Ways To Plan Ahead To Enjoy A Stress-Free Vacation

Going on vacation stirs up feelings of excitement, anticipation and stress. Sure, we all dream of sipping a drink on the beach or exploring a new city, but any vacation takes planning and budgeting. And the number of people succumbing to vacation planning stress is surprisingly high. According to a survey by MasterCard, 50 percent of Americans wish they could redo a past family vacation, and find the planning process stressful. Logistics ranging from dealing with the airport to deciding on a location are all major stressors.

The good news is simply planning ahead can go a long way to enjoying a stress-free vacation. From securing your property to keeping expectations in check, here’s how to start vacation planning.

Plan for safety

One of the most important parts of planning for a stress-free vacation all comes back to the idea of safety. Choosing a safe destination, figuring out how you’ll get to your hotel or resort with trusted transportation, and safeguarding your money is just the start. Remember your property also needs to be secured while you’re gone. Put a hold on your mail with the post office and ask a trusted neighbor to pick up flyers and newspapers from your driveway. Remember not to post specifics about your plans on social media, where people can catch wind of the fact you’ll be out of town. A security system is also a must. Look for a wire-free security camera system that is easy to install both inside and out, and offers motion detection; while you’re away, if the motion sensors detect heat or movement, the cameras will wake up and start recording.

Keep It Flexible

Vacations should be fun, especially if you’re looking to escape your busy life and get some much-needed downtime. That’s why it’s important to keep things flexible. Creating an itinerary can help make sure you see the best museums and attractions, but keep it flexible. Choose one thing a day and leave room to change your plans, wander or just sleep in. Staying flexible is also a good way to avoid disappointment when things don’t quite work out the way you want, whether a rainy day or shuttered attraction. The more flexible you are with room for adventure and spontaneity, the happier you’ll likely be.

Budget for Fun

The average vacation isn’t cheap. According to data from ValuePenguin, the cost-per-day of an average, domestic trip is $581 or $3,251 for an international trip. This number can escalate depending on your destination, entertainment and attraction costs. But the goal shouldn’t be cutting down your vacation expenses, it’s coming up with a budget that allows for more fun. Choosing an inexpensive destination, Airbnb rental instead of a fancy hotel and relying on free museum days and recreation like hiking are a few ways to start. But you can also create a revenue stream to fund your vacation whether freelancing, mowing lawns, errand running and more. Use the extra cash to help fund your vacation fun account year after year.

Set Work Boundaries

Work has a way of following us wherever we go, including on vacation. A survey from the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence found that 44 percent of workers reported checking work messages at least once a day while on vacation. Whether it’s because of habit, it actually offers peace of mind to know what’s going on at the office or because an employer demands it, the preoccupation can derail your vacation. Would-be vacationers should set work boundaries from the start and let your boss and team members what to expect. Outline exactly how often work messages are checked, if at all, and set firm boundaries and stick to them.

Going on vacation shouldn’t be so difficult, but it takes take planning to make it stress-free. Regardless of where you go, focus on safety, fun and decompression time for a successful vacation.

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