Sunday, June 22, 2008

Make Your Next Vacation a Success


Cindi Bower

So, you've decided you are long overdue for a vacation. You feel a little anxious because the last trip or two didn't turn out quite as well as you anticipated. What can you do to be sure your next holiday is not a disaster? How can you return home rested and relaxed instead of feeling like you need a vacation to recover from the vacation? Here are some questions to think about before spending your hard-earned cash on your next holiday.

What do you like to do? Do you prefer to lounge on a beach or beside a pool reading the newest best-seller by your favorite author? Or, is sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, or scuba diving more what you had in mind?

Where do you want to go? Obviously, if you want to relax on the beach, you will have to find an ocean. But where? There are wonderful beaches all over the world. Time, expense, and other diversions you want to take part in will figure into the decision.

What do you hope to get out of your vacation? Do you want relaxation, rest, and a chance to get away from telephones, faxes, pagers, and e-mail? Or, do you want to experience adventure? Do you want to pursue a hobby, join an archaeological dig, or improve your foreign-language skills?

Do you want to stay in one place during the whole vacation? Or, do you want to travel to various locations within a region?

Do you want to fly or drive to your destination or make traveling the focus of the trip?

Do you want to travel with a group? Or, do you want to be free to make your own schedule?

Answering these questions will help you decide where to go and what you want to do when you get there. Of course, the amount of time and money you have set aside for your vacation will influence your decisions. Also, whether you travel alone, with another person, or with children will affect your plans.

Whatever you choose to do and wherever you choose to do it, here are two pieces of advice to help take some of the stress out of the experience.

First, unless you are driving or camping, pack light. The fewer pieces of luggage you have to haul around, the better. This is particularly true if you are flying, taking a bus, or are planning to visit several cities. It's stressful enough hurrying to make connections in an airport or bus station without having to deal with more luggage than you can carry.

Many hotels will launder your clothes for an additional fee. Some hotels have washers and dryers for guests to use. If not, the manager will be able to direct you to the nearest laundromat. Though washing clothes is not the most fun activity you could choose while on vacation, doing it once or twice during your trip will allow you to pack significantly less clothing.

If you plan to buy gifts, handicrafts, or whatever while vacationing, it is helpful to pack another, smaller suitcase inside your larger one. That way, you can have an empty one to fill with your purchases instead of trying to stuff everything into one suitcase.

I have two identical duffel-type suitcases. I put one inside the other and pack my clothes in the inside suitcase. When I'm ready to go home, I separate the two suitcases and have an empty one in which to pack all my purchases.

Keep in mind, however, the limits on numbers of suitcases and their weight that airlines and bus companies impose. You don't want to pay a penalty for extra baggage at the end of your trip.

The second piece of advice is not to try to do everything and see everything a place has to offer. Look at guidebooks and websites that concern to the city or region you plan to visit. Undoubtedly, there will be many more offerings than you can possibly take advantage of in a short time.

Focus on what interests you most and do those activities. If art is your interest, plan to visit a few of the most interesting-sounding art museums and galleries. If shopping is your passion, plan to visit the most interesting artisan workshops and the shopping areas that offer the largest variety of items.

You can always add to your itinerary if you find you have time and energy to spare. Whatever you add to your pretrip list of activities will enrich your trip.

If you plan more activities than you have time and energy to carry out, you will feel exhausted and stressed as well as disappointed that you didn't do and see everything on your list.

Consider the weather and altitude differences between home and your destination. We didn't do that on our trip to Puerto Vallarta. We planned several activities but had no idea how the heat and humidity (even in December!) would affect us. We found we had far less energy than we had at home and did not see and do all we had planned. We were disappointed and did not have the vacation we had hoped.

If you use the questions to help you plan your trip and follow the two pieces of advice, I think you will find your next vacation will be more enjoyable and will be a success!



Expatriates Doug and Cindi Bower have successfully expatriated to Mexico, learning through trial and error how to do it from the conception of the initial idea to driving up to their new home in another country. Now the potential expatriate can benefit from their more than three years of pre-expat research to their more than two years of actually living in Mexico. The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico answers the potential expatriate's questions by leading them through the process from the beginning to the end. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn not only how-to expatriate but will learn what to expect, in daily life, before coming to Mexico. BUY BOOK HERE:

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