The Secret Ingredients To A Dream Vacation
There is nothing better than a SEAMLESS travel experience. A trip that goes without a hitch. Frankly, it doesn't happen too often – but there are things that you can prioritize to improve your chance of having an amazing vacation instead of just an okay one. Some ingredients are a given, while others are food for thought. Overall, you will notice most of these things have nothing to do with money. This means a dream vacation is within reach for all.
A flexible or structured game plan
In order to avoid unnecessary freak-outs during your trip, you need to make sure things are in order beforehand by planning in advance. There's no way around it. Are you too busy for this or don't even know where to begin? This is where the value of a travel agent comes in as we are pros at designing vacation blueprints. 95% of all flights and accommodations need to be booked ahead of time. As long as you know the number of nights you are staying at each destination and how you are getting from point a to point b, you can play the rest by ear. There's no need to plan every minute. On the other hand, having a structured scheduled with confirmed pre-booked tours and reservations puts others at ease. It's up to you!
Flying directly to your destination is a major time-saver. If departing / arriving at smaller airports, you will have no choice but to connect. 1-2 connections is pretty standard. But is it worth saving $50-$100 if you have to suffer through 3+ connections and countless hours wasted at the airport?
Your personality and interests should correspond with your vacation spot. What are you looking to experience? Are you going to be spending your entire trip in 1 place or moving around to see as many places as possible? Picking which place(s) to visit is sometimes the hardest part. It is also important to consider how far it takes to get from the airport to the hotel. Does it involve taking a train, ferry and / or a 2-hour cab ride? Most hard-to-reach destinations are totally worth traveling to – but does it fit within your number of vacation days and budget?
a california king sized bed... or any comfortable mattress
Who else can't wait to hit the sheets after flying in economy for 20+ hours? We've all been there. The struggle is real though. Simply put, a shoddy bed won't allow you to fully recharge your batteries which is the whole point of your vacation. That's why luxury hotels like the Westin are usually so amazing. Their Heavenly Beds are on point.
OK, this should be a given! There is no point of going on vacation if you are going to eat the same foods as back home. When in Rome (or any other place with amazing cuisine), you need to eat well and often. Traveling to developing nations? Be careful by only drinking bottled water, using hand sanitizer, and avoiding any type of food or place to eat that looks sketchy. While street food can be the best, there is always a chance of getting sick from it no matter where you are. Lastly, eating well doesn't mean spending a fortune on meals at the finest restaurants. Look into the highly-rated establishments favored by locals.
good vibes only
"It is better to be alone than in bad company." This saying also applies to travel. Going with people you vibe with or will make your trip exponentially better. Otherwise, go solo with an open mind. Want to travel with someone new? Invite them on a weekend getaway first before taking going on an expensive trip abroad. Remember, traveling brings out the best and worst in people! When traveling with company, be sure to prioritize some alone time for yourself.
Those mind-blowing, mind-altering moments of encountering something new and different are the markings of a legendary vacation. It could be a new type of food, landscape, sport, or person. When you're traveling, everything is up for grabs. New things makes our brain feel good. If you are going to the same destination year after year, you are doing something seriously wrong.
This is HIGHLY subjective ranging from hot and tropical in the Caribbean to brisk and snowy in the French Alps. Whatever your element is, own it. Put down your screens and get outside to enjoy the outdoors. Somehow those moments of watching the sunset on the beach or having the wind whip through your hair while driving make you feel more alive.
Exercise does the mind and body good while on vacation. You don't have to be a slave to the hotel gym. Walking about Paris or New York City for 8-hours will burn a lot of calories and allow you to see more. Challenge yourself by hiking up mountains to see incredible views and to feel an sense of accomplishment. In the words of Jack Kerouac, “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”
MINIMAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES
Avoid unnecessary distractions from work emails to Instagram notifications by putting down the phone. Read our post about taking a digital detox here.
chill out sessions
What good is a vacation with R&R? Finding that balance between having too much to do and chilling out can be hard for some. We urge you to take the time to disconnect! Our favorite chill activities include: spending a day lounging at the hotel pool or beach; spa treatments and massages; and yoga or meditation. While it doesn't hurt to go to places like Bali where you can completely unwind, it is still possible to find a little zen while vacationing in hectic mega cities like New York and Tokyo. You just have to look for the hidden opportunities.
Enough time but not too much
We are talking about duration here. Science says an 8-night perfect is just enough time to get away from it all. It all depends on the destination... as it can take 24-48 hours to get to some places. Any more than 1 week in a certain place tends to make people feel restless. For example, you would probably run out things to see and do in Singapore. There is also a good chance you might go broke! Instead of stretching your trip budget over 2 weeks and staying at mediocre accommodations – consider less nights at a nicer hotel.
be real / Keep your expectations in check
No, going on vacation probably won't change your life and your circumstances back home. Instead of having unrealistic hopes of meeting your future husband on vacation or having a certain place change your life, go in with low expectations so you'll be pleasantly surprised! A lot of places are crowded, dirty and completely unglamorous. Sometimes things don't go as expected such as delayed or lost luggage, unexpected flight delays or cancellations, or language barrier problems. Easier said that done but you have to be OK with the chance of this happening when you sign up to be a full-fledged traveler. When all else fails, you have no choice but to go with the flow.
End your trip with a bang
Save one of the experiences you are most looking forward to for the end of your trip. Your final epic memories will be the ones you end up reminiscing about forever. Usually the beginning and middle of your trip wind up being a blur (taking photos and videos help). So, purchase / upgrade to a business flight on your way back home. Other ideas include attending a once-in-a-lifetime concert or experiencing a thill-seeking adventure like skydiving the day before you leave. You won't regret it!
a day or two to recover before going back to the grind
Going back to reality can be harsh. It's tempting to push it to the limit and fly back home on Sunday evening (or even Monday morning) just in time to go to work. Instead of doing this, either ask for 1 extra day off to get back in the swing of things or come back 1 day earlier. A 7-night and 8-night vacation provide the same level of happiness. This way you can tackle your to-do list involving laundry, buying groceries, catching up on email and so on. Otherwise that first day back at work will hit you like a ton of bricks.
At GlobalNomad, we always these things into consideration and more! Having a travel agent makes it official; and means planning and going on your trip is a priority in your life. We take our job of constantly motivating, educating and assisting our clients before, during and after your trip seriously. Heck, even travel agents use other travel agents. It makes life so much easier when there are a million things on your plate. Just think of GlobalNomad as someone with whom you can bounce ideas back and forth and who makes sure all the bases are covered. After all, 2 heads are better than 1! Imagine what an expert traveler (you) and an expert travel designer (me) can create together!