Every hard-working professional knows the importance of holiday time. Whether it is a staycation or traveling to exotic parts of the world – people planning holidays hope to come home feeling relaxed, refreshed and restored. It is often assumed that relaxation will happen on its own, however, so many people return home in need of “a vacation from their vacation”. If you are one of those professionals planning a holiday and looking for the right balance of fun and relaxation - then here is my suggested guide to your holiday relaxation.
The first step to planning a great holiday is to take your personality into consideration. In my experience, people typically fall into one of two categories when it comes to vacation time: planners and non-planners. It is important to identify early on which of those two categories you fall into.
If you are a planner then you are someone who knows exactly what you will be doing on each day of your vacation. You know exactly what times you will be flying, you have mapped out the best restaurants, and you have already bought tickets to the best shows. You have explored the history behind the historic sites and read the reviews of previous travelers to make sure the site is really as amazing as the picture looks. You started working on an Excel spreadsheet six months prior to your trip so that you could keep track of exact times and make sure there is no overlap or too much time between events. While planners usually make great use of their time and almost never get lost, they can often miss special opportunities and get frustrated if something unplanned happens. If you are a planner – and planners usually know who they are – consider pairing up with a non-planner and be open to putting down the schedule from time to time.
Non-planners are spontaneous people who fundamentally disagree with planning their holidays. They usually check-in on the day of their flight and discover their landing times for the first time. They pack a wide variety of clothing because they have no idea what adventures will come up on their trip. They show up to historic sites hoping they will not be closed or arrive at venues on the day assuming the show will not be sold out. While non-planners are great at taking advantage of opportunities as they come up and seizing the moment, they can often get into stressful situations and get lost very quickly on their trips. If you are a non-planner – which is tricky because non-planners do not always know who they are – consider pairing up with a planner and be appreciative of their level of organization and preparedness.
If you identify as being a balanced combination of a planner and non-planner and prefer to travel solo, then skip to the next step.
Take a Moment to Breathe
Once you have arrived at your destination, take a moment to enjoy your journey so far. Everything you have planned, packed, and purchased up until this time has allowed you this moment of pure joy – don’t waste it. For planners that means allotting time to do absolutely nothing. For the rest of your holiday you will be able to set your own schedule and answer to no boss. If you are a parent then maybe that means taking family nap time, or maybe it is as simple as ordering some room service. For singles that might look like going down to grab a drink at the bar and mingling with some locals. Whatever it is, be intentional in your mindset. Alert your mind early on so that it knows you are on holiday time now.
Avoid Tourist Traps
It cannot always be avoided, but avoid tourist traps whenever possible. There will always be one or two places you absolutely have to go see, but remember that popular tourist spots draw large crowds, long lines, and higher price tags. If you are in search of relaxation, these are factors you may want to avoid. While it may be harder to research, popular local spots are like hidden gems and take some exploration to find. Ask questions of the people you meet and get outside of your comfort zone. People are the best sources of information, so have conversations with your waiter or locals you meet out. Make sure you have a good balance of popular versus local spots you take a chance on.
Ditch the Technology
In everyday life, technology has become an essential and almost unavoidable tool. A holiday is one of the few remaining opportunities you have to truly unplug and give your mind as well as your body a much-needed break. While phones are great tools to get around on trips, try to stay off it whenever possible. Tell your friends and loved ones you will not be responding for the next few days except when checking in, turn off your social media notifications, leave your phone in your room on occasion.
Technology is an incredible tool but can also be a source of distraction that prevents you from seeing on the beauty that is in front of you. Instead of documenting every moment through your camera, take time to capture that moment for yourself. Perspective is gained when you take the time to reflect and focus on what is happening around you. Instead of spending any more time on your phone, spend time with your family and friends and reflect on your adventures with them.
Make it Personal
The most important step in relaxing on holiday is to remember what a holiday is all about. It is about resetting, recharging and gaining perspective outside of our normal busy lives. It gives us time to remember what we love and enjoy personal time with ourselves or the people we care about most. Make the most of your holiday by taking your time and doing activities you love such as reading a book, slow sipping coffee in the morning or watching a sunset.
That is your guide to holiday relaxation!