Emily Lund: 10 Vacation Tips

As a way to get the writers of DWWP to write more, we have assigned some writing prompts and themes.  This post starts out our latest theme, “Vacation”.  

My grandfather always said, “They can take away your house, and they can take away your car, but they can’t take away your vacation.”  I guess that’s true.  So, live it up; make the memories and take the pictures.  You’ll have those even when they impound your car.  Here’s 10 pieces of vacation advice from a consummate vacationer.

1)     Don’t wait until you are old or retired:  I know people have more time and potentially more disposable income when they are older or retired.  However, some trips are truly best for the young and not just the young at heart.  If you want to do large amounts of hiking, long plane rides or more physically exhausting trips, it is best to do them when you are physically able.  You’ll be able to enjoy them more thoroughly and probably be in less pain.

2)     Don’t just go on the big expensive ones:  A vacation doesn’t need to be thousands of miles away via airplane and on a tropical island. Take a look at what’s within driving distance; look for fun or interesting places you can visit without spending lots, if any, money.  Many museums have free days, and if you have friends in Omaha (or any city you’ve always wanted to visit), bring them a bottle of wine and stay with them.

3)     Have staycations:  You don’t always have to travel to vacation.  You can relax and enjoy life from the comfort of your own home.  However, you do have to commit to not doing chores, repairs or cooking. You also try something new or different.  Maybe get a massage or hire a chef to come cook you dinner.  Do not answer e-mail or finish up presentations with your freetime. That’s all called “work” and is not allowed.

4)     Write about your vacation experiences:  Keep a travel journal of the vacation, good, bad and hilarious. These don’t have to be grammatically correct or literary masterpieces.  They just need to be pieces of your experiences, your trials and tribulations and your fun.  Later, you can read back at them all and remember it all fondly or laugh at how awful it was.

5)     Go back to “traditional” spots each year:  If there’s a location where you had a great time, go back.  There is a lot to see in the world, but if you got engaged in Maine, go back every year and remember those moments and make new ones.  If you love a location, don’t just keep it in your memories, keep visiting!  You’ll continue to love it, possibly even more.

6)     Vacation with friends:  There are definitely friends you can’t or don’t want to go with you on vacation. However, there are certainly some who would be tons of fun.  Assess your friend circle and make plans for a group trip.  It brings a different experience and memories…or it destroys your friendship. Either way, it’s a must do.

7)     Don’t workout and diet:   I know, I know, you don’t want to lose momentum or gain a bunch of weight, but a few days won’t kill you.  I promise.  If you can incorporate more walking or hiking into your vacation, you’ll be just fine.  Part of the joy of visiting new places is eating local foods and doing stuff, not working out in the shitty hotel gym or any facility that requires planned exercise.  If you’re in your hotel, you should only be sleeping, having sex, or eating/drinking room service.  You should NEVER be in a gym whilst on vacation.

8)     Try new things:  Being comfortable in never-changing scenarios can be appealing, but part of many vacations is the adventure involved.  Not everyone needs to try sky diving on vacation, but at least take public transportation and try the local drinks or snorkeling.  No one has a death wish, but confining yourself to eating at the same chain restaurants and staying in the Hampton Inn to protect yourself from the evils of the greater Atlanta area is not vacationing.  It’s living your same life in a different location.  You might as well get a part time job and call the whole thing a business trip.  Explore and try all the things.

9)   Make a wish list:   Create a list of all the places you want to visit, want to revisit or things you’d like to do on vacation.  Maybe you don’t care about the location, but you just want to watch whales or ride bikes.  Make a huge list.  Any time you think of something new, get a recommendation that sounds intriguing, or see a travel show that peaks your interest, add it to the list.  Keep the list on your phone so you can access it whenever you have a brilliant inspiration.  Each year, make a goal to cross at least one vacation item off your list and then meet your goal.

10)  Make the best of whatever it turns out to be:  Sometimes storms, food poisoning, lost luggage, broken arms, scorpions and cancelled flights make vacationing difficult.  However, make the best of it.  In a few months, you’ll laugh about the time you all tipped over in a class 3 rapid during your rafting trip and nearly died.  Some of the most disastrous vacations end up leaving the best memories.  In the end, you’re not working so what’s a little rain?  

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