It’s the time that you’ve been waiting for all year long. You have an uninterrupted two weeks away from work. While it should be a time of non-stop relaxation, the idea of your vacation is already beginning to stress you out. You wonder if you’ll return from your trip more frustrated and agitated than when you left.
At this point, you’re stressed out about the cost of the trip…whether your plane will arrive in time for you to take your cruise…if you’ll have enough clothes for your journey…how to keep your children in line during the trip…and whether you will actually enjoy yourself. Instead of being a soothing trip away from it all, your vacation is quickly becoming a major stress event.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can enjoy a vacation that carries with it a minimum amount of stress. However, it will not happen without some concerted effort on your part. In essence, you must work to have fun—and the sooner you realize that, the less stress you’ll encounter.
A relatively stress-free vacation requires a great deal of advanced planning. To begin with, you should develop a budget for your vacation, based upon how much money you’ve saved. Resist the temptation to charge it all on your credit card. Otherwise, you’ll have to endure a great deal of financial stress once you return from your trip. Once you’ve established a budget, be sure to stick to it. Overspending will simply exacerbate your stress.
Next, you should seriously consider booking your vacation through a travel agent. The agent can do a great deal of the planning for you. An experienced agent will also know the pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. He or she is in the business of making vacationers happy, so the agent will have extra incentive to make sure that your vacation goes well.
As you plan your trip with your travel agent, there are some key questions you should ask yourself. For instance, would you enjoy an adventure-related vacation, such as riding the rapids or going to a dude ranch? Or are you more interested in shopping and sightseeing? Is your idea of a relaxing time a flight through the clouds or a cruise along the waves? The more information your agent has about your personal preferences, the better able he or she will be to plan a vacation that’s relaxing for you.
Determine in advance exactly how much time you’ll need off in order to ensure that your vacation is a success. If you allot too little time, you could find yourself begging your boss for additional time as your vacation comes to an end, causing both you (and your boss) additional stress. Also, don’t allot so much time that you’ll become restless. You’ll want a vacation that gives you a respite from your daily duties, but that does not leave you feeling completely out of touch.
Be sure to find out from the travel agent just what kind of weather you’re likely to encounter on your trip. One of the most stressful aspects of a vacation can be finding that you are unprepared for the weather. Find out exactly what kind of temperatures you can expect, whether there is likely to be wind, and how likely it is that it will rain. In this way, you can prepare yourself for the type of conditions you’re likely to encounter.
Be generous with your packing—but not overly generous. In other words, make sure that you pack everything you’re likely to need, but don’t pack non-essentials. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough clothes to last your entire journey, since it might be hard for you to find laundry facilities along the way. But you don’t want to be so weighted down that you can’t move your suitcase. Also, be sure to leave room in your suitcase for the souvenirs you’ll want to buy for your friends and family members.
A vacation should be the most relaxing event of the year. That’s why it’s important that you try to make it as stress-free as possible. By maintaining a sensible budget, doing some extensive planning, and asking for help if you need it, you should be in a position to reduce your stress level considerably. Bon voyage!