Many a spouse has said or thought: “I like vacation N better than I like working N.” Vacations are precious times, both for you—for your mental, emotional, and physical health—and for any partner or family, you have. The chances are you that don’t get as much vacation time as you would like, so it is vital to make the most of the time that you do have.
Good vacations begin with good preparation…but in moderation. One of the problems with the internet is that we can research everywhere in minute detail—so we feel that, if something goes wrong, it must be our fault for not researching enough. Accept that bad luck happens, and don’t feel guilty about it.
Decide on your budget and plan accordingly. A vacation where you are worried about every dollar is a stressful holiday, so be sure that you can spend more than you expect to.
Plan your program with relaxation in mind. If you relax by climbing mountains in British Columbia, do that; if lying on a beach in Florida does it for you, then make that a priority. Don’t over-plan—you don’t want to exhaust yourself, and you must leave time for spontaneous discoveries.
Make Time for You
This is meant to be time away from work, so do what you can to make that a reality. It may not be realistic to have a complete cessation of communication but make sure that you are only contacted when you really need to be. Inform your colleagues that you are away and, preferably, establish one trusted gatekeeper who is allowed to contact you.
Keep your vacation time guilt-free. Not only should you be able to avoid worry about work, you should also not have to feel guilty about the holiday. So what if you go to Rome and don’t feel like visiting the Colosseum! It is what you want that counts, not what people will say when you get home.
Stay somewhere that is comfortable and within your budget. If you are taking a city break, you may want to be able to retreat to a base that you can rely on, away from the bright lights. The Marriott Montreal Airport hotel, for instance, makes a surprisingly convenient place to visit that city.
Make Time for Others
Vacations are the best times to nurture your closest relationships. Lying in bed late in the morning, or relaxing by the pool in the afternoon, are opportunities to share dreams and thoughts with your “significant other.”
If your kids are with you, the vacation provides new opportunities to relate to them. They will remember vacations throughout their lives if those are the times when they feel closest to their parents.
The best vacations are not always those where we accomplish the most bucket list ticks. They are often those where things happen spontaneously, and for that we need to allow space—space for ourselves, space for others, and space for the unexpected.