Take the pressure off.
Ever felt the need to make a Friday night so fun that it ended up being the complete opposite? When you’ve got limited vacation days on top of a hectic work schedule, an upcoming trip can easily become the only thing you look forward to for months. Tons of pressure to make that vacation perfect can end up backfiring on you. Just think of it as a Monday night that just so happens to become one of the highlights of your month. Sometimes the best memories you make on vacation are those that unexpectedly come from a good conversation, a tasty meal, and the wonderful people around you.
Keep a loose, flexible itinerary.
It’s important to remember that unplanned events can account for a lot of your vacation time. You don’t want a delayed flight, slight snooze, or cancelled tour to throw your entire itinerary off. Try to plan some activities for specific days, but leave some days completely open. When your schedule’s flexible, you’re not rushing to complete everything on your travel wish list; you’re exploring a hidden street, catching up on sleep at the beach for a few hours, or relaxing at a cafe over an espresso. You’re learning to enjoy the down time, which is the entire reason you went on vacation in the first place.
Set a collective goal for your trip.
Traveling with others can become extremely stressful at times, because everyone has a different set of preferences. What if your partner wants a beach day and you want to go explore the old town? What if your friends expected this trip to be a party weekend, and you’ve been looking forward to bubble baths and watching movies in your hotel bed? When planning your vacation with other people, have a discussion with your group to set a collective goal for the upcoming trip—are you aiming for relaxation, adventure, romance, or celebration? Doing this will avoid those awkward moments when you realize that your expectations differ from theirs.
Do your research in advance.
It is and always will be a good idea to do as much research as you can about your destination: Look into everything from public transportation, restaurant options, cab estimates, and visa requirements. The more you know before you leave the better.
We’ve all been guilty of over packing. Too much luggage makes the inescapable struggles of travel—getting to and from the airport, waiting to check into your hotel, dealing with baggage claim—that much more difficult. Keep your clothing options easy and only pack the necessities—easier said than done, I know, but there are certain things you can leave behind. Air dry your hair, and leave your blowdryer at home. Don’t pack the heels you know you’ll never wear, and pack your comfortable sandals instead. Avoid baggage claim by fitting everything you bring into your carry-on. We promise it’s better to under pack and be comfortable than to over pack and be exhausted.