How to actually enjoy your vacation

How to actually enjoy your vacation

When passion and work go hand in hand, it can be difficult for many creators to step away from productivity mode, hit the pause button, and allow themselves to decompress while on a much-needed vacation. But a respite from that day-to-day hustle, no matter how hard it may be, is necessary to allow your mind and body to relax, recuperate, and rejuvenate. In fact, a temporary reset can break your routine and have you coming back to the daily grind feeling like a new and improved version of yourself, brimming with creative ideas and a new perspective on upcoming projects.

Of course, the concept of “chilling out” and disconnecting is much easier said than done, especially in a culture of technology and social media where you’re pressured to keep a pulse on every facet of your business and industry. Achieving zen is not impossible, though, if you follow these five tips and prepare yourself, both mentally and physically, in advance.

women in business books

1. Plan an itinerary

A drastic and sudden loss of control can, many times, be too abrupt for career-focused travelers. Go into the trip with a detailed itinerary that includes must-visit museums, landmarks, and restaurants, but be sure to also leave downtime for resting and exploring.

This document, which can even mirror the formatted and familiar agenda you create for yourself every day, will allow you to ease your way into a new environment while taking advantage of everything it has to offer. It will also prevent minor blips from creating unnecessary stress since you planned for them in advance.

If putting together this itinerary sounds like an added and unwelcome responsibility (but one you’d certainly benefit from), hire a travel agent or opt for an all-inclusive resort that will practically plan the highlights of your vacation for you.

2. …but leave room for spontaneity

The magic of travel is spontaneity. Whether you stumble into a local shop, wander down a random alley, or grab a drink in a hidden bar, every place and person has a unique story to tell. And these stories will enhance your life and maybe even change it for the better.

Leave time (and even days) to simply explore and get lost. Or, if you’re somewhere more tropical, savor the moments of being on a beach and doing absolutely nothing. This forced departure from your norm will eventually convert into relief once you’re not worried about where you need to be or what you need to be doing. You can also use this time to partake in restful activities that you may have been neglecting like reading a book, stretching, or listening to calming music.

woman in greenhouse

3. Disconnect from electronics. Seriously.

We get it — cell phones are damn-near impossible to surrender. If you really need to check email, allocate only a certain block of the day to catching up. But really make an effort to limit any and all engagement with electronics (you can even purchase a smart phone lock box to prevent yourself from accessing it). They’re not just a distraction from once-in-a-lifetime experiences and interactions that lead to cherished memories, but they’re also reminders of home (which you need to escape if you want to successfully detach and live in the moment).

You can also force yourself to jet somewhere that encourages a complete disconnection from reality. Whether it’s a wellness retreat at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, a spa getaway at Mendoza, Argentina’s Susana Balbo’s Winemaker’s House, or an island oasis at the Bahamas’ Kamalame Cay, these environments promote mindfulness and becoming one with the natural beauty that surrounds you.

how to enjoy travel

4. Get into the right headspace before leaving

Not everyone puts up a vacation message and then morphs immediately into a straw hat-adorned, Hawaiian shirt-wearing wanderluster. In fact, it’s likely that most hard-working creators are flat-out fatigued, which is why they’re taking this break in the first place. This means that while a trip is necessary and exciting, many people do not relay a sense of enthusiasm at the start. They’re tired and something as simple as packing and getting on a flight can feel more burdensome than it actually is.

To ensure that your transition from a busy bee into a free butterfly is smooth and not rushed, it’s important to come up with a schedule (about a month in advance) that integrates relaxing activities into your weekly routine so that they don’t seem so foreign upon arriving at your destination.

Schedule a couple massages, download a meditation app, take a yoga class, or simply lounge by a pool to force yourself to tune out the world around you and not bank entirely on one trip to be the cure for an impending burnout.

5. Consider mini vacations

Americans continue to get less vacation time than Europeans and many others across the world. As a result, it is easy to place a ton of pressure on enjoying coveted time off because it is both expensive and a rarity.

Rather than taking a full week, consider booking a few long weekends instead. This will not only allow you to see more places, but will also eliminate the strain of savoring every moment as if it’s your last.

Also, it may be in your best interest to plan these trips around major holidays. There is a comfort in knowing that most people in your industry will also be taking time off. And while flights and accommodations will certainly be more expensive, you can at least find solace in accepting that you’re not missing out on anything important.

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