Whether you’re the family’s designated travel coordinator or better known for your exceptional solo adventure itineraries, travel planning takes patience, persistence, and sometimes a bit of luck. And while there’s no greater feeling than seeing a trip idea manifest into a perfectly-planned getaway, after your hard work is complete, you shouldn’t need a vacation from your vacation, either. Here are four tips for taking the stress out of travel—and travel planning.
Give yourself more options when planning
Travel dates, departure times, final destinations—when it comes to travel, having flexibility can help alleviate stress. And when you plan your travel via Hipmunk, you have access to tools that allow you to customize the way you search, filter, and book. From changing currency and filtering out basic economy fares to searching for flights with Wi-Fi and comparing fare classes for a single flight, you hold the power in planning.
Pro tip: To give yourself even more options when planning, search for flights from multiple nearby airports at once. For example, if you’re based in New York City and want to plan a trip to San Francisco, you can enter ‘JFK, LGA’ in the From box and ‘SFO, OAK’ in the To box, and Hipmunk will show you results that include combinations for each of those options. Alternatively, you can enter the city name itself and all local airports will be included in the search results—such as EWR for New York City and SJC for San Francisco.
Seek out authentic experiences
Seeking out authentic travel experiences enables you to immerse yourself in a place, rather than checking boxes. It also means choosing experiences that resonate with what’s important to you—these kind of experiences help you to truly take a break and be fully present while you’re traveling.
The key is to choose a small number of these experiences and not overload your vacation with yet another ‘to do’ list. Have you been wanting to learn how to make your own pasta? Why not book a cooking class on your upcoming trip to Italy? Maybe you’re more a lover of architecture. On your weekend getaway to Chicago, book a walking tour with a local guide who can explain its storied history and buildings.
Spending time digging into what makes the place you’re visiting special, while aligning your hard-earned time off with doing what you love, will leave you feeling invigorated—and perhaps even inspired—when you head back home.
Unplug from social media
So now that you’ve kept your stress levels low while planning and chosen authentic activities that will help you be present, the next step is to stay off social media for the entire duration of your trip.
LOL. Yeah, right.
Okay, hear me out. Amongst its pitfalls, social media makes every trip look perfect. And it’s hard to stay present if you keep comparing your vacation to everyone else’s. I love using Instagram for researching unknown destinations, but I’ve easily fallen prey to comparing my travels to others. Posts show perfectly secluded beaches, perfectly coiffed honeymoon hair, and perfectly captured family photos. But in reality? You don’t see outside the frame, the hour spent agonizing over a new grey, or the reel of outtakes tucked away in the Recently Deleted folder.
The lesson here? No trip is ever perfect. Redirect your FOMO to worrying less about how anyone else vacations, and more about staying present to enjoy the fun happening right in front of you.
Plan a rest day
A vacation, by definition, is a time when regular activity is suspended. In other words, you get to rest. Your brain and your body need a break—but it’s easy to forget that when we’re constantly running on all cylinders. And then when we do get time to ourselves, we jam-pack trips with day activities and late nights out. No wonder so many people come back from vacation more tired than when they left.
Planning a day to relax is critical to rejuvenate and revitalize your body. No, you’re not missing anything by doing nothing. This is your chance to prioritize you. Catch up on sleep. Read a book. Book a massage. Whatever you do, make sure it’s in the name of self-care.
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