Find Your Zen: How to Relax While Traveling
Have you ever gone on vacation and returned home feeling frazzled instead of blissful?
Thinking about mounds of post-travel laundry and overflowing email inboxes make many of us fret so much, we don't fully enjoy our time off the clock.
Going on holiday should mean relaxing the mind and body and refreshing your outlook so you return to the working world with a boost in productivity. It's easier to say "just relax" than it is to actually unplug and recharge. However, following a few simple tips makes it far easier to truly rejuvenate yourself while on vacation.
1. Turn off Your Cellphone
Yes, we know, you just have to post photographic evidence of all your adventures so members of your social media circle can ooh and aah. However, do you need to post those pictures right in the middle of all the good time you're enjoying?
So many of us suffer from screen time overload. While you may have schlepped your laptop along, leave it in its carrying case unless you really need it. Likewise, carrying your cellphone with you provides a handy-dandy GPS device should you wander too far in your explorations, but set it to silent and avoid the urge to check alert notifications. Better yet, turn notifications off for the duration of your vacation.
Wait until you return home to post that fascinating photo collage of your travels. Doing so helps you unwind and also keeps you safer, as splashing "I'm away on vacation" all over social media alerts potential thieves that your home and car are fair game for burgling.
2. Know Your Bank Balance
Nothing destroys a getaway faster than stressing over money, counting every penny and constantly checking your dwindling budget. In order to avoid doing this, plan a vacation budget ahead of time so sticking to it comes naturally.
Some travelers prefer to open a separate bank account just to hold their holiday funds. Should you choose to do this, open an account not linked to any other accounts or debit cards to prevent transferring money out of your vacation savings. When the time comes to depart, withdraw the funds and put them on a prepaid debit card so would-be thieves aren't wowed by a glance at your wad of cash.
Don't overlook travel credit cards. Utilizing a credit card that offers hotel or flight rewards helps you build up points quickly that you can use for future trips. Simply pay off the balance upon returning home to avoid costly interest fees.
3. Don't Try and Do Too Much
Some travelers create such an action-packed holiday that they fail to leave themselves time to breathe. While you want to cram as much fun into your travel plans as possible, remember that activities always tend to take more time than originally intended due to crowds and traffic.
Think quality over quantity when planning your vacation. Instead of flitting from museum to museum, select one or two that you must see, and take your time casually browsing the relics within.
If your travels take you and the kiddos to a theme park, instead of trying to ride every single attraction in one day, plan to spend each day exploring the rides in specific areas.
4. Move Your Body a Bit
While no one wants to spend their vacation eating kale and hitting the weights, participating in enjoyable exercise activities rejuvenates your body as well as relaxes the mind. Exercise releases endorphins, the body's natural mood enhancers. Don't push yourself to complete a 5K each day, but start each day with a stroll on the beach or around that quaint European town.
Likewise, ditch the diet while on holiday, but resist the urge to binge on everything in sight. If you're on a cruise with 24/7 restaurants and buffets, plan your mealtimes and stick to them. Explore local flavors and enjoy favorite treats, but avoid busting your belt buckle. You don't want your travel mates to have to roll you from place to place!
5. Schedule Downtime
Whether you're traveling solo, with your partner or with the entire family, schedule at least an hour or two each day to simply do nothing. Quiet time allows for introspection and appreciation of the memories you're making.
If you're traveling with a partner, plan some time apart where you both can participate in activities you enjoy. Perhaps treat yourself to a nice pedicure while your partner hits the driving range.
Those traveling with children also need a bit of time for themselves. If budget permits, book adjoining hotel rooms with one room for the adults and the other for the kids. That way you know they're close and safe, but you can wind down at night by watching a movie you'll enjoy instead of another episode of "Spongebob Squarepants."
6. Ease Back Into Routine
Finally, plan ahead to make your re-entry into the world of work and day-to-day routine as smooth and seamless as possible. Does the thought of vacation laundry leave you feeling exhausted even before starting the first load? Plan to drop your laundry at a local full-service laundromat and let them do the washing and folding, or utilize the hotel laundry service, if available.
Getting back to work usually means wading through a veritable quagmire of email. Minimize this headache by setting up out-of-office auto-responses to prevent repeated emails on the same topic, and set up your filters to screen out spam. Avoid scheduling any meetings, client or otherwise, the morning of your return so you have time to readjust and organize your priorities. Better yet, leave a full day open to catch up on correspondence and the like.
Going on vacation should delight and re-energize you, not exhaust or drain you. By planning wisely ahead of time and leaving adequate opportunities for rest and relaxation, you'll create a balanced getaway that soothes both your body and soul.