Whenever I plan a trip for anyone (and considering I don’t travel all that often, you’d be surprised at how often I have done this for other people), I always joke about the extra work involved in taking time off. Vacations are supposed to be restorative, relaxing and fun but it’s easy to get caught up in stressing over the details of planning your holiday. Next thing you know, you’ve spent the first two days of your vacation trying to come down off of the adrenaline rush.
I’m not going to sugar-coat the truth for you and tell you there’s some magical formula that will leave you completely worry-free when planning your vacation. But if you are planning to take time off of work, here are a few ideas to get you from stressed out to stoked.
Do thy research. It’s a good idea to store all of the details concerning your flight, your accommodations, etc. all in one place for easy reference. In doing this, you may find you’ve missed a step (do you know how you’re getting to the hotel from the airport?) It’s also a good idea to check if your passport and any other travel documents are up-to-date, as well as your travel vaccines. If you’re traveling to some place exotic, make sure you read up on the weather, currency and other issues you might feel are of concern to your health and/or safety. A prepared, informed traveler is a safe, happy and healthy one.
Tie up loose ends. There’s nothing worse than trying to pick up a colleague’s project and realize that you have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Leaving someone or something dangling at work is impolite, unprofessional and not a great scene for anyone involved. You don’t want to leave someone with a mess of a project, and let’s face it- you don’t really want to deal with that mess when you come back to work, do you?
Make an action plan for your absence. If you’re taking work with you, make sure you have the appropriate means to get done what you need to get done. If someone else needs to get something done while you’re away and they need your input, let them know how best to get in touch with you, if at all. (Kind of like Number 2).
Plan your vacation before you leave. Too often we expect ourselves to come back from vacation and jump right into the thick of things, which sounds almost as stressful as not having a vacation at all. Do yourself a favor and don’t spend most of your vacation anticipating your return to work. Take an extra day off to unpack, schedule catch-up time, telecommute or do whatever it is you need to do to make sure the stress of transitioning back to the workplace doesn’t counteract the positive, relaxing effects of your vacation.
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Unless you want to be associated with this elusive anti-hero, please inform the appropriate authorities of where you are going- your loved ones, your boss, etc. I once was hired for a job because one of the employees decided she was going to take off to Australia for a month and not tell anyone. It may seem like common sense, but this really, truly did happen and I want to make sure you don’t make the same mistake!
If you know ahead of time where you’re going, what you’ll need and what’s going to happen when you get back you can automatically forget everything else. You’ve done the work already. Now: sit back, relax, and have a margarita. Those are B’s orders.
I bet you anything that you travel more than I do (it’s not that difficult) so if you’ve got more travel tips to share, I’d love to hear them! Comment below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may choose to share them in another travel-related post.
Or you could just tell me stories about your travels, really. My goal is to live vicariously through other people’s vacations.