Vacations are a time to unwind, relax, have fun and discover new things. They’re the perfect opportunity for a couple to connect and renew their commitment to each other. However, things can go haywire in a moment’s notice if you make some of these common mistakes. Don’t let this be you. Take my advice and your next vacation could well be the best trip of your life.
Taking Work With You
Vacation is for vacation. It’s not for work. It’s a time to rest, rejuvenate and discover new things in life. I realize that in this digital age it’s almost impossible to go completely unplugged but you should try to as much as possible.
This means not checking emails frequently throughout the day or taking phone calls that are non-emergency. If you don’t adhere to this you may feel like you are still are work but not really there. You’ll miss out on all of the subtleties of travel because your nose will be in your smartphone or laptop. Create an auto-responder email before leaving that it makes it CLEAR to everyone that you are unavailable until a certain date and who to contact for assistance. After doing that stick to it.
If there’s something that absolutely needs your attention restrict the amount of time it gets. For instance give it 30 minutes in the morning and that’s it. Be firm.
Not Realizing Time Is Limited
Time is short, especially on vacation. A week might seem like a long time but subtract two days for travel and then that leaves five. If you want some down time so that you don’t need a vacation from your vacation you could be looking at three days for activities. Suddenly a week doesn’t seem so long.
That time becomes even shorter if you’re waiting in lines to pick up a rental car or to see a popular attraction. Let’s not forget getting lost while en route to somewhere. You will be in an unfamiliar location and a wrong turn or two is inevitable. It takes time to get back on course. Realize that you true vacation time is limited and cherish it as such.
Be clear on what it is that you would like to do and plan ahead of time. Planning reduces stress. Planning saves time. Planning also makes sure that you get to do what it is that you really want to do. When your must haves & must do’s have been planned and scheduled in there are no unwanted surprises such as unavailability or higher prices.
You don’t have to plan every single moment of your vacation. I’m not saying that, and I believe that a certain amount of spontaneity is good. However, I’ve seen too many people walk away deeply disappointed because they couldn’t do the ONE thing that they wanted to do. Do yourself a favor, and do some research and plan ahead of time the one or two things that are truly important to you. Book them and make sure that you’re covered.
This one is related to the last one. Don’t assume you best know how to do something or the best way to get there. For example, I’ve seen guys assume that they could just show up to Pearl Harbor and get in. They’ll go about mid-morning and then come back disappointed and frustrated. Had they checked in with the concierge or taken the advice I offered here, this could’ve been avoided. They would’ve learned that Pearl Harbor is the #1 attraction on the island of Oahu with over 5,000 people a day visiting. Many people will line up an hour before opening or buy a ticket months in advance. Most people are shocked to learn it’s that popular.
There’s also the classic guy stereotype when it comes to directions and not asking. Ask. There may be some hidden factors you may not be aware of until it’s too late by taking a chosen route. Ask for directions, preferably ahead of time and get them from someone who lives there. A GPS or map doesn’t always tell the whole story.
It’s easy to book the plane tickets and hotel and then stop there as far as the financial planning goes. Vacation costs are so more than just the cost of airfare and where you’ll sleep. The incidentals add up and in a huge way. Plan for the cost of parking, the airport shuttles & the cabs. Plan for eating out 2-3 times a day, snacks and alcohol. Do a rough estimate and write it down.
For example in Waikiki the average cost of daily parking is $35/day. One Mai Tai can set you back $7 depending on where you go. Breakfast at the local IHOP will start at $15 for a simple dish. There’s also tipping of various service providers such as the bell man, the valet and tour guides. If renting a car you will have to put gas in it. You’ll also want to buy souvenirs and a treat or two for yourself. Internet service & laundry could be hidden costs as well.
You could easily be looking at an extra $50-$100 a day and you haven’t even done anything yet.
Another large expense many people forget is the cost of activities. Here in Hawaii the average cost of one activity is $100 plus or minus a little and that’s just for one person. So many people have sticker shock when I tell them the price of a luau or a snorkeling trip.
Make a list ahead of time of every single thing you can think of and write a number next to it. Estimate high and total it up. When you have your overall dollar amount add 30% more to that number to cover you for the unexpected. Expect that something unexpected will happen. You might not need the extra amount, and it might seem extremely high, but you will be glad that you financially prepared and not set yourself up for failure. You want to enjoy yourself and not sweat how you’re going to pay for it all. Vacations are not for stress, they are for enjoyment.
By avoiding the mistakes listed above & following the advice here, your vacation will go smoothly except for any unforeseen circumstances (like the weather) that may arise. You’ll be more than prepared and more importantly, you’ll enjoy yourselves, which is, of course, the whole point.
Photo: Flickr:Michael Napoleon