5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Vacation Time

I am headed on a Bahamas cruise for the next 5 days and, while anticipation is high, I am already lamenting how quickly those 5 days are going to pass. So, this morning I spent a little time researching what other travelers do to ensure they meet their vacation objectives (I know, so type A).

Tip #1. Know your objectives. 

Vacation time can be filled with any number of activities. You can have a great adventure, a few small adventures, relax every day by a pool, read really great books you’ve been putting off, experience somewhere or something new, or just bond with your fellow travelers.

If you aren’t cognizant of what you want to get out of your trip and are only focused on where you are going, you can have a few regrets when you board your return flight. It’s also key to understand your fellow traveler’s objectives. If they conflict with your own, you may  need to compromise ahead of time to avoid your bored friend’s pouty face while you consume a thick fiction novel.

For my cruise, my primary objective is quality time with people I care about. My mother and sister will be my cruising companions and girls only time is a rare occurrence with my mom living in Georgia. Secondary objective of trying everything new that I can. The itinerary already includes cooking local sea fare in Freeport and a “water coaster” in Nassau.

Tip #2. Pack light.

While I, like most people I imagine, have a strong urge to pack everything I could possibly need, I will be forcing myself to pack minimally, although the laptop is still on the list in order to facilitate at least two expensive blog posts (satellite internet access on the boat is a tad pricey).

Most trips are centered around one to two activities and the lighter you pack, the easier to is to get to your vacation comfortably and the more focused you can be while on vacation. On my trip I will be swimming, sunbathing, and walking around the ports. I just need a swimming suit, tennis shoes, a good pair of shorts, a couple shirts, and a pair of jeans and a light jacket, just in case.

Tip #3. Go with the flow!

This should be Tip #1 since the only folks interested in reading an ordered list of tips for getting the most out of their vacation are TYPE A to the hilt. We very often ruin our own vacations, taking others down with our desperate need to control the trip, see every sight, and have everything go according to plan. Guess what, that’s impossible.

The key to the best vacation ever is to make the most out of unexpected delays and detours from your original plan (and have a flexible plan in the first place). If it rains when we are in Nassau, having already paid for a day at the water resort? Instead of getting down about our lost opportunity and lost money, we will be better served by putting our hair up, grabbing our jackets, and exploring the city on our own, crafting fun memories along the way.

Tip #4. Disconnect. 

This can be hard for most, but it is low on my list because I have discovered the value even at home of disconnecting. Turn your network service off on your phone as much as possible so that all calls go to voicemail without you even knowing you had a call. Check your messages as infrequently as possible. Better yet, identify an emergency method to get in touch with you through your cruise ship or hotel and then completely neglect your voicemails and emails for your entire trip. They will find you if you are truly needed.

Tip #5. Start vacationing ahead of time. 

This is a clever little trick that I can appreciate. When you go on vacation, there are so many to do lists, lingering projects, and little details whirling through your normally crammed brain that it can days if not your entire vacation to simply stop adding up what’s next. Many of us have brain rest high on the priority list for our vacation because we are burnt out. Don’t continue to burn while you are away from work.

The trick is to start a day or two in advance of your trip. Begin to delegate your tasks for the coming week as far ahead of time as reasonable. Forward your emails and calls. Make a final list of priority to dos, make sure they will either be managed or can wait, and then throw it away. Practice brain quiet time, forcing  yourself to think about nothing for longer and longer stretches. If you have to, simply picture yourself fully relaxed on your vacation. This way, when you actually are in your beach chair, you can let go and recharge like you planned.

What are your tips or rules for a fulfilling and memorable vacation?

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