Making the most of your holiday

Why the best getaways are a balance of relaxation, timing, planning and spontaneity.

The art of having a good holiday is a balancing act: plans, spontaneity, work, photos, checklists – it all contributes to whether you finish refreshed or stressed. While no single strategy can work for every person, there’s new science emerging around how to make the most of a holiday.


Choose holidays that fit your own style

There’s often the temptation to pack your trip full of things you think you should be doing, rather than choosing things you actually love doing. Just because it’s a famous gallery doesn’t mean you should spend hours skulking round it, in the same way that you shouldn’t force yourself to spend the day at the beach just because you’re on ‘a beach holiday’.

Take fewer pictures

That’s not to say you shouldn’t take photos, but if you find yourself pulling out your camera every 10 minutes, you might be missing out on what’s in front of you. This is especially true during immersive activities like cooking classes, where taking pictures physically brings you out of the experience.

Be more spontaneous

Planning is helpful to a point, but too much and it’s no longer an experience but a checklist. Allot some hours each day for spontaneity so you can do whatever you feel like in that moment, whether that’s an afternoon exploring a local town or an hour sleeping by the pool.

Shake off your normal responsibilities

It’s difficult if you’re travelling with your family to shirk the usual chores of housekeeping and childcare, but it’s important that you build in some adult-oriented downtime. Budget for a hotel babysitter for a couple of nights, find a kids’ club or hire someone to cook a meal. If not, the holiday ends up becoming an extension of your normal life.

Give yourself time

Don’t rush to get there but rather plan a journey that suits your lifestyle, so you aren’t left exhausted and grumpy. Try to plan for a day or two at home before you go back to work – if not, the last night of your holiday might end up feeling more like the Sunday night blues.

This article was originally published in Issue 14 – Embrace the Positive

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