This is all advice I’ve shared before but really does bear repeating — we take trips but do we get the most out of them? Or are we traveling, putting too much pressure on our trips, and letting great opportunities go to waste?
The best advice comes down to: spend time planning vacations, take more trips, work while you’re gone, and experience new and unusual things.
- Planning vacations contributes more to your happiness than actually taking them. Of course you may need to go on vacation to justify all of the planning time, and to convince yourself that the planning is meaningful.
- You get all of your relaxation benefits on the trip itself, but don’t expect to be relaxed when you get back. We quickly snap back into the stress of daily life, sans any benefit from the vacation. Go in knowing you’ll enjoy yourself while you’re gone, but don’t set the bar for “needing a vacation” that you expect to be reset, relaxed, and in a different place with work upon your return.
- Being on vacation can actually be stressful. We put pressure on ourselves to enjoy, quickly, in a compressed period of time. After all, unless you travel frequently, you only get one shot per given period of time and you have to make the most of it.
Take more trips, and take the pressure off of each trip to be perfect. Don’t try to do everything, it’s better to leave some sites un-visited and have some experiences left for the future. Leave yourself longing for more.
- People actually enjoy trips more when they’re interrupted by real time, as counter-intuitive as it seems. Many short trips mean work punctuates your travels. For longer trips consider staying connected a little bit (with defined times) each day.
- Look for intense or unusual experiences, things that will stand out in your memory. You’ll get more lingering value out of the trip than just a general sense that you must have been relaxed but where did the relaxation go? You’ll have something to hang onto.
- Make travel part of the trip. And since planning contributes to happiness spend time working through contingencies so you know how you’ll handle things like missed connections along the way.
How do you approach your travels? What makes you happiest — and leaves you happiest once the trip is done?