I’d like to welcome back Jamie Strand, one of our guest writers, to the blog today! You can view Jamie’s previous article on our blog here.
The holidays are the perfect time to relax and unwind. And it doesn’t matter if you’re visiting relatives across the state or soaking up the sun a thousand miles away, if you want a stress-free holiday vacation, you have to plan well and in advance.
Get the best deals
For most of us, money is our primary concern over the holidays, so throwing a vacation in the mix may not seem possible; however, if you’re willing to book in advance and don’t mind being flexible with your dates or accommodations, you may be able to score a hotel, condo, or cabin for rates well below peak-season prices. Before booking through the big names, check out VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) online. Most are privately operated vacation rentals and will offer a great deal to ensure their property remains occupied year-round. Flights, cruises, and even activities may be pre-purchased as well and often at a reduced rate. You may even find an RVs for rent on VRBO.
Secure your home
What’s worse than having a bad vacation? Coming home to a ransacked living room and zero presents under the tree. And though wintertime burglaries are slightly less prevalent than summertime home invasions, you’ll still want to take preemptive measures so that unscrupulous criminals don’t decide to unwrap your house for themselves. It’s best to lock all doors, windows, and the garage. It’s also a good idea to arrange for someone to keep an eye on your property, and let the neighbors know that you’re planning to be away, so if they see activity around your home, they can contact the authorities.
Travel on your time
Society has been conditioned to rush through the day in an effort to pack as much into daylight hours as possible. And even when we don’t have to hurry, we do. This fast-paced lifestyle contributes to what many call hurry sickness. The remedy is to learn to do things at your own pace, travel included. Even if you’re being pressured by family and friends to arrive at a certain time, you don’t have to follow anyone else’s clock. However, if you want to keep yourself sane and your family happy, overestimate your arrival time so that when you walk through the doors half an hour early, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something, and your family will praise your punctuality.
Leave work behind
A 2017 article published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed that more than two thirds of American adults spend at least part of their vacation time working. But, just as working at home after hours can interfere with your personal life, putting out fires at work while you’re on vacation can ruin your experience. Request your vacation time as soon as possible and work with your supervisor and coworkers to ensure they have a contingency plan and someone to handle your duties while you are away.
Focus on your health
Chances are, you’re going to indulge over the holidays, especially if you’re away from your own kitchen and can’t cook your own meals. You’ll also feel guilty about it. Even though the average American gains less than five pounds over the winter, we tend to look upon turkeys and treats with trepidation. We fear we will somehow enter a cycle of poor health if we have an extra serving between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The holidays are no time to count calories. If you want to enjoy your tryptophan-induced laziness, consider eating more fruits and vegetables in the weeks leading up to your trip. You may shed a few pounds and you’ll feel better about your dietary indiscretions. If you’re still worried about eating healthy on vacation, bring your own snacks and splurge only on your favorites.
While none of these tips can prevent family conflict, which is the #4 stressor during the holiday season, according to Psychology Today, eliminating other forms of stress may help you cope with your overbearing family.
Jamie Strand is an unashamed nerd. He teaches community college and loves spending time with his two daughters. He wants to share his love of science and math with kids today and that’s why he and a friend got together to create Scicamps.org.