As many of us are embarking on weekend getaways and longer-term vacations, it is important that the time away from home is life-giving and not overly stressful. Yes, there are details that must be considered, logistics to sort out, and unforeseen challenges that complicate our plans, but by being intentional about the experience, we set ourselves up for a more enjoyable trip.
As you’re preparing for the vacation, take some time to envision your goals for the excursion. Are you hoping to meet up with people who live in the area? Do you want to eat your meals out, cook them, or a combination? Think about how many activities you want to do each day--typically scheduling fewer planned events will leave you downtime to recharge and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Reduce Screen Time
We often go on vacation as a way to get out of our routine lives, and spending too much time on our phones or social media can get in the way of being present to the vacation experience. Try not to give into the phone and instead get active, go exploring, read, journal, or play a game.
Have No Plans
By overplanning, we may think we have the perfect itinerary. When things don’t go as smoothly as we’d hoped, or something unexpected happens, though, we can feel disappointed. Instead of feeling tied to plans, try to spontaneously experience each day, moment to moment. When you wake up, listen to your inner voice about what sounds most inspiring. Are you excited by a local market, museum, or activity? Maybe you want to stay inside and cozy up with a book. If trying new foods or restaurants speaks to you, wander around the neighborhood until you find a place that looks good. By having no specific plans, you can immerse yourself in the area you’re visiting and find hidden gems that weren’t originally on your itinerary.
Be Thoughtful about Work
Sometimes it’s impossible to take a true vacation from work, so finding a balance of accomplishing your responsibilities and also prioritizing the vacation is important. Prior to the trip, set boundaries about communication with co-workers. Set a plan for yourself that includes how often you’ll check your email, how available you will be to troubleshoot, and which dates/times you’ll be unavailable.
Consider a Staycation
We can experience the benefits of vacation in our own backyards! Think of embodying a vacation mindset and explore a nearby neighborhood, try a new restaurant, or participate in a cool event, all the while staying curious about the experience and present to the current moment.
Finally, one of the best things we can do for ourselves while on vacation is to practice being mindful. Here’s a brief video that gives us 3 tips for being mindful during vacation:
Forbes. How to take a stress-free vacation from your stressful job. Retrieved from
Gelles, D. (2017). How to Be Mindful on Vacation. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/21/well/mind/how-to-be-mindful-on-vacation.html
Goldstein, E. (2018). Tips for Bringing Mindfulness to Your Next Vacation. Retrieved from
Real Simple. (2019). Internalize These 5 Tips for a Stress-Free Family Vacation Every Time. Retrieved from https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/travel/travel-planning/stress-free-family-vacation-tips