A year ago, my boyfriend and I took a vacation to West Palm Springs, Florida. I was so excited to let go and relax for a week: no work, no phone calls… just him, me, and the warmth of Florida in May.
As we planned the trip, we got about 20 different ideas of things to do and places to go. Since this was my first real vacation in about ten years (thank you, PTO!), I wanted to do it all.
Instead of accomplishing everything on the list, I found myself anxious, not able to even leave the condo. I couldn’t decide where to go, didn’t know if we had enough money to do everything on this trip, and was afraid of missing out. Peter had to sit me down, grasp my arms, and say, “Listen, we don’t have to do anything on this trip. We can just relax by the pool or go to the beach all day, for all I care. This is a vacation; you shouldn’t be stressing!”
And he was right. Why was I stressing about my relaxation time?! I calmed myself down and let go of any expectations I had for the trip. We crossed some things off of our activity list, but not all. We even spent the last day just lounging by the pool, sipping on mimosas and bloody marys! In turn, I had a much more relaxing time, and came home feeling rejuvenated.
Here are some ways to set your stress aside, be in the moment, and enjoy your well-deserved holiday:
1. Avoid an Itinerary
Jam-packing your trip with activities every moment of the day just ends up being stressful. Plan out a few places/activities you’d like to see/do, and let the rest just happen. You’ll feel less pressured to constantly be doing something, and your vacation will end up being much more rejuvenating.
2. Stay Off Social Media
Social media can be great for lots of things, but it doesn’t have a place on vacation. Posting a few pictures once in a while is fine, but really? You’re going to sit on the beach or on top of a mountain with your phone in your face? Take pictures throughout your trip and, when you get home, post them over time. That way, you’re not bombarding your followers with a flood of photos!
3. Budget, But Forgive Spending
Budgeting for a trip is important, especially when you have bills to pay and a tight budget to begin with. Things happen along the way, though, so don’t feel guilty about spending a little extra cash. Budget for necessities: food, gas/transporation, planned activities… whatever you’re definitely going to need or do on your trip. Allow room for spending over this base number–$100-200 is usually a safe amount. This will give you some flexibility and will help you prioritize activities.
4. Let Yourself Have Fun!
This sounds easy, but there are people (like me) who feel like they always need to be “productive.” It is so important to let yourself enjoy your time on your trip, as pointless it may seem. Guess what: it’s not pointless! You’re doing your body good by escaping your routine. You’re refreshing your mind, you’re learning new things. Give in to the fun. You won’t be disappointed.
5. Be in the Moment
As with staying off social media, practice mindfulness on your trip! You’re there for the experience, so actually experience it! Waking up earlier in the morning always helps me to stay mindful on my trips; it gives me time to think about the day ahead and set some intentions. These don’t have to be goals to accomplish: simply telling yourself to relax is a great intention! Some of my best memories were made on family vacations, and most of them don’t even include the planned activities we did. Being fully present with family, friends, or even yourself is what fosters long-lasting memories.
How have you made the best of your vacations? Comment with your tips below!