Making the Most of Your Vacation this Summer

Have you ever had a terrible vacation? When it comes to taking time off, there’s nothing worse than wasting precious vacation days for an experience that’s, well… less than satisfactory.

On average, Americans use only about half of their vacation days. A relaxing break can mean the difference between success and frustration, so it’s important to take time when you need it. Be sure to make the most of your vacation this summer by utilizing these helpful tips.

Start Planning Early
Decrease distractions and stress during your vacation by planning early and often. Familiarize yourself with the location you’re going to, have a rough itinerary for you plans and figure out how you’ll get around while you’re there.

Anticipation for a trip can be more impactful than the trip itself, so get excited by being prepared. Plan your trip far enough in advance so you can enjoy looking forward to it. The more you have thoughtfully prepared for the trip, the less likely you are to run into stressful hassles that will ruin your enjoyment on vacation.

Hire a Tour Guide
Hiring a tour guide for your vacation can mean less time stressing about what you’re going to do and more time doing the things you love. While guides might seem like a “tourist-y” thing, they can be extremely beneficial for learning about local sightseeing locations that may not be listed in your guide book.

It’s a good idea to hire a guide if you’re only in a destination for a short time (like on a cruise) or where you don’t speak the language. Regardless of your vacation plans, a guide is always a safe bet to fall back on—and you can always skip out of the tour halfway through if need be.

Choose Companions Carefully
It’s no secret that who we travel with can be the biggest factor in how happy we feel during our vacation. Hanging out with your best friend and drinking margaritas on the beach can be a lot less stressful than a nagging relative who has to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes.

Traveling with family members and friends strengthens bonds, improves communication and (among married couples) even reduces the possibility of divorce. Choose your traveling companions carefully, and make sure they’re someone who will have a positive, stress-free influence on your vacation.

Take It Easy
The biggest reason many people are disappointed by their vacation is because they have too high of expectations in the first place. Don’t expect perfection from your trip, and curb your disappointment if things don’t live up to what you had hoped.

Most importantly, don’t overbook yourself. A vacation is supposed to be relaxing, and you don’t want to come home and need another one just to get away from the one you had. Don’t try and see or do every single thing, and don’t stress yourself out if things don’t go according to plan.

Unplug & Put the Work Away
You’re on vacation for a reason: to get away from the “real world.” That means unplugging your devices and putting the work away. Distribute your extra work over time before leaving for your trip, tell your boss and coworkers that you can’t be reached, set an out-of-office message and leave your laptop and work cell at home.

Use your trip to connect with family and friends in a way that isn’t possible in everyday life. Set up 1-2 times a day to check your phone for messages; otherwise, put it away and disconnect from the Internet. You’ll be more present, relaxed and pleased with your vacation time.

As Saint Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” This summer, read more pages and make the most of your vacation by staying in the present and adding memories to your life.