge credit card bills.
4. Pack Ahead of Time
Packing is a chore that always seems to take longer than you think it will, so avoid waiting until the morning of your flight. Make a list of what you need to bring at least a week before departure. Spend several days making sure everything is clean, accessible and ready for your luggage. This gives you time to do laundry and pick up any last-minute items you may need. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of a detailed checklist – I use mine for every trip!
Some more useful packing tips include:
- Remember your device chargers
- Load your e-reader with books so you can bring multiple titles without filling an entire bag
- Buy sunscreen at home instead of paying outrageous prices at a theme park or on a cruise ship
- Bring a supply of one dollar bills for tipping along the way
- Pack healthy snacks for impatient children
- Prepare yourself for travel delays so you won’t be agitated if it comes to pass
5. Factor in Some Down Time
Many destinations offer various high energy activities. The constant action can make it easy to return home feeling exhausted. Remember you don’t have to see it all in one trip. The best vacations are a combination of exploration and relaxation, so plan to leave some time to allow yourself to sleep in, wander aimlessly, lounge in a café or read a book on the beach.
6. Get Back Early
It’s tempting to try to squeeze the most out of your break by coming home at the last possible minute. Rather than booking the last flight on the night before a workday, consider a day at home to unpack, unwind and catch your breath before re-entering your busy routine. Giving yourself a small break at the end of your vacation will give you a better chance of feeling well rested for your first day back to the office.
7. Expect a Few Bumps in the Road
Vacations are full of anticipation and preparation. They reflect an investment of both money and precious time off. After all of the planning and heightened expectations, it’s easy to set the bar very high for the trip and become disappointed when things go awry. Instead of focusing on living up to an unrealistic ideal, do your best to keep a sense of humor. Some of the best memories come from unanticipated experiences.
You may also like Travel Etiquette: 9 Essential Tips For Packing Smart. For more of Diane’s etiquette tips read her posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on The Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Order Diane’s forthcoming book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life here.