4 tips for an unforgettable vacation – words Al Woods
Toiling at work with no breaks for months on end can be stressful, depressing, and down-right unproductive. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, workers who took more than 10 vacation days off had a 65% chance of gaining a raise or promotion.
Comparatively, workers who did not take their allotted PTO only had a 34% chance of promotion. However, a rushed, stressful vacation with a lack of planning, activities, or budget can be worse than no vacation at all. Luckily, a little bit of know-how can go a long way, so here are 4 tips to get you out of your 9 to 5 slump.
Before jumping into research and planning, you have to know where your trip will take you. A great way to get inspired is to check out other people’s recent vacations. Create a Pinterest board and explore road trips, island adventures, or backpacking trips through Europe. Find pictures of sights you find interesting, and once you have a general idea of your perfect trip, look for a location that has the most of what you want.
A great way to get a general outline for a trip is through itineraries from other people. For example, you can head over to Pretty Sweet, a travel and wellness blog, right now, where the McCormicks post their detailed itineraries from a multitude of destinations. If you like the sights and activities from a certain trip, you can base your next vacation there.
2. Research and Planning
The next step to a great vacation starts with research. Ordering tickets to Europe, packing according to American weather or customs, and then arriving only to find that you’ve come during winter or a religious holiday can dampen a great trip. Before setting your heart on a destination, figure out exactly what you want from your time off.
A great way to do this is through a timeline. Once you have your destination, figure out the most important activities, like the sights you’re most excited to see or the food place you’ve been dying to try. Space those activities throughout your time off, and place a large star next to them. In between your staple sights, find other interesting things to do that are located close to your starred items. If you continue this pattern, you will have a full timeline of what you need to see each day.
Make sure to pack according to the destination’s weather and customs, bring plenty of money in foreign currency, and brush up on the target language.
Flights, food, and activities add up fast. If you are afraid for your budget, make sure to plan beforehand on how much money you’re willing to spend on a vacation. Once you have your number, you can then match up items on your timeline to an estimated dollar value. Of course, a bargain never hurt, so taking some time to find a cheaper hotel or an earlier flight can save you hundreds of dollars.
One of the easiest ways to save money on your next trip is to find free activities at your target destination. Free walking tours, local festivals, or even free-access national parks can give you a more authentic experience than paying for tourist-traps. When you sit down to plan out your itinerary, make sure you allow time for some freebies, which may become the highlight of your trip.
Once you have a timeline and a budget for your trip, you can write out a detailed itinerary. Itineraries are a great way to portion out time and money so you’re never stuck wondering what to do next. To create an itinerary, simply take the timeline you created earlier and assign times and dates to your planned activities. For example, a day in Budapest might look like this:
- 8 AM: Hotel Breakfast
- 9 AM: Coffee at the Praga Coffee and Tea House
- 12 PM to 4 PM: Free Walking Tour in Trinity Square
- 5 PM to 7 PM: Relax at Hotel
- 8 PM to 10 PM: Hungarian Wine Tasting at Faust Cellar
With this plan, you know exactly what you will be doing within the hour, so no time is wasted sitting at the hotel, looking for a new activity. In addition, there is time meant for relaxation, which is important so you’re not constantly overwhelmed with sights and information.
Creating an itinerary for your entire vacation will take some time, but it is worth it when you return from your vacation well-rested, full of energy, and ready to rock at work the next day.