Gary Schofield, Eagle 97.7 Weekdays Noon-7pm
’Tis the season for day trips, long weekends and extended vacations, so since I just returned from my family vacation, I thought it may be helpful to share some tips that I learned from that trip. Most importantly taking your vacation is an essential part to not only your own health and well being, but also to the relationships that you hold most dear to you, I mean when’s the last time you haven’t been apart from your husband for more than a couple of hours straight?
Vacation, whether you take a trip or stay right at home, is the opportunity to disconnect from the day to day, reconnect with some awesome people in your life and just relax and recharge. But taking a vacation can be almost as stressful as what you’re trying to get away from so I hope this helps make your experience more enjoyable.
Sometimes the hardest part of your vacation will simply be the preparation, packing, planning when you are leaving, getting the car ready, etc. For me packing is pretty simple, do you have a bathingsuit and your toothbrush? Ok good, throw in a clean pair of underwear and maybe one outfit if you ever do get inclined to pull away from the pool bar and you’re ready to roll. Of course I’m kidding, but only a little bit. Keep it simple, try to bring only what you need, and does it really matter if you wear the same t-shirt twice? That couple in the next room from Wisconsin probably won’t remember you anyway. Something you probably won’t be thinking about when you are getting ready to leave for your vacation is coming back, do your best to not leave your house a total mess because the last thing you’ll want to deal with when you return from your trip is a mess at home, trust me, it could take days for you to have the strength to deal with it.
Now if you’re traveling by car, of course you probably have a DVD player and all the kids have some sort of device to keep them from talking to you, but if you want to harken back to the good old days when there was nothing to do in the car but read and listen to the radio, try playing some car games. I learned a new one on this last trip that was pretty fun, my wife called it the alphabet game, where we had to find words on signs along the road that started with each letter of the alphabet starting with “a” and so on. Trying to find words that started with Q, Z or X was a challenge, but seeing different signs and town names and business while you’re traveling did spur some interesting questions and conversation and really make the ride go by.
Now once you’ve arrived at your destination I have 3 key ideas that can maximize the enjoyment of your trip, no matter where you go. The first is to not over schedule yourself, if everyone in your group has 1 or 2 must do things, then you prioritize to do that, for example I wanted a couple days by the pool, my wife wanted to do a Seafood outing and the boys wanted water park and to hit certain roller coasters, so we made a simple plan to accomplish those things and then filled in the gaps with other things to keep the trip fun, sometimes over planning can make the trip feel more like work than a vacation.
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. I can’t stress this enough, even if you’re not going to the beach or pool, there is nothing more uncomfortable than trying to move around with a sunburn, I remember one time I went to the shore with my friends family and fell asleep on the beach and the back of my legs go so burnt that I stayed in bed for the next two days because it hurt to walk, so don’t let sunburn ruin your trip.
Here was the third thing that was new to our vacation this year, we made a rule that if we could do it at home, then we couldn’t do it on our vacation, because part of visiting somewhere new is to get a feel for the local vibe and culture. So no fast food chains or restaurants, we even tried our best to only hit local stores for shopping, it was a really cool way to see more of the town we were in and you can even do a variation of this if you are staycationing, just modify it to doing things you haven’t done before, visit a new restaurant, check out a different beach or new state park, keep it fun.
Fun, that’s the point, a vacation is not supposed to cause you more anxiety, you are stepping away from the everyday to try and reduce that, so I’ve found over the years that these things can help, but no matter what you do, take your time away and disconnect from the everyday, we all need a break so be sure to take it and enjoy it with people you love.
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