How to prepare for vacation fun
Well, it’s that time of year again. The summer vacation beckons! The kids are getting out of school and you’ve booked time off work. You’ve spent months saving and weeks preparing for your break away.
Or maybe you’ve checked your work schedule and part of your summer will be spent jetting from meeting to meeting.
Has the boss just walked through the door, telling you that your long-awaited international secondment is going ahead in just a few weeks?
Whatever the reason that takes you away from home this summer, you’ll want to plan ahead so that you can both enjoy and benefit from the trip. Whether you want to make the most of your precious vacation or you need to stay sharp and focused for short or long-term corporate connections, these tips can help you maximize your time away.
- What do you want to do? Spend some time before you begin packing to get clear on what it is you would like to achieve during your time away, whether short or long term. Set some specific goals that are enriching, fun and that will motivate you. Even if your break is to completely unwind and sit by the pool, get this clear in your mind ahead of time.
- Use the Internet. Start by using keywords to search the region you are going to visit, then the city, and then even your accommodation. You can also find local online resources such as newspapers or radio broadcasts to get clued in to what is important in the area. Get to know where you are going before you get there.
- Get your documents together. Even on short trips, it is important to have your passport and medical or other vital information in one place and up to date. Leave a copy with a trusted family member or friend in case the documents are lost en route. And get travel insurance, even if you think you won’t need it. By the time you do, it will be too late to purchase it!
- Visit your doctor and dentist. Not only can your doctor give you some valuable advice for staying healthy while away but medical and dental care varies widely in foreign lands and communication could be particularly difficult if you are not familiar with the language.
- Change your body clock. Jet lag can last at least a day for each time zone crossed so, if travelling over several, begin to adjust your body clock at a few days prior to travelling. Slowly reschedule daily activities, such as meals and the time you go to sleep and get up, to the time local to your destination.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine during the flight. Drink plenty of water and walk around the plane every hour. This can help to reduce jet lag and any aches or pains that can be associated with being stationary for too long.
- Do, delegate or drop. Whenever possible, either do, delegate or drop any work commitments before you set off. Incomplete work can distract your thoughts away from where you are heading. For work that can’t fit into any of those categories, make a note of the next step you’re planning to take, add any thoughts you have about it, and attach it to the front of the project papers. This way, you will know where you left off when you return and you won’t have to worry about it during your absence.
- Set aside quiet time. Both before and during your journey, plan 15 minutes into each day that is totally for you, no distractions, no interruptions. Allow your mind to be still and quiet to recharge. This will help you to stay focused and energized.
- Stay healthy. We are often tempted to over-indulge in all sorts of ways while travelling. Enjoying the trip is one thing – coming back feeling like you need another is something completely different! Have fun and be sensible.
- Bring your medications. As you may not be able to find familiar brands while travelling, pack preferred over-the-counter medications and refill any prescriptions you may need before leaving.
- Be contactable. Leave full contact details with at least one family member or friend, including the telephone number and address of your accommodation. Also carry the full contact information of any people you would want contacted if needed.
- Handle the money. Get used to any foreign currency before leaving, particularly if travelling with children. Get some hard cash well in advance and become familiar with the coins, bills and exchange rates. This will save you invaluable time and money while away.
- Don’t forget ‘toys’. Not only do children need a sense of familiarity, so do adults. Travel with at least one ‘toy’ per person, which for adults could be as simple as a familiar book, CD/tape player or hand-held computer game. Even on short jaunts, culture shock can show up and this simple technique can relieve some of its impact.
- Know your luggage weight limit. Be very clear on the weight limit of the suitcases you intend to take with you. There is nothing worse than showing up for a flight and either having to pay extra for excess baggage or leaving some of your possessions behind. Leave some extra space for souvenirs for the return journey.
- Check the driving laws. If you plan on driving while away, get familiar with the laws beforehand. It’s not uncommon for travelers to have fender-benders on their way out of the airport, particularly in countries that drive on the opposite side of the road to which you are accustomed!
- Be curious about the opportunities around you. Like a child in a toy store, you are in new situations and circumstances. Instead of bolting out of the shop door, or ignoring the shop completely, look around with openness and wonder at your new experiences. The world is an amazing place!
Time is a precious commodity. By spending some of it preparing for your journey, you will undoubtedly have more of it to enjoy your adventure!