Believe it or not, vacations can be very stressful, especially when travel is involved and you’re trying to get to a destination in an unfamiliar city. Some people spend so much time in transit, hopping from place to place, in a rush, waiting at the airport terminal, packing and repacking, that they could have had a high quality time at a destination closer to home. I’m not advocating staying close to home on vacation. I’m advocating planning ahead, so that you expect everything coming your way and you have adequate time to do what you want to do. The following are common vacation stressors that you can avoid.
Trying to Do Too Many Things in a Small Window – You’re not going to see all of Paris in one day, even if you tried. Instead of trying to hit all of the tourist attractions in the least possible time, research your destination and find places you’d be interested in visiting. Destinations off the beaten path may be more interesting than the tourist traps. Allow for a certain period of time at each destination and allow time for lunch dinner, and most of all sleep.
Not Allowing For Sleep – This relates to the point above, but emphasizes that it is very difficult to enjoy a vacation if you cannot sleep. Being sleepy while traveling is stressful, and makes you have less energy to go out and have fun. Make sure you can be at your hotel or sleeping accommodation by a reasonable time or allow yourself to sleep in every day you’re on vacation.
Not Allowing for Spontaneity – Having an itinerary alone can be stressful, because it is too structured. The idea of a vacation is to break away from your structured life. Yes you want to plan things to do when you get there, but allow time to do things spontaneously as well. Spontaneous activities create better stories to tell than planned ones.
Not Writing Down the Address of the Hotel – You’ve arrived at the airport, but do you know where it is in relation to your hotel? Cities are big places, and your hotel may be 10 plus miles from the airport without you knowing it. Make sure you know the address of your hotel or other destination, and you can make travel arrangements to get there. Arriving prepared relieves this common vacation stress.
Driving – If you’re driving, looking for parking, following directions, or being stuck in traffic can be a stressor. See if you can take public transportation, fly, take a train, or bus to your destination. It’s nice to not have to look for parking when you get there.
Not Printing Out Hotel and Travel Confirmations – Although its easy these days for the hotel front desk to look you up by your last name, it’s always a good idea to print all your email confirmations, just in case you need them. Email confirmations have ticket pick up instructions on them, addresses, and phone numbers. Having this information on hand can reduce stress when you have arrived and need it.
Packing Too Much – Always pack light. You will thank yourself later. Bring exactly the number of changes of clothes you will need. Depending on how short the vacation is, you may be willing to wear the same pair of jeans twice. Depending on what you are doing, it is much easier to just bring the shoes you are wearing. If you are skiing, consider renting at the mountain if you are flying. Packing just a carry on will prevent the hassle of going through baggage claim. If you are not checking into a hotel, you do not want to be always lugging heavy things with you. Also having more room in your suitcase, makes it easier to pack again, and you will have extra room for souvenirs.