Here at GFF we love to talk about how to book ridiculously awesome getaways for ridiculously little money. However, saving money on travel is only fun when you are able to actually enjoy your vacation. Today, GFF contributor Weston Conway tells us how to do just that.
People travel for a lot of reasons.
Work trips, seeing family for the holidays, going to a friend’s wedding, you name it. There are a lot of things going on in our lives that make us want to (or sometimes have to) travel.
Having traveled numerous times for both work and pleasure, I have found that both types of trips can end up feeling more like a job than a vacation.
Don’t believe me?
Take a look around next time you are at the airport and you will see what I mean. You’ll find happier faces in the dentist’s office.
While there are some parts of travel that are inherently unpleasant, you’ll find it to be a much more enjoyable experience by sticking to these 4 basic guidelines.
Weston’s Vacation from Vacations Guidelines:
- Travel spontaneously
Holidays, reunions, anniversaries and other special events are great reasons to travel, but they shouldn’t be the only times you decide to take a vacation. In fact, many of the best trips I have taken have been for no reason at all other than the fact that I could.
You’ll also save quite a bit of money and stress by traveling during these off-peak times.
- Don’t stretch your travel itinerary too far
This one is always a challenge for me because I love to feel like I am getting the most out of every minute of my trip. Who doesn’t?
But the real question you need to ask yourself is this. Are you really taking a “vacation” if you return from your trip with more stress than when you left?
Skip the 5:30AM departure time or midnight return and settle for something that is going to allow you to be rested, relaxed and ready to enjoy your trip.
- Stop over-planning your vacation time
There are a lot of fun things to do at vacation destinations. After all, that’s why you went there in the first place.
But that doesn’t mean you have to do all of them in one single trip. Pick a few things you really want to do and give yourself the proper time to enjoy them.
Also make sure to have time throughout the day where you have nothing planned. Or if you have to, set aside scheduled time to do nothing at all. This will allow you to take some down time to relax or discover something that you may not have known about before you arrived.
Start small, even if it’s only an hour or two. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
This is by far the most important tip.
You packed your bags and hopped on a plane because you wanted to be somewhere else, so be there. Enjoy the moment.
Otherwise you’ll spend your entire vacation doing this.
Disconnecting is difficult for many people because of how addicted we have become to technology. I am certainly not exempt from this, which is why I turn off my phone for most of my vacation.
Try it sometime, you’ll be thankful that you did.
A list of vacation guidelines is great, but what does a trip like that actually look like? Let’s take a look.
My Vacation from Vacations: 48 Hours in Mayakoba, Mexico
My girlfriend Laura and I took our own vacation from vacations last weekend with a 48 hour trip to Mayakoba, Mexico. We recently moved to Austin, Texas so Mexico is now a quick flight and makes for the perfect getaway.
We stayed at the beautiful Fairmont Mayakyoka, a resort located in a tropical forest right on the Caribbean shoreline just south of Cancun.
Our flights were booked for free using points, the two nights in the Casita Suite (listed at $850 per night) were free, and we even received a $100 voucher to use for food and drink.
Following my own guidelines, here is a summary of how our trip went.
- You don’t need a reason to travel: The best part about this trip was that we had absolutely no reason to go. It wasn’t a holiday, we weren’t going to see family or meet up with old friends, we had nothing to celebrate and didn’t need time away (we had just come off of a long Thanksgiving weekend). We went because we could, and we enjoyed every minute of it.
- Don’t stretch your travel itinerary too far: We each took Friday off of work so that we could have an extra day down in Mexico. Initially I wanted to book a Thursday night flight, but that would have forced us to rush out of the office Thursday evening to the airport only to arrive at our hotel late that night. Instead we opted for a Friday morning flight at 10:30AM. We slept in, ate a great breakfast, and were on our way to the airport with plenty of time to spare.
Our return flight left Cancun at 2:30PM on Sunday, putting us back at our apartment before 6:00PM. We had time to unpack, get groceries for the week and unwind a little bit from our trip before heading to bed. We could have taken a later flight out of Cancun and stayed for a few more hours but we would not have been home until after midnight. It’s just not worth it.
- Stop over-planning your vacation time: We took this one to the extreme for our trip and didn’t make any plans in advance. Instead of scheduling activities, we did whatever we felt like doing at the moment.
We enjoyed a leisurely room service breakfast Saturday morning on our balcony, spent a few hours reading and enjoying the sun, biked around the resort, and walked along the beach that evening. You can’t be running late if you don’t have anywhere to be, try it next vacation and I promise you will like it.
- Disconnect: My favorite part of traveling internationally is that I usually can’t use my phone. I didn’t feel the need to reach for it in the morning when I woke up or look at my email before bed.
I wasn’t checking college football scores throughout the day or reading Buzzfeed articles on the beach. Other than taking photos, my phone was completely useless to me and I can’t tell you how good that felt.
Try following these guidelines on your next vacation or quick getaway and see how much better it will make your trip. You may end up completely changing your idea of what a vacation really is.