How To Avoid Vacation Burnout, According To Travel Experts
Summer vacations are supposed to leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and with a new attitude about your day to day responsibilities. But flight delays, lost luggage, reservation issues, and other travel mishaps can turn your dream trip into a nightmare. And by day five of your weeklong trip, you can feel yourself getting vacation burnout from dealing with all the logistics and other random stressors that come up.
“Usually, it’s the basics that trip travelers up,” Mel Dohmen, the senior brand manager at Orbitz, tells Bustle. In fact, a 2017 survey conducted by the site Simplemost found that, of the 8,000 people polled, money, safety, and travel to and from a destination were the top three vacation stressors.
While there are definitely things that can go awry with summer getaways, research has shown the health benefits outweigh the potential stress that may arise. As TIME reported, taking a vacation can leave you feeling reenergized, helps put you in a healthier mindset with new surroundings, and boosts your overall mental wellness. Further, a 2018 study found people who take vacays live longer. (Can’t afford to take a vacation? A recent study showed meditation reduces stress in a similar way to taking trips.)
So, whether you’re gearing up for a cross-country road trip, flying to a tropical destination, or backpacking through Europe, here are eight hacks from travel experts that will make your summer excursions so much more enjoyable.
1. Learn About Your Destination Beforehand
Google can be your friend for any last-minute questions you have while on a trip, but researching your destination beforehand can alleviate some stress associated with the unknowns. "Look up your local transportation options, get an idea for how much things cost, and if there’s something you for sure want to see, purchase tickets in advance," Dohmen says. This also may mean downloading a translation app if you're journeying to a country where you don't speak the language.
2. Take Time For Self-Care
Vacation burnout is a real thing, and and it can truly make or break the quality of your travels. "Even though you are on a trip you’ve been looking forward to, all of the exploring, navigating in a different culture and even language, and constantly being on the go start to get very tiring," Kristin Addis, the writer and photographer of Be My Travel Muse, explains. "Realistically, taking a break and resting is part of the joy of vacationing, too. [...] Remember that self-care like rest, perhaps a massage, or letting yourself watch Netflix is totally OK."
3. Make Your Time Spent At The Airport Less Stressful
There's no hard research, but many millennials report having flying anxiety, or specific anxiety related to the travel portion of a big trip. So, making the airport a less nerve-wracking experience may help make your trip more enjoyable overall. Dohmen suggests to arrive at the airport early to grab a bite to eat, make copies of your important information (such as your license and passport) to store with folks at home, choose a few podcasts or audiobooks to help pass the time as you wait for your flight, and make sure to download apps of your travel agency so you can easily get in touch with a representative if there's an issue.
4. Leave Yourself Some Wiggle Room
"Not building in enough travel time is a mistake we all make at some point — after all, we’re all anxious to start our vacations. But when you’re rushed, you’re stressed," says Dohmen. "So, always build in extra time in your travel schedule to get places, and you’ll be less stressed when something does go wrong." One way to avoid this hassle is to leave empty slots of time in between any reservations or activities, in case of unanticipated traffic, weather, or last-second detours.
5. Say "No" Sometimes
As much as you may want to, you cannot hit every hotspot, eat at every popular restaurant, or participate in every activity while you're on a vacation. "Learn how to say 'no.' When we travel, we want to do everything, but sometimes being more selective on activities, destinations, and trips allows us to slow down and truly enjoy the experience," Stephanie Be, the TravelBreak blogger, and founder of the BUENA app, says. "Don't always FOMO, but flaunt a JOMO (joy of missing out)."
Addis adds that it's important to "let go of the need to always be doing something."
5. Stick To Your Budget
Ali Killam, a consumer trends expert at Airbnb, says that, "Travel doesn’t have to break the bank — stick to a budget. Airbnb offers everything from private rooms to hotel rooms, entire homes, treehouses, and more, at all price points." In addition, consider setting a budget for your meals, transportation, and activities so you don't end up flying home without enough money to pay your monthly bills.
6. Don't Overpack
According to Francesca Murray, a multimedia journalist and founder of One Girl One World, it's helpful to travel light. "Overpacking is like a domino effect, starting with the fact that you are stuck carrying around heavy luggage. It can strain your back, and be difficult to travel with if your plans include taking trains and buses. It can also lead to paying higher fees," she says. "The best way to avoid this is to travel with a carry-on only. That way, you know your luggage will never be lost by an airline, and you’ll have less things to keep track of during your trip."
What's more, you might want extra room to make for any purchases you make while you're on vacay, and packing your bags to the brim will make that difficult.
7. On Group Trips, Have Everyone Contribute
Adventuring with friends or family can be fun, but also stressful if you're shouldering most of the planning — so, dole out different tasks. "Divide and conquer some of the travel planning responsibilities. Put one person in charge of dining, and ask another to pick out a few activities for the group," Dohmen says. "That way, you won’t feel like all the decisions are on you, and everyone will feel invested in making sure the trip goes smoothly."
8. Act Like A Tourist
It may be fun to try to explore a new destination like a "native," but hitting up the tourist-y attractions can be fun, too. "Hire a tour guide, or book a bus tour! I know some travelers find those hop-on-hop-off buses to be a bit corny or outdated, but if you have a limited amount of time in a place, they can be an amazing way to check off all the highlights in a short period of time," says Murray.
Vacations should leave you feeling the "good" kind of tired, rather than leaving you needing time to recover when you get home. With these pro-tips, you'll be able to feel refreshed and renewed after your sunny travels. Say goodbye to summer burnout.