My sister has a quirky set of vacation rules. Consume pork products, take a daily nap, go braless (preferably wear a bikini) and eat ice cream every day. This is a reminder to herself that she can step away from the usual routine of schedules, deadlines, and healthy habits because vacation is about letting go, living in the moment and recharging.
To prepare to go on vacation is, of course, an entirely different beast. On top of the daily routine and wrap-up of work projects, we need to find time to organize, plan and pack for our vacation adventure. We can become so stressed and cranky from the preparations it detracts from the excitement of going on vacation altogether.
So how do you avoid pre-vacation stress? K.I.S.S. Keep it simple silly and follow these guidelines.
- Prepare a to-do list with the estimated time needed to complete each task.
- Do not leave everything to do the day before you depart. Stress alert!!!
- Break tasks into smaller parts. Add these to your agenda. Can you complete a task at work, during your lunch hour or in the evening?
- Delegate tasks to family members. Your children and partner are capable of helping, even the youngest. Does it really matter if they do it their way and not your way?
- Communicate needs and expectations, don’t get lost in lists. What realistically can get done or needs to be done?
- Have you always stressed before you’ve gone on vacation? Use your past experience to determine how much preparation time you might need.
- Arrange travel documents, insurance, vaccines, at the time of booking. Put essential documents in a folder with your suitcase prior to packing.
- Get pedicures, haircuts and beauty treatments a few days before you leave. Mentally your vacation has begun; you should be beginning to relax.
- Who will take care of the pets, water the plants? Leave a reserve key by a friend or neighbors for emergencies.
- Going by car? Ensure it’s had a check-up.
- Begin pre-packing several evenings before by laying out what you wish to take. Ask your children to do the same. It gets them involved and ensures that their favorite t-shirt or toy isn’t left behind.
- Does anything need to be washed? Get caught up on laundry or wash only what you plan on packing.
- The night before review what you have pre-packed, now reduce it by half. Don’t over pack, we often take far more than we need and use only a small percentage. Don’t take things for “just in case”, or a pair of shoes for every outfit. Mix and match clothing components to reduce the number of items you pack.
FOR WHEN YOU RETURN
- Who wants to cook the night before everyone returns to school or work? Make a large meal one evening for dinner and freeze half of it for your return.
- Shower the night before and put clean sheets on the bed. When vacation is over you’ll return to a fresh bed for a restful night sleep.
- Avoid coming home to pungent smells. Before you walk out the door empty the fridge and take out the garbage.
Now repeat after me, “Forget perfect, good is enough”. This should be your mantra while prepping for vacation. Will the world fall apart while you are away? No, and you will quickly forget about dirty socks and unanswered emails once you’ve arrived at your destination because vacation rules!