Everyone needs time to defuse and relax, and for many Americans during the summer that means taking a vacation. However, that vacation you have been longing for might not always do the trick. Sometimes those precious getaways end up being more stressful than the daily grind. There are some steps you can take to get the relaxation you need and enjoy yourself.

Be realistic

Don’t lie to yourself or others about what you are looking for. What do you find relaxing?

Chances are if you tried scuba diving years ago and didn’t care for it then, you are not going to like it now. If constant traveling from place to place in a sightseeing frenzy isn’t your thing, pick something less busy. While family pressures can play into vacation plans, talk with your loved ones about what works for you.

You have a right to relax and going the extra mile in an attempt to make others happy might only stress you out. Not everyone likes laying on the beach, not everyone likes hiking in the mountains and not everyone likes a shopping destination.

Use your feet

Walk everywhere you can. Chances are if you are on vacation you are not sticking to your normal exercise regimen. That’s OK. You can make up for it by just keeping mobile. Nearly everyone likes walking at the beach or a stroll through the hills.

Even museums and shopping centers offer perfect venues for walking. Some people often forget to bring their walking shoes with them on vacation. Don’t make that mistake.

Stay hydrated

Make sure you drink enough water. It can be difficult to stay hydrated when you are not following your normal routine and sometimes you might find yourself in a location where drinking water is not readily available.

Bring a small backpack with some water with you just in case. Many packs can clip around your waist and can allow you to carry plenty of water for the day. It is easier to get dehydrated than you think, especially if you are out in the sun on a warm day.

Try to forget work

Do the best you can to leave your work behind. This is sometimes easier said than done but you are not really relaxing if you are constantly monitoring your email or text messages.

Talk to your boss before you go and discuss your expectations. Prepare your co-workers for your absence and if there is something that needs attention while you are gone, see if someone else can take care of it. Delegation is important and it is equally important to be able to leave your work life behind for a few days.

If there is no way to do that, see if you can set a limit to how much time you work during your “time off.”

Eat wisely

Plan on making your own meals if you already like to cook and have access to a kitchen. This is especially important if you have some health issues such as diabetes.

With a little planning you can eat healthy, spend less and improve your culinary skills. Also depending on where you are headed, you might find your healthy eating options limited.

Bringing your own snacks is also a wise option.

Learn relaxing before you go

If you are a Type A personality, de-stressing won’t come easily. Work on relaxation techniques before your go on vacation. Try yoga or meditation so that if and things go a little awry you can still enjoy yourself. Remember, you can’t control everything, but you can learn to control how you react to things.

Plan for success

If you want an active vacation with lots of places to go and people to see, planning is important. Take the time beforehand to figure out where you need to be and when, and the best way to get there. Include travel time and build in some extra time for those moments when things just aren’t going right. Don’t get stressed out about the little things and do what you can to prepare for the logistics.

Make sure you also build some free time in your schedule. You don’t want to miss seeing or doing something fantastic simply because it doesn’t fit into your timetable. Again, if you are a good planner, you can make this happen.

Know the cost beforehand

Be realistic about how much money you wish to spend. You need to know if your vacation is going to be affordable before you go. Again, this requires some preparation.

You’ll want to know things like plane fare, hotel costs, car rentals, etc. Take into account everything that might require money, even tips. Also, many cruise lines allow you to pay for everything ahead of time, which takes the guessing game out of the equation.

Keep in mind that it is likely you might forget something, perhaps a bathing suit or a much-needed hat. If you expect the unexpected it can lower the stress of having to reach for your credit card one more time.

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