6 survival tips for vacation planners on a getaway with the flow – TravelAwaits | Gmx Pharm

OK, I admit it. i am a planner I like having things planned, buttoned and nailed down. This applies to my work, my family, my play and yes, even my vacations. I’m the person who once jotted down a to-do list on my iPhone, and on the go I’ve been known to plan each day almost to the hour, even when it’s marked as “free time.” I’m also a hard-charger when I’m on vacation… and I often feel like I need a vacation when I come back from vacation!

But a recent girls’ outing showed me how a break from the agendas and itineraries can be a refreshing and welcome change. If you’re like me, here are half a dozen survival tips to help you go with the flow on your next getaway.

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1. Choose your travel destination carefully

Let’s face it: you won’t be able to let go of your urge to plan when you head to an amusement park (we all know planning is a must at Disney…) or a continental, cosmopolitan city full of must-see museums or other historic sites. Choose your goal so that relaxation and a relaxed atmosphere can be maintained. For me it was a beautiful home on the beach. For you it could be a cabin in the woods or a mountain hut. Keep things low-key, beautiful, and elegant, and you’ll be more inclined to enjoy your surroundings rather than running from point A to point B every day. I’ve also found it helpful to focus on natural beauty rather than man-made wonders. If you do this, you’re much less likely to start outlining your daily must-have itinerary.

Vegetable stall at traditional market in Venice, Italy Sebastien.
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2. A rough outline is A-OK

I know, I know. I just told you to try giving up the termination. That said, a rough outline is fine. For example, we knew we wanted to visit a local farmers market while visiting the beach, so we strolled over one morning after breakfast to browse and shop. We knew we wanted to go to the beach and enjoy the waves at least daily, so we did. We didn’t cook every night – no need to do serious meal planning – and instead opted for dinner one night and a snack the next.

We set overall goals for the day, but didn’t strangle ourselves with the minute-by-minute timing that can be so tedious. It was so liberating. We’d get to the beach, of course, but perhaps we’d enjoy the mimosas indoors first. Maybe we were having an extended happy hour before dinner, and who knew where that would be or what it would be? There was a cute little shop in the neighboring town, maybe we should stop by there. Conclusion: Nothing was urgent. We had ideas of what we would like to do… but we implemented them and saw them at our own pace. It was just as fulfilling and relaxing as any vacation I’ve taken. That’s high praise from a series planner!

Cars drive over Linn Cove Viaduct, Blue Ridge Parkway in Autumn, NC.
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3. Think about your crew

That is a big problem. Of course, many of us can and do travel alone, and it’s a rich, wonderful experience where you really can set your own pace. However, if you’re traveling with a small group of friends, you’ll need to consider the personalities for the best “go with the flow” experience. Our crew included a few planners (myself included!) who needed some extra encouragement from our friends to stave off this urge to plan. Thankfully, we were able to really pause with her gentle, caring rebuke. I am so thankful for that!

Personalities are different: that’s what makes traveling with friends so great. But remember, if you have some big schedulers in your group, you may need to support them to keep things going for a while. Don’t worry: you’ll get them there!

Beautiful beach with wooden pier and green palm tree on Maldives island.
icemanphotos / Shutterstock.com

4. Enjoy a hobby

So many of us have ridiculously busy lives: we may still be working or caring for parents, children, or other family members. It can be difficult to make time for myself, and that includes moments spent on hobbies you love. So, to make a vacation more low-key, consider getting involved in one of these activities that you might not otherwise have the time for.

Case in point: During our recent beach vacation, a friend brought her watercolors with her. She wanted to practice several new techniques, so each day she set up her supplies, found a quiet space to work, and started painting. We marveled at her focus and focus, but she insisted it was relaxing to be able to throw yourself into her art.

Whether you’re making time for an unscheduled jog or hike, jotting down notes or observations in your favorite journal, or sketching out your vacation surroundings, taking time out for a favorite hobby along the way is likely to slow you down and help you focus.

5. Keep it simple

There are so many ways to complicate a good getaway. You may feel compelled to fill your time away from your home or office with sightseeing, shopping, entertainment, and other activities. While these types of excursions are great, trying to cram too many at once can actually put a detriment to your vacation, as tight time constraints and — more often than not — a bit of stress are thrown into the mix. You don’t want that when your holiday is about going with the flow.

My advice: keep it simple… although admittedly this is easier said than done if you’re usually a travel type guy. Pick your must-dos, but if they’re not on a specific timeline, don’t jump right in and tackle them all at once. Let things develop, emerge as they will. Then the good stuff will find you. A special conversation, the perfect sunset, or a reverberant passage in a book you’ve been procrastinating—these are all examples of simple, indulgent pleasures that you may miss out on if you plan or plan too much.

6. Nothing is essential except…

Last but not least, remember that the most important part of “surviving” a go-with-the-flow pause is a bit of a perspective reset, that nothing really matters except doing your best to make sure you having a good time from everyone.

Again I remember our last trip to the beach. Our tour group wrote back and forth about a week before we left. “What are you packing?” asked a friend. “Shall we plan a menu for each day?” another chipped in. “Should I check a bag?” wondered a third.

See? Planning had already begun and we were days away from actually making it to the beach. Full Disclosure: I may have been the main culprit.

We paced back and forth until another wise woman gently reminded us on the text stream, “Nothing is essential except sweatpants and sunscreen. Just throw some stuff in a bag and come down here. We’ll all enjoy each other’s company and won’t have to worry about anyone for a few days!”

Truer words have never been spoken or, in this case, texted. We didn’t have to drive ourselves crazy by over-processing the trip. Staying in the present moment, taking advantage of every opportunity that arose and embracing the laid-back vibe turned out to be the perfect way to spend a few days with friends.

I know full well that not all my trips, journeys and adventures will go like this. When my family resumes international travel, I’ll be sure to pull out the guidebooks, follow Google, and pack each day with all the must-haves. I’ll probably plan every day to get the best out of them.

But this journey taught me a valuable lesson: it’s okay to let all of that go occasionally. I’m so glad I tried it!

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