You want to return home from your vacation feeling delighted, satisfied, and refreshed – and these 10 travel tips and tricks will show you how.
Vacations, by definition, are supposed to be wonderful occasions filled with joy.
But sometimes, despite all your best efforts, your trip doesn’t go as planned. When life throws you some curveballs, you can end up coming home from your vacation with a feeling of disenchantment. Not good!
These 10 travel tips and tricks will help you plan for the best – and the worst.
When we can roll with the punches, we’ll come home from our long-awaited trip feeling content and grateful.
Make a list and check it twice (then REUSE it!)
When it comes to packing for your vacation, there are no two ways about it: “winging it” is a bad idea. Instead, weeks ahead of time, take the time to sit down and brainstorm everything you might need during your time away – from your eyemask and white noise machine to your shower shoes and sunscreen. I love Google Keep (available as a web app or mobile app) for creating checklists that I can use over and over again (one for overnight tips, one for days at the lake, one for bike rides, etc!) If you’re looking for packing list items to get you started, here’s a great one.
Brainstorm activities beforehand.
For many of us, researching activities and things to do in the places we’re traveling to feels a bit like work – so by all means do it before your trip! Your list can be as long as you like, so feel free to go wild. This way, once your vacation arrives, all you’ll have to do each morning is look over your list and ask yourself: “What do I feel like doing today?”
Leave room for spontaneity.
Inevitably, some activities will require reservations beforehand (especially in the times of COVID-19), so while you’re likely to want to look these up and book tickets ahead of time, make sure to also leave some days wide open. We’ve all at one time made the mistake of “over-planning our vacation so much that we ended up getting home completely exhausted. Plan for giving yourself a rest – whether that means a day lounging at the beach, snuggled up in your hotel room with a good book, or something else.
Ask the locals.
The Internet is great for finding out about MOST things, but not all. So in addition to researching things online, don’t be afraid to ask the locals for recommendations on where to shop, what to do, where to go, or how to get there. Chances are they’ll have extra tips and tricks to share that Google does not!
Go with the flow.
No matter how much you plan, surprises will come up – I guarantee it. Recently on a trip to an ocean-side cottage with a companion who LOVES to cook, we did a huge grocery shop only to later find that our oven didn’t work. Fortunately, there was a grill out back so that was there we hung out most of the time! The more you can look at these little surprises as gifts instead of thorns in your side, the better your vacation will go.
Pack a capsule wardrobe.
A common mistake in packing for a vacation is running into unexpected weather and not having what you need. The solution to this is packing a capsule wardrobe, meaning a small but mighty collection of highly versatile pieces that you love to wear. If you can make the switch to packing clothing in this way, you’ll end up with what you need for ALL climates that may come your way (i.e. tank top, sweater, wool socks, rain jacket, etc.).
Get clear on your goals.
There is simply nothing worse than coming home from your vacation realizing that you didn’t have time to do things you wanted to do MOST of all. Don’t let this happen to you! Get clear on what your highest priorities are before your trip so that you can make sure and plan for them 100%.
If you encounter stress – throw money at it!
Someone I know says this is one of her great rules of life, and I’ll never forgot it. If you’re feeling stressed, throw money at it! Meaning, if you get to the baggage check and realize your bag is overweight, just pay the fee. If you’re feeling at all nervous about walking home from the restaurant where you had dinner, just pay for a cab. If you forgot your raincoat and are feeling frustrated because rain is headed your way, just buy another one. This is your vacation. It’s time for you to ENJOY. So don’t be afraid to spend a little extra money to get rid of any stress and have as much fun as you can.
Stay in the moment.
Studies have shown that when we’re able to be present in the moment we’re in, we’re MUCH more likely to look back on vacations fondly. While it’s important to plan (i.e. what are we doing tomorrow, how will we get there, what’s for dinner tonight?), make sure not to let thinking of what comes next to rule your consciousness. Wherever you are – on a bus, laying in bed, swimming in the ocean, or looking up at the stars – just be where you are and soak it all in.
Write down your highlights.
Did you know we’re 10 times more likely to remember things when we write them down? At the end of your trip (hey, maybe even on your plane ride home!), write down your favorite parts. Our brain’s negativity bias can sometimes encourage us to remember what DIDN’T go so well (those pesky brains…) so combat this by actively recounting and reliving the happy times.
Looking for more?
If you loved these travel tips and tricks from Janelle (hey that’s me!) at Ellanyze, you might also enjoy Things to Do On Staycation: 5 Tips to Have a Great One or How to Have the Best Vacation Ever: It’s Not What You Think!