Let’s face it, it can be easy to overdo it when you’re traveling. It’s natural to want to pack as much into your trip as possible, especially if you’re visiting a destination that you’ve been wanting to see for a long time. And on a related note, air travel isn’t getting any more comfortable. In fact, things seem to be headed in the opposite direction, with long lines and packed flights the norm instead of the exception.
Does that mean you have to resign yourself to being uncomfortable and stressed out while you travel? Fortunately, the answer is now. Here are 10 tips to make your travel relaxing and refreshing.
#1: Let go of perfect
The first thing to do is to let go of the idea that your vacation will be perfect. Will things go wrong? Probably! You’ll forget your tooth brush or miss a flight – and no matter what, it won’t be the end of the world. Vacation is supposed to be fun, so don’t pack stress ahead of time. Good is good enough – you don’t have to be perfect.
#2: Don’t over schedule
You want to do as much as possible, but the purpose of a vacation is to have fun and relax, not to run yourself into the ground. Instead of trying to schedule every single thing, come up with a simple system to rate the things you want to do. If you’re going to London and the Tower of London is a 10 but the British Museum is only a 5 – it’s fine to skip the museum. Nobody’s keeping score but you, so focus on the things that will bring you the most joy and let the rest go.
#3: Try to get rest beforehand
If you run yourself ragged before you leave on vacation, you may spend your trip being exhausted and disgruntled. Do your best to stick to a regular sleep schedule in the week or so before your trip. You might even try to get to bed a little early if you can. The more rested you are, the better able you will be to enjoy yourself once you get to your destination.
#4: Schedule transition time
If you’re getting out of work at 5 pm on Friday, you don’t have to leave for your trip at 6 am on Saturday. Give yourself a bit of time to finish your preparations without stress – and do the same for your return trip. If you fly in at 8 pm on Sunday, you probably won’t be home until after 10. Who wants to go to work less than 12 hours after finishing a vacation? Fly home a little bit earlier to give yourself time to unpack and settle in before you have to get back to work.
#5: Plan some alone time
If you’re traveling alone this won’t be an issue, but if you’re with a group it’s a good idea to schedule some time by yourself. You don’t have to do everything together to have a good time. Even if all you do is go for a walk or grab a cup of coffee, the little bit of time you have to yourself will recharge and refresh you.
#6: Give yourself a break from the alarm clock
If you can, try to give yourself permission to get in touch with your natural rhythm of sleeping and waking while you’re away. Each of us is different but you’ll feel far more refreshed at the end of your vacation if you let yourself rest without stressing out about it. Of course, you might need to set an alarm if you’re planning on catching an early train to Versailles or something, but don’t do it unless you absolutely have to.
#7: Pick a relaxing destination
For some people, traveling to Paris or Rome and walking around all day seeing the sights is relaxing. For others, only a tropical beach and a fruity drink will do. Pay attention to what you want and need and if you can, plan your trip accordingly. The goal of a vacation is to take you away from the daily grind, so if staying in a big city feels too much like real life – pick something else to do on your vacation.
#8: Take 10 days instead of a week
The problem with taking only a week for vacation is that just about the time you start to really relax is the time when you have to start thinking about heading home. If you can do it, a slightly longer vacation will allow you to truly relax in a meaningful way. It’s not possible for everybody, but if you save up your vacation time you might be able to make it happen – and achieve a far greater level of relaxation than would be possible in a shorter time.
#9: Pamper yourself
Even if you’re in a strange city, you can find time to pamper yourself. Schedule a massage at the hotel spa, get your nails done, or go to a local bar and watch a game while you have a drink. You don’t have to spend your whole trip doing things like this, but just a little bit of pampering can go a long way when it comes to fostering relaxation.
#10: Be flexible
The final thing you can do to make your trip relaxing is to be flexible. If you planned on a busy day but find that you really just want to take it easy and hang out at the hotel pool – do it. You’re not hurting anybody if you do. Rather, you’re paying attention to your body and mind and giving yourself what you need to feel good.
A vacation should be truly relaxing – an opportunity to refresh yourself, body and soul. These 10 simple tips will ensure that you return from your trip in as stress-free and relaxed a state as possible.
Bio – This guest post is a contribution of Simon Hopes on behalf of Insanely Cheap Flights.