It’s easy to get so caught up in everyday life that you forget to relax. From punching a clock to cooking, cleaning, and attending to social responsibilities, self-care can get pushed to the sidelines, leaving you feeling drained and world-weary. At times like these, one can’t help but stare out the office window and imagine the feeling of the warm sun on your face as you relax on a beautiful beach. Why not take a break from the hectic pace of your life? Allow yourself to be a little selfish for once and make self-care a priority. Get out there and detox from stress by taking a much overdue vacation.
A well-known fact is that media can be very stressful. A vacation can become harder to enjoy when you’re reflexively checking your social feeds at every lull in activity. To fully get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you might try to unplug from laptops and phones as much as you can. Simply allow yourself to be with your own thoughts, settle into the moment, and let go of the need to stay connected 24/7. Any texts, emails, and updates that can wait, let them wait. You might be surprised how relaxing a media hiatus can be.
Do you really need five extra shirts and three bottles of sunscreen? Thorough planners and chronic worriers alike may be prone to over-packing. You might think you’re being smart and thinking ahead, but lugging around bulging bags and suitcases won’t be a delight, especially if you end up only using half of what you packed. Try to pack only what you think you will use, and perhaps a few extra things in case of emergency, but don’t go overboard. It’s likely that if you do end up needing something extra on your trip, you’ll be able to find it at a nearby store. It’s also beneficial to leave a little room in your suitcases for souvenirs.
Vacations are most relaxing when you know you are being smart with your money. It’s not a good feeling to wonder if your hotel is overpriced or if you’re paying more for food, transportation, and foreign exchange fees than you should. One of the best ways to save money on vacation is to travel when others aren’t traveling. So if you don’t have young children, traveling during the school season is ideal. Destination fares run especially low between peak and off-peak seasons in spring and fall. If you book your airfare on a weekend you can save an average of 19%. Carriers also offer airfare sales during a destination’s tourism offseason. To save on booking hotels, you can take advantage of their loyalty programs.
Going on a cruise? Cruise tickets are actually pretty affordable. The real cost comes from booking shore excursions, which can be incredibly expensive. If you want to save some money, you can schedule the same shore excursions yourself through third-party organizations. Also, don’t buy overpriced soda while on your cruise. Just like buying candy at the movies, prices tend to be overinflated.
If you’re wanting to restore your energy while saving some green, you can escape to the great outdoors on a low-key camping trip. It’s nice to live simply sometimes, removed from city noise and pollution. Camping trips are inexpensive and make a great atmosphere for bonding with friends and family. Singing songs while huddling around a flickering campfire and sleeping under the stars can make for an unforgettable experience. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast and make your reservation in advance, especially if you are going to be camping in a popular national or state park.
Possibly the best way to save up for a vacation is to create a travel fund prior to your trip. Downsize the amount of money you spend on things you can do without, such as a daily Starbucks, cable TV, frequent restaurant visits, etc., and put the money you save into a special account. Steady effort and commitment to a travel fund is a surefire way to make a vacation more comfortably affordable.
Finally, consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investments. If you show up late to your cruise, you can get your tickets refunded through your insurance. Canceled flights, illnesses, injuries or stolen luggage can all be covered with the right policy.
Put Your Safety First
Do your research before you travel. If you don’t, you might end up getting sick, injured, or not be able to receive help when you need it. You should gather information about your destination. Know the visa requirements, local laws, customs, and medical care options if you are traveling abroad. Get vaccinated 4-6 weeks before an international trip. If you use assistive or medical devices that require a power supply, be sure to find backup power in case of a power outage, and carry a set of adapters that will allow you to use a foreign country’s electrical system. It’s crucial to do your research before traveling in order to stay safe.
Let’s be honest: bad things sometimes happen. No matter how much you plan, or how much effort you put into organizing your vacation, sometimes things go wrong. Instead of trying to be prepared for every possible emergency (floods, fires, a delayed flight, a lost bag, etc.), prepare in a reasonable manner and just go with the flow. Accept that something bad might happen, but be assured that a solution will eventually be found. Whatever comes your way, you can get through it.