How to Actually Relax on Summer Vacation

Americans seem somewhat programmed to like the idea of vacation more than the actual practice of taking a vacation. Americans work long hours, and often don’t even take the vacation time that’s available to them. It seems to be a pervasive part of the culture in this country, and it’s not necessarily a positive thing.

Vacations are important for a lot more than having fun. Science says they’re good for your health. A study from the American Psychological Association showed that vacations help relieve stress. A separate study from the University of Vienna showed that when people took time off, they had fewer physical elements related to stress including headaches and backaches. Those benefits extended to weeks after their actual vacation.

Taking a vacation can have cardiovascular benefits, it can improve productivity, and it can also help improve sleep quality.

So, with all those physical and mental health benefits, don’t feel guilty about taking the time to de-stress.

Even when we take vacation time, however, we might not necessarily be relaxing the way we should. So how can you truly relax and unplug this summer if you’re taking a vacation?



How to Actually Relax on Summer Vacation - If you truly want to relax and reap the health-related benefits of a vacation, think outside the box. One idea is renting an RV and visiting somewhere quieter. You have the peace of the open road, and it’s less expensive.  Photo by Eugene Quek on Unsplash
Photo by Eugene Quek on Unsplash

Plan a Different Kind of Trip


Sometimes traveling and taking a vacation can in and of itself become stressful. Between the long security lines at the airport, the hustle and bustle of travel hubs, and the high costs of traveling, you may feel more stressed than when you started.

If you truly want to relax and reap the health-related benefits of a vacation, think outside the box. One idea is renting an RV and visiting somewhere quieter. You have the peace of the open road, and it’s less expensive. For example, RV rental site Outdoorsy cites the average RV rental price even in a high-priced city like San Francisco as only $189.95 a night.

In general, even if you’re not renting an RV, a good way to start out a relaxing vacation is to know you haven’t overextended yourself to make it happen. It’s tough to relax if you’re thinking about how you can’t afford your trip the whole time you’re on it.

Choose a Destination Where You Can Relax


When you’re choosing your destination, whether you’re taking a road trip or getting there in a different way, try to think about how easily you’re going to be able to relax once you arrive.

For example, if you’re going to Disney World, you may not feel very relaxed. It’s loud, crowded and there’s a tendency to want to rush around and get in all the experiences you can while you’re there.

Does that mean Disney World isn’t a great travel destination? Of course not, but if your goal is to truly relax, it may not be the ideal option.

Don’t Overschedule


When we plan a vacation, there’s this desire to feel like we’re getting the full experience. You want to schedule your days to make sure you’re seeing it all and doing it all, but this can negate any benefits of relaxation you get. You’re still putting pressure on yourself, and putting yourself on a schedule.

Try not to do that. You can make plans for one activity a day while you’re away, but don’t try to cram everything in.

While you’re at it, don’t forget the importance of being flexible in your travel plans. We tend to get so stuck on one way of doing things that we then stress ourselves out to the point of not being able to enjoy our vacation.

Avoid the Email Trap


It’s hard to avoid your email while you’re on vacation these days. It’s on your phone, your computer and your tablet. Try to cut off your access to email while you travel. If you’re constantly even just seeing emails from back home and from your boss or coworkers, it changes the feel of your trip.

It can be tough to cut yourself off from access, but it can be valuable for your mental state.

Finally, avoid the temptation to make your entire travel experience about social media. When we put the pressure on ourselves to show our picture perfect vacations on Instagram of Facebook, we’re taking away from being present or in the moment. Don’t worry about taking pictures unless they’re photos you want to remember your trip. If you’re spending your entire trip trying to get that great photo that can show all your Instagram followers how much fun you’re having, you’ve really missed the point of the vacation.

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