We have all been there, hunched over our travel guides, our Pinterest full to the brim with new travel pins, our google search history mirroring our current obsession of the next destination… As quickly as we were excited for our upcoming travels, we become overwhelmed and are engulfed by the sheer magnitude of our own expectations. Every website is telling us “go here, go there”, “do this, don’t do that”, “don’t be a tourist” and we are left wishing for is for this vacation to be over with already.
I’ve been there my friends, oh how I have been there. Being the Goddess of micromanaging that I am, I throw all of myself into every aspect of planning my trips. I forget to step back and remember that I am planning something that I’m supposed to enjoy.
So what is there to do? Do we give up and just say “if travel planning stresses me out, then maybe traveling isn’t for me”? Do we walk away from vacations that may have ended up amazing because we have turned ourselves in to balls of stress? Well if you’re finding yourself hunched over your kitchen table, swimming in a sea of travel books, looking like you haven’t slept in a week…… take a deep breath and back away from whatever you are working on.
Go take a nice long shower, get your nails done, go walk around Target, you get the picture. It really doesn’t matter what you do, but go do something that has absolutely nothing to do with the trip you are planning. Stepping away from hypothetical land and back into reality is exactly the breath of fresh air that you need.
Your family, which you are trying to plan the “perfect vacation” for, will definitely appreciate spending a couple of hours with you while you aren’t typing away at your computer or having your nose stuck in a travel book. Remember that these are the people that you want to spend MORE time with, and you don’t really need to use going on vacation as an excuse.
For most people this may seem like odd advice from a blogger who wants people to travel more, but I have worked in the travel industry for nearly a decade and I can see it on families when the expectations are super high and the itineraries are over stuffed. There is a certain rushed feeling with interactions because even if they don’t realize it, they know that they won’t be able to see and do everything that they planned and the sense of disappointment is already there. When trips, especially family trips, are only centered around the destination and not centered around spending time with each other, it takes away from the whole point of going on a vacation.
Stop planning these “perfect vacations”, with unrealistic expectations from not only the destinations, but of yourselves too. If you are traveling with others, let each person contribute something to the trip. Whether it’s an attraction that you may have never thought about visiting, or a restaurant that they have been dying to try ever since they found out it’s where their favorite celebrity chef likes to eat. You will thank yourself later when you are actually able to relax and not screaming at everyone about how they are ruining your perfectly planned itinerary with all their worthless ideas. Don’t. Be. That. Person.
Remember, this is supposed to be a vacation for everyone, let everyone have a part in planning the activities. And maybe you will save yourself some sanity in the long run, instead of finding yourself wondering why your toddler isn’t enjoying all the modern-post impressionist museums that you keep dragging them through, or that why your recently sober friend isn’t having a great time at the micro breweries that all the guidebooks said to visit.
I’m not saying to not spend time planning your vacations. Do your research, learn a little bit about your destination. I’m just merely offering some sage advice for when your planning turns into an obsession. When you lose sight about what you are actually trying to accomplish while traveling. Traveling shouldn’t be stressful, and planning it shouldn’t cause so much stress that you find yourself deciding to stay home and not experience what the world has to offer.
Traveling is about so much more than what the guidebooks are offering. Traveling is how memories are made, how bonds are formed, and how we remember just how much we love the people we call family.
As always, remember, anyone can travel.
©Bree and Arielle Travel 2017