I’m just back from vacation – including a 95% vacay from what you’re reading this on. (Tech break = MUCH needed + highly recommended!)
Traveling, including the days leading up to and the first days back, can be stressful. While we don’t have control over the weather or airplane schedule, we can take control over these things:
Five tips that make traveling – and returning – more enjoyable:
1. Use a Travel Checklist:
I’ve shared some of my favorite packing tips before but wanted to emphasize again the value of using a travel checklist – a place that captures (KEY: IN ONE PLACE!) what you need to pack AND what you need to do before you leave.
I’ll print out and clip my travel checklist onto my clipboard several days before a trip and when something pops into my head (“Oh, I need to bring this” or “I need to make sure I do that before leaving”) I jot it down.
And when I pack the item or do the task, I’ll cross it off the list. That way I’m just looking at what’s still left to do or pack. It’s my traveling game changer. You can grab exactly what I use right here:
2. Designate homes for each type of item:
Just like at home, having a specific place to keep each group of items is a tremendous help, both on the way there (in your car or carry-on bag) AND once you get to your destination:
When you arrive, take a few minutes to unpack, designating specific places for:
- wallet / purse
- digital items (remember to label those cords so no confusion – i.e., “disagreements”!)
- luggage contents
Example: Last week we had a specific spot for each family’s non-bedroom items: my sister and her family had one side table and my family had another. (And my parents are good about actually returning stuff to their bedroom so they were set.)
3. Add in a little self-care:
Disconnect from (or at least limit) the digital stuff. Exercise – even if just 10 minutes. Drink water. Have at least one healthy meal a day.
I took my yoga mat – which I did not use :/! but I did do tons of walking on the beach. Looking for shells was something I started doing when my kids were little. It was my excuse to get away with no possibility of interruption!
I recently read that the beach can put you in a meditative state – the sound and smell of the ocean.. the feel of the sand, water, sun, breeze .. and of course the beautiful sites no matter what time of year you go.
These days I practically have to beg my kids (now teens!) to hang out with me, but I still love going on those shell searching walks. Funny how my escape in one sense of the word has turned into an escape in another!
4. Block off a day after vacation “vacation”:
If possible, block off that first work day (even if you work at home) for getting yourself back in order: catch up on email and mail, laundry and anything else needed to bring you back up to speed.
Another benefit: ending vacation won’t be quite so rough knowing you aren’t faced with back to back meetings, appointments and commitments that first day back. Something else that helps with those end of vacation blues …
5. Schedule something to look forward to:
In a perfect world, our life would feel like a vacation even when we’re not on one. But for most of us that’s not quite a reality. Be intentional by planning something special to look forward to when you return. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – it can be something you do by yourself or with friends, at home or away.
A little organizing (yes, even on vacation!) can do wonders to reduce stress and increase fun.
Don’t forget to download my (free!) Travel Checklist: