Everybody needs a vacation from time to time. But whether you’re running a company or a household, it can be hard to take time for a timeout. With the pressures of work, family, or school, most people find that their workload increases dramatically beforehand when they go on vacation.
Suddenly, everyone needs things completed before you go, which leaves you feeling stressed and unprepared. Sometimes, you’re too tired to enjoy your vacation during the first few days. But if you get just two weeks each year, you’ll want to make the most of every moment. Check out these five ways of maximizing your vacation time to the fullest:
Research Before You Go
OK, so you’re busy, and you may not have time to learn the language or check out every last detail. But you know all that time you spend on the computer at work or your smartphone at home? Dedicate some of it to researching before you go. Try checking out customer reviews, rather than the hotel or apartment write-up. Sites like Tripadvisor are great for finding details you’d normally only get upon arrival. The swimming pool is closed out of season, there’s construction work going on next door, or the windows don’t close properly.
But Don’t Over-Plan
There’s nothing like ruining a perfect opportunity to relax than by trying to overflow your itinerary. Just because there are hundreds of things to do and sights to see doesn’t mean you need to do and see them all. Sometimes, the best way to get the essence of a country is by wandering the streets and soaking up the environment.
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If you over-plan your vacation, you’ll spend it in the back of a tour bus, waking up at dawn each day and coming home more tired than when you left.
Learn Some of the Language
If your eyes roll at the prospect of taking language classes or you don’t have the time, don’t worry. You don’t need to contract to have a good time in Mexico. But learning how to say a few simple greetings and phrases, such as please and thank you, will help you enjoy your vacation. Why? Because the locals will appreciate the effort and go that extra mile for you when needed. Whether it’s helping you find your way, serving you a better drink, or kick-starting a lifelong friendship.
Packing twice is the best way to ensure you don’t over-pack, especially if you like to prepare for every eventuality. But with airline restrictions on baggage and using public transport at your destination, you don’t want to pay for excess weight or have to lug it around with you. So pack everything you think you’ll need, then take it all out and fill again, removing the candles, first aid kit, flashlight, and six extra pairs of shoes. Unless you’re trekking in the Amazon, you won’t need additional illumination – and the six pairs of shoes, well – you can probably make do with less.
Hire a Local Guide
Finally, if you want to get the most out of the place you’re staying in, think about hiring a local guide when you get there. Not only will you pay this less way, but you’ll also be supporting the local economy and finding out real information that only the locals know. They can take you down the paths fewer tourists take, show you where the local people eat and drink, and give you a more authentic experience than following a group of tourists around a city.
Whatever you do, remember that time is precious, so instead of stressing about transport, worrying about accommodation, or thinking about work, relax. You’re on vacation. It’s time to enjoy your well-deserved time off.