Updated: Jan 28, 2019
National Plan a Vacation Day is January 29. Traveling is one of my favorite activities, preferably by plane, though I do enjoy a long road trip or train ride. I often come home recharged, bursting with new ideas and a greater appreciation for my life.
Research shows we are happiest when we spend money on experiences, not things. Instead of purchasing that new flat screen or the latest smart phone, consider taking a trip. My most memorable vacation is my trip to Italy in 2015, my first international trip as an adult. 5 cities in 10 days, a whirlwind of adventure.
Here are a few helpful tips for planning your dream vacay:
1. Clarify What Makes You Happy. Do you prefer sand between your toes on the beach, skiing in the Alps or a wine tour of Tuscany? If you are traveling with family, balance your needs and wants to find a happy medium.
2. Book Reservations Now. Tourist attractions, museums and hotels fill up fast. Reserve accommodations early as many can be changed a few days before your trip. Give yourself peace of mind of knowing where you will be staying.
3. Start Saving Early. Give yourself enough time and most trips can be paid for without maxing out those tempting credit cards. Be realistic and make sure the destination is somewhere you really want to visit. Also, consider going during the tourist off season.
4. Packing Lists Are Your Best Friend. Make a list of everything you want to bring. Be sure to mix and match outfits, accessories and pack light. Give your back a break! Don't forget to leave a little extra room for souveniers. Consider water resistant clothing as well.
4. Send Copies of Your Itinerary and Passport to Family. Make sure your family knows where you will be and how to reach you in case of emergency. Strange things sometimes happen when we are out of town.
5. Allow for Down Time. Often, we all need down time when traveling. Sometimes, our feet may hurt from walking, our energy may become depleted more quickly or we may just want to chill for a bit in our rooms. This is especially true if traveling with a partner or kids.
6. Bring Snacks! We often forget the snacks when packing. Snack prices are often outrageous in airports and gift shops. Avoid the "hangries" by packing your favorite snacks that your tummy loves. I'm not a fan of plane pretzels or nuts and like to bring my own favorite munchies. Plus, my stomach can go a bit haywire when traveling.
7. Enjoy the journey. Too often we focus on everything going according to plan. Of course, this rarely happens. Make the best of changes to your plans. Understand travel can be stressful for your family. Get outside your comfort zone and try a new food or new activity.
Hope these tips are helpful! For happiness tips or ways to let go of self-doubt and worry, keep checking out our blog. Safe travels!