Americans—my friends—we are terrible at vacationing.
Not everyone is guaranteed paid vacation time, and those that are usually only get two weeks! It’s a shame because going on vacations can offer so many health benefits. Yes, it’s good to work, but it’s also good to take breaks. Taking breaks makes us more creative and reenergizes our brains. Because of our inability to have long enough vacations, we usually feel we have to cram everything into those two vacation weeks, which leaves us unrefreshed and unsatisfied. So this week’s post is about how we can simply chill when we’re on vacation!
You might not be a ferocious scheduler like I am, so this may be easy for you. But whenever I see a blank spot in my schedule my brain starts to come up with ways to fill it. This can be especially difficult to fight off on vacation. If you’re going somewhere new, you want to see all it has to offer! I can see the appeal of cramming in the highlights of a city, but you’ll miss the culture and milieu. Take some time to let yourself wander in a new city—noticing things you wouldn’t otherwise. This can often be more enjoyable than rushing from site to site trying to do the top 10 things the city has to offer.
This sounds almost heretical to us who have serious FOMO. “Take a nap on vacation?! I haven’t even covered half of my to-do list!” Stress is for the workplace, friend, not vacation. Allow yourself to listen to your body’s needs for once. Is it midday and you’re tired from walking all morning? Go take a quick little nap; you’ll feel so much better and you’ll be able to enjoy your evening that much more!
Eat Long Meals
America has a reputation for always being on-the-go! We’ve perfected the fast food, the car food, the TV food, the at-your-desk-food. Everyone is so busy that we hardly ever pay attention to the tastes and textures we shove in our mouth. Other countries do not have this problem. Meals are meant to be enjoyed with good food and good friends. When you go out for a meal on your next trip, allow yourself to take two, three hours to just enjoy eating and being.
Book a Hosted Tour Instead of an Escorted Tour
When you think of booking a tour, I can almost guarantee you think of an escorted tour. An escorted tour involves being led around by a tour guide with some meals and almost all activities included. In an escorted tour you move at the pace the tour company has set or risk getting left behind. Tour companies have definitely gotten better about not rushing around too much, but if you want to move at a chiller pace, book a hosted tour. The price of a hosted tour includes your hotel, transfers to your hotel, maybe one or two activities, but the rest is up to you. And on top of that, someone at your hotel is available to help you book other activities you wish to do! (A hosted tour company I am fond of is Monograms. They have some excellent tours!)
Skip the Cruise
(Cruises are great, but not necessarily for chilling!) I have been on exactly one cruise—it was amazing. However we only went to one port and stayed there for four days. I did not have to deal with getting off and on the ship in a timely manner every day. I did not have to cram everything I wanted to do in a port into a few hours. I could do everything at my leisure. Most cruises are not like this. The appeal of docking in one port for a long time is starting to catch on, but the majority of cruises port-hop. If you want to experience an island on “island time,” book lodgings on the island for a few days instead of hopping to a new island each day.
Ah yes, my hippy leanings are really shining in this blog post. What does be present even mean? If you’ll recall, last year I wrote a blog post about being mindful while you travel—that goes into more detail about what I mean here. Vacation involves a lot of literal travel. You have to get from Point A to Point B in the allotted time or risk missing your flight, train, cab, etc. Vacation time can be spent stressing about where you’re going next without fully appreciating where you are. So take some time to really notice things when you travel; use your five senses. Smell the smells a little deeper; taste the tastes a little stronger; see the leaves on the trees. You’ll have a more enjoyable trip, and you’ll get all the health benefits vacations offer!
Now get out there and chill!