After months of stress, strain and endless work days, your vacation has finally arrived! It’s time to say good bye to worry and responsibility, and hello to self indulgence and unaccountability.
Or is it? If you don’t look after those pesky travel details, you could be asking for trouble.
It’s a classic dilemma faced by everyone who plans a trip. You’re taking a vacation to escape scheduling and structure. But “winging it” in an unfamiliar area can be costly, dangerous and – dare we say it – stressful.
It’s best to combine the two approaches. Determine in advance what you want to see and do, but don’t schedule yourself so fully that you’re exhausted by the end of the trip, or so rigidly that you’re unable to take advantage of the spontaneous opportunities every vacation brings.
When planning your itinerary, focus on the “pace” of your vacation. Create a list of the things you want to do, but don’t assign a specific time and date to each activity. Flexibility is the key to an enjoyable vacation, as is ample time devoted to pure relaxation. In short, plan your trip, but don’t over-plan it.
Another mistake many vacationers make is abandoning any semblance of a healthy lifestyle, which inevitably leads to illness, exhaustion and, yes, stress. When traveling – especially to distant destinations – be sure to:
- Get plenty of exercise and rest prior to your flight, while maintaining a nutritious diet. Plus, make sure you’re well hydrated.
- During travel:
- Drink plenty of water, while avoiding large meals, alcohol and caffeine
- Move around the cabin regularly to promote circulation in both the body and brain
- Wear comfortable clothing
- Sleep, if possible (especially on long international flights where jet lag is a concern)
- Upon arrival:
- Avoid critical decision-making in the first day
- Adapt to the local schedule immediately, eating meals and going to bed at the appropriate times
- Get as much sunlight as you can
- During your stay:
- Eat nutritiously, avoiding unsafe local foods and impure water
- Exercise regularly, and get plenty of rest
- Drink alcohol in moderation
With a little planning and a lot of common sense, a stress-free vacation is yours to enjoy.