Every day we go about our routines. We have tasks that need to be performed, completed, over and over again. A vacation for most, especially if we are traveling is a means to take us out of that monotony and provide us with some well-needed rest. It is a brief moment of time that allows us to relax, free our minds, and really give us the "breath of fresh air" that we need to return to work with more vigor.
Here is a small guide to help make your next vacation better. We hope to create the foundation you need to help plan your next trip. Each section has a small subsection with a helpful link, or app that you can use to help you move one step closer to your vacation.
Decide where you want to go. First and foremost before you decide to travel you must have an idea of where you want to travel to.
It may not be a very concise location, and it may be as simple as, "I want to go on a vacation". However traveling, just like any other activity requires a creating a goal and a plan that you can work towards. You don't want to get on a plane and just go anywhere. You want to go somewhere, ideally somewhere better than where you are.
So, to get yourself started on the right foot, determine exactly what place is better than where you are? Where have you dreamed about visiting? What have you wanted to see with your very own eyes? Once you know you now have a goal to work towards and you can begin defining your plan to not only accomplish that goal of traveling but to also enjoy the trip while you are there.
Okay, I'm ready:
Now that you have decided where you want to go, you have to determine how long you want to be there. Everyone has responsibilities that they must attend to prior to traveling. For instance you may have a job, bills, family, a house, etc that you need to take care of on a daily basis.
You need to determine how long you will be on vacation, and make the reasonable accommodations required so that these responsibilities are appropriately taken care of. Unless you are planning to travel indefinitely you will have to return to your normal life at some point, it is best if you return to it in working order.
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What will you do on your trip?
Another part of determining how long you are going to be somewhere is determining what you are going to do while you are there.
Some people prefer that everything is planned out prior to leaving, others, however, prefer to have the freedom to do what they want. Some prefer not to do anything. Those that do not plan what they are going to do argue that traveling is not about having a schedule, rather it is about having freedom from a schedule. Either way it is good to know what you can do while you are on vacation. This tends to be more important if you are going on a trip with others.
You don't need to schedule anything, but a having good idea of what you can do can help. Prior to leaving you can accomplish this through various means such as reading a book, or searching on Google. While you are on your trip you can consult with a local travel agency, or you can find things to do just by driving around town. Many people would recommend consulting with a local travel agency as the information they have about the things you can do are not always available online or in books because they may not have the ability to do either.
"Most local travel agencies do not have the resources to publish books or run a website about the activities you can do while you are visiting their country, so they are great resources to find special unknown activities"
There is a great mobile phone app called Taylor
that can help you find food, people nearby, a place to stay and activities if you are traveling.
Whether you are out hiking all day, or binge watching your favorite Television show, travelling gives you the ability to pamper yourself, either for travelings sake, or by removing you from the day to day monotony of a normal life.
While you are on your, trip take time, as much time as you can, to do the things you want to do, and not the things you have to do.
"Pampering" doesn't have to mean that you sleep all day. While on vacation pampering yourself really can include doing anything that you don't normally have the opportunity of doing.
There are activities that you can do locally, such as shopping, going to a spa, getting a massage, or eating out and meeting people. If you travel to a foreign country, there are really unique items that you can find while shopping, or there are unique people that you can build new friendships with.
These activities remove you from the work-life balance "mindset" leaving you with an "I'm living" mindset. This new mindset is the most recognizable when you return from your vacation, disappointed that you have to get back into a balanced work-life mindset.
If you either want to pamper yourself by enjoying the local culture, or if you want to pamper yourself without having to leave your room, be sure to find a great room with amenities while you are planning. Many travelers recommend finding a room with a large bathtub to soak in, a good TV for movies, and a great bed.
Of course no trip is complete without some time at the beach, some would even go so far as to argue that no trip is a good trip without spending ALL your time at the beach. We won't argue either way but if you are going to the beach: Rebekah George on the HLN Network did a great feature on how to glam up your day at the beach, which you can find here.
Be at Home
Traveling is more than an activity that you do, it is a mindset that you have.
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We all have our idea of what the ideal trip is, for some it is going on some great adventure, for others it is about meeting new people, or staying in bed the entire time. What makes traveling so alluring is the mindset of travel. You may create a schedule for yourself, but since it is not your work schedule, you enjoy the things you do, on the other hand, you may not have a schedule and you prefer to remain in your room.
As a catalyst to put yourself in that "travel" or "I'm living" mindset, make yourself at home. Unpack your suitcase, put your items in the drawers, set your things in their place, almost as though you were moving into a new home. Even if it is a short stay, make yourself at home
Finally, if you are the adventuring type immerse yourself in the culture. Use Taylor to help you find something to do, or meet a new friend. Get photos, and if you keep a diary record your day. Find the best restaurants, the best beach, the best hike, the best attractions. By seeing and doing the best things while travelling, you can really enjoy traveling for what it is.