The “dog days” are behind us (mostly), and the world outside still hints of adventures to come. With that open, free feeling of the vacation season lingering in the still-warm air, late August surely feels like a great time of year to get in one last summer getaway.
I hope you have the opportunity to take advantage! Time set aside to break fully from routine and recharge is so essential to our whole being—body, mind, and spirit.
But have you ever set out to take time off and gotten far less R & R than you bargained for? All too often, that attempt to get away becomes a list of to-dos, worrying over details, lots of rushing around, and stress, stress, stress. I’ve even heard people say that it’s a lot easier to just work through, all year long, than take the occasional vacation.
Ready for a better, less tense getaway? I’m here to tell you that a relaxing, fulfilling vacation CAN be enjoyed! With loved ones in several parts of the country and work that takes me here and there, I do a fair bit of traveling—and I’ve picked up some great tips along the way.
- Downsize your luggage.
Managing claim tickets, paying extra baggage fees, and—gasp!—lugging bulky suitcases around are sure ways to take “relaxation” right off your vacation agenda.
Most of us tend to overpack. Reduce by first remembering: What clothing did you actually use the last time you traveled? Did you fall back on the same few reliable wardrobe pieces over and over, while others never came out of your bag until you returned home? (Confession: Yes!) Can you eliminate a pair of shoes or two? How about lightweight layers instead of bulkier items that take up excessive space?
If you find you’re driven to fill every inch of your suitcase, here’s a simple trick to right-sizing: Invest in a smaller bag. If you roll rather than fold each piece, you can still make all your essentials fit—and you’ll also find out quickly which unnecessary ones can be safely left behind.
- Buy yourself some peace of mind.
Are you a worrier? Do you have a hard time leaving home because an assortment of nagging “what ifs” always travel with you?
Travel insurance just might be a simple answer. It doesn’t cost a lot to add to your package, but in the event of lost/stolen/damaged luggage, canceled reservations, or medical emergency, you’ll have additional help at the ready. It’s a small price to pay for some added peace of mind.
That covers the big “what ifs.” Some proactive self-care can also help ease more personal travel fears. For example, if you’re bothered by the idea you might get sick while you’re away from home, you can act to prevent illness by keeping your body’s defenses, and your mental state, stable and strong.
- Pack dust-control pillowcases to minimize allergen exposure in your hotel room.
- Drink water everywhere you go to avoid overheating and headaches—and carry a refillable bottle with you to make quick hydration easy.
- Listen to your body’s cues when it comes to hunger and fatigue.
Another easy comfort trick: Pack your favorite herbal tea so you can enjoy a quiet moment of me-time before bed…and set yourself up for peaceful rest, even in an unfamiliar place.
- Allow time for reentry.
I don’t know about you, but the first things on my mind when I get back from a vacation stand in direct conflict with each other: my wish for a long, hot shower, and my suitcase full of laundry that needs attention, right now. So much for all that relaxation!
Make the most of your time away, but don’t forget to give yourself a little space for adjustment once you return home. Leave yourself enough time for getting back into the groove, gently. An itinerary that runs right up against your return to reality is a recipe for stress—a souvenir best avoided.
I hope you’ll take advantage of a little time away before the end of the traditional travel season, even if it’s just for a weekend—but do it sensibly, with minimal stress, and you’ll truly be giving yourself a valuable gift of renewal. Here’s to living your best life, both at home and in all your adventures!