Number 4: Prepare for the journey.
Again, this one sounds obvious. After all, you did just determine where you were going, when you were going, and how much it was going to cost. But have you decided exactly what you might do while you are there? Have you familiarized yourself with the possibilities? Many people simply decide they are going to the beach, lounging in a chair, reading a book, and getting a tan. What, however, will you do if it rains? What if you get sunburned on the first day? While there is a great deal to be said for going to the beach, lounging, reading, and getting a tan, there might be something a little more fun.
While planning this vacation, I found a culinary tour that interested me. While I enjoy cooking, I really don’t have a set of recipes from foreign nations. So I signed up for this trip. It’s important to note that I knew there would be a lot of walking while we visited several different restaurants throughout the city. In preparation for this, I started walking a lot more than I usually do. It paid off when we were trekking up hills and down steps. I was able to stay beside the tour guide and, consequently, learned about the government, laws, history, and culture as we walked between restaurants! I couldn’t have had a better time – all because I had prepared for the journey.
Just as I have advised homeschoolers to prepare for field trips, a little research before a vacation can make a big difference in the quality of the trip. This is a great opportunity for you to explore areas of interest to you that you don’t get to entertain in your day to day life.
Number 5: Meet people.
Of course, you’re going to meet people. Yes, you will dislike some of them. However, you might find some that you like a great deal. What easier way can you meet people from places besides your home town than when you’re on vacation?
While on our vacation last week, we met some of the most delightful people we’ve ever known. The first night we were on the dance floor of the lounge, we met some other dancers. These weren’t just average dancers, though. These were world-class dancers! They compete nationally, and it would have been incredibly simple to be intimidated by them – if they had been intimidating. They were not. Herman and Tanya (you know I changed the names) were very gracious, and we even got to dance with them. Just how often do you think a girl like me gets to dance with a national competitor? It was not only a privilege for me to dance with Herman, but it was just plain fun. They also own a dance studio that my husband plans to visit when he travels to their hometown on a business trip.
It is quite easy to find people with similar interests while traveling. They will be the people who are doing the same things that you are. If you’re walking through the baseball museum, you can bet that everyone else there will be a baseball fan. Don’t be afraid to ask who they think the best pitcher of all time is. You might just make a friend and have someone else to play fantasy baseball with next season.
Number 6: Savor the moment – every single one.
This one is not so obvious. The last time I was on a vacation, in an incredibly similar environment to the one I just took, I forgot this. I allowed the children, and adults, jumping on and off the elevator in front of me to annoy me. I thought I had to do things that everyone else was doing just because everyone else was doing them. I let the little things get on my nerves.
Not this vacation! I savored every single minute, every event, every meal, and every person. One day as I sat at brunch, I found myself wondering when I would next get to enjoy eggs Benedict. I started to be sad because I knew it would be a long time before my next vacation. So I reached for another bite of poached egg and Canadian bacon and rubbed it in the Hollandaise sauce. When I bit into it, I enjoyed every individual flavor. Why be sad about something when I can enjoy it instead? I had fun with every single dance I had. I relished sitting in the adults only area filled only with peace and quiet while I read. Each moment was treated as a gift that I treasured.
Yes, things are going to go wrong on your vacation. Some waiter will be rude. An obnoxious drunk will spill his drink on your beach towel. Children will act inappropriately and their parents will forget to parent them. When these things happen, just ask yourself how important they really are in the grand scheme of your vacation and happiness. If you’re honest, they probably won’t matter all that much. Besides, it really is up to you to decide how you will respond to each of these. Choose to enjoy your vacation regardless of anything else.
For the average wage earner, vacations don’t come very often. Some advanced planning on your part can make this time quite special. Choose to be thankful for the time away from work and stress instead of worrying or fussing over details. Have an attitude of joy and enjoy the journey.