Sitting at your desk surrounded by office politics and a never-ending barrage of emails can make the concept of a bad vacation seem silly. Still, realistically, we have all had them, whether the weather didn’t cooperate, you traveled with incompatible company, or you got home realizing that you needed another week to recover. Whatever the case, a bad vacation is a reality that can easily be avoided with a bit of foresight and planning.
All too many people go on vacation with the mindset that it can’t go bad. Well it can, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it. Here’s to making every vacation your best vacation. So get planning, and don’t forget the sunblock.
1. Know yourself and how you vacation
The stereotype of a vacation is warm sun, cold drinks and blue water. And while this is indeed the ideal vacation for some of us, it isn’t for everyone. Know yourself well enough to know what will satisfy you. Do you need to see the sights? Take in history? Eat the best food and wash it down with unique cocktails?
A week of museums is a dream to some people, while others enjoy umbrella drinks under a palm tree. Some people enjoy staying local and enjoying their own hometown, while others want to jet set to foreign lands. Recognizing that someone else’s perfect vacation doesn’t have to be your perfect vacation will let you choose the vacation for you.
2. Plan key details and must sees ahead of time
Before you travel to your vacation destination, if you have any must sees or things that you have to do, make it a priority. Make sure that you know what you need to know ahead of time such the hours of operation, how to get there, any vital details that will prepare you. That way, you won’t have to spend any of your precious and limited vacation time figuring these details out, while ensuring that they actually happen.
These are the things that you’ll wish you saw if you don’t manage to. So make time for them, and don’t let them slip to the back burner. You’ll be glad you made them happen. If you have it planned before you go, it will be much easier to make your wish list a reality.
3. Travel with like minded individuals
If you aren’t traveling solo, it is wise to try to travel with companions who either have similar interests as you, or someone who will help you enjoy your trip to its fullest. If one of you wants to spend the trip shopping and the other wants to spend it hiking, one of you will spend your trip miserable if you aren’t able to compromise.
Traveling is best with the person or people who enjoy vacationing the same way you do. And even if you don’t all vacation the same way, then know that you can go split up for the day and meet up for mutual interests.
4. Don’t get hung up on tourist traps and souvenirs
It’s easy to lose the purpose of a vacation if you’re standing in line for hours surrounded by other sweaty tourists to see the world’s largest rocking chair or yarn ball or whatever the attraction is. And often times by the time you get to the end of the line, or fork out exorbitant amounts of money, you get to an attraction and wonder if it was actually worth it.
Sometimes, the best vacation experiences are the ones that aren’t in the local guidebooks. Talking to locals and looking outside the box might save you a lot of aggravation and help you to stumble upon hidden gems that give you memories that last a lifetime. Make your souvenirs your experiences rather than a magnet with your name on it.
5. Experience your trip through your own eyes
Vacation time is for you. It’s not for the social media likes, or the three hours worth of shaky footage that you will watch once and never view again. It’s for your own personal experience and memories. So try not to get so wrapped up in capturing the best photo that you end up missing out on having the actual experience. Because really, most people are just appeasing you when you share your slideshows and albums of your trip.
Pictures are fine to take, but make the experience your first priority, and capturing photos of it your second priority.
6. Have a backup plan in place
Sometimes your hotel room may be a dump. Maybe your rental car breaks down or your flight gets cancelled. Whatever the case, there are sometimes situations out of your control. But just because they are out of your control, doesn’t mean you can’t have a backup plan for how to deal with such situations. Have the tools available to make the best of these bad situations.
Familiarize yourself with other hotels, make sure you have roadside assistance options, and don’t let something out of your control ruin your trip. Make the best of what you can with what you have. It’s easier said than done, but it’s worth it to try to make lemonade out of lemons. And worse case scenario, spike the lemonade and it will make everything seem better anyway.
7. Remember why you’re on vacation
When push comes to shove, and things aren’t going according to plan, it’s time to remember why you’re on vacation. It may be to escape your mundane life, or to visit a new place, or to clear your mind of the stresses of the workplace. As long as you’re doing whatever it is you set out to do, is your vacation really that bad? It’s a vacation. You’re in a new place, or a place that you loved so much that you had to return.
Vacation is about giving yourself time to discover new experiences, to relax, to visit places. It is whatever it is you do to leave the real world behind for a few days or weeks. So, go on and enjoy!
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