One of the best ways to end the year and give yourself a much-needed break from months’ worth of stress is to take a trip. But if your holiday excursion winds up busting your budget, requiring too much in-trip travel, or leaving you worried about the state of affairs at home, it’s not really a vacation. It’s just added stress. Here are some tips for making your holiday getaway truly restorative.
Don’t overextend yourself financially
No matter how cool the destination is or how many awesome things you get to do while you’re away, you will always be stressed if the cost of all your fun breaks the bank. Maybe the best way to reduce vacation stress is to make sure you can really afford it.
You can save money on your vacation by planning ahead and knowing the right times to buy plane tickets. Stay in Airbnbs instead of fancy, expensive hotels. Limit yourself to a few nights of fine dining, and eat street food most of the time. Research free or low-cost activities so you’ll always have something to do that doesn’t cost a fortune. Here are some more money-saving tips.
Try not to overbook yourself
One sure way to make a vacation stressful is to try to do too much. For example, trying to squeeze multiple destinations into a weeklong venture is a recipe for disaster. You should schedule enough adventure to stay occupied but not so much that you need a vacation from your vacation. A stress-free getaway is supposed to be relaxing — don’t sabotage that by cramming in too much. Conde Nast Traveler suggests leaving some of your vacation days completely open when planning an itinerary. Unplanned days are often the best days.
Don’t work unless you want to
Does this sound paradoxical? Allow me to explain.
You should most certainly not focus on work during your vacation. True rejuvenation from a year’s worth of work stress must include some time away from work. You didn’t fly across the world or drive across the country to check emails.
On the other hand, falling way behind at work can be a huge stressor in its own right. If it makes you feel better to do a few minutes of work here and there, do it. The main thing is to listen to what you want to be doing, not what you think you need to be doing. As The Huffington Post says, don’t make yourself too reachable!
Stay off Facebook as much as possible
Many of us worry about our homes while we are on vacation. It’s only natural to imagine the worst, like a fire breaking out or a burglar rummaging through your belongings while you’re thousands of miles away.
One way to set your mind at ease is to go off the grid, so to speak. You don’t have to post every stage of your vacation to Facebook or Instagram. Burglars also use social media, so letting them know that you’re in Mexico is an invitation that says “OPEN HOUSE.” If you can, wait until you get home to post your beach pics.
Taking a vacation is a wonderful idea, but you must avoid the pitfalls that lead to a stress-filled trip. In the end, follow your heart. You know what’s going to make you happy. If money is a stressor, travel cheaply. If the transportation part of travel stresses you out, go to one destination and stay there. Plan your trip around that, and you’ll be fine.
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