Travel Do’s and Don’ts: Reclaim Your Summer!

Mindful Living Network, Mindful Living, Dr. Kathleen Hall, The Stress Institute, OurMLN.com, MLN, Alter Your Life, Mindful, Mindful Family, Family

Taking time for vacation and leisure is not a luxury, it’s a necessity! Vacations are essential for your mental and physical health. The chronic stress of work can lead to emotional and physical illness – if you don’t get away from work, you have no opportunity for reflection and creative thought. Vacations create adventure, play, new ideas, new perspective and family bonding. These things will enhance your work. It is time to reclaim your summer.

Did you know:

  • 27% of American workers give back more than a week of vacation each year
  • 1/3 take working vacations and 60% canceled, postponed or shortened a vacation because of a heavy workload
  • 60% of American workers say it takes until day 3 to even disengage from work, if they ever do completely.

When you are out of balance and chronically stressed, you have the potential to develop heart disease, insomnia, cancer, depression, anxiety disorders, diabetes, obesity and many other conditions and diseases.

Here’s our Mindful Travel Do’s and Don’ts for: Reclaim your summer vacations!

Do Pre-Plan

Surf the Internet to discover all you can about where you are going and what is available: hotel, food, restaurants, activities (snorkeling, skiing, hiking, gambling, beaches, pools, transportation).

Don’t Overbook

Avoid packing too many activities into a short period of time. You’ll be miserable if you have a tight schedule with no breathing room. Also don’t travel to too many destinations on one trip. You will be stressed out packing-unpacking and acclimating to each new destination.

Don’t Overspend

Finances cause great stress. After researching the activities available, food, hotels etc, have a family meeting and discuss what each person wants to do on this vacation. Then match up the cost of each activity and meal with each desire and begin a budget. This tells you ahead of time what you can afford to do. It is so much easier than getting there and arguing or spending money you don’t have that will show up on your credits cards when you get home.

Do Spend Alone-Time

Decide on 2-3 hours a day for each person to do what they want to do. This may be reading, swimming, playing games or whatever. Then the other time can be family time. This allows each person to honor their own space and practice self-care. This keeps the family time from getting overwhelming and stressful.

Do Health Care Pre-Planning

Make sure to take a bag with aspirin, Tylenol, antibiotics, sunscreen and any other medications your family may need. If someone in your family has health concerns make sure you know what health care is available at your destination.

Do Expect the Unexpected

Have a family meeting and talk about this vacation being a learning experience. It is like an adventure that you can only plan so much, and everything else is the universe teaching you something. This way when planes are delayed, restaurants are closed and the hotel doesn’t meet your standards, you can smile and say, “Isn’t this interesting, what can I learn from this?”

Don’t Under or Over Pack

A little wardrobe pre-planning will make the trip less stressful. Pack and travel appropriate clothes for planned activities and take special care with dressy clothes.

Don’t Invite Boredom

Children get bored easily so, let each child bring along whatever they love to do as play. That may be a GameBoy, cards, books, etc. This will cut down the fighting and stress of the group being together for many hours and days.

Do Plan Time For Work if ABSOLUTELY Necessary

Arrange with your office to be available for one hour a day – check and return email and phone messages only during this time block. Leave your cell phone and laptop in the hotel room – if you are worried about getting in touch with family members, schedule meeting times/locations for planned family activities or to check in during the day at a predetermined location. Agree upon and strike the right balance between family and work – giving each the respect they deserve.

Do Practice Stress Reduction

Before you leave on your vacation go over some simple stress reduction techniques. Deep Breathing, Yoga stretches, walking off your tension, guided imagery or meditation, drinking water while focusing on the relaxing effects of it on your body, journal or carry some meditation or prayer beads with you.

Definitely Play and Have Fun

From the very beginning, reinforce the message: this is about our family having fun and playing. Whatever you do, this is not about a “perfect vacation,” that is too much pressure and too many expectations. Keep reinforcing your expectations of “fun and play.”

Remember, vacation time is YOUR time, so make the best of it!