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7 Tips to Plan Your Dream Vacation

7 Tips to Plan Your Dream Vacation

Vacation season is almost upon us, and chances are you’re already looking forward to your family’s trip this year. Even though vacations are supposed to be relaxing, sometimes it’s so difficult to balance scheduling, accommodations, financing and more, that your dream vacation can turn into a real downer.

Don’t let that happen to you! With a little preparation, you can have the perfect vacation you’ve always wanted. Read these 7 tips to get started planning your relaxation destination today!

Tip #1: Location

Okay, the first step is choosing the location of your family vacation. To do this, take the following into consideration:

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  • Budget: How far you can go and how long you can stay all depend on your budget. Long, extravagant trips are great, but it’s better to be financially responsible! More than this, if you’re traveling internationally, research the exchange rates between countries. Smart travelers stretch their dollar by going to international destinations where the exchange rates favor them.
  • Weather: Not all paradise locations have ideal weather all year long. Be sure to check the weather patterns of your chosen destination, making sure there aren’t expected natural disasters like droughts or hurricanes.
  • Language Barriers: Going off the beaten path for an adventurous vacation in an exotic location sounds amazing, but make sure you can communicate with the locals before you go, whether it be in broken phrases you learn yourself (better than nothing) or through a translator (best option).

Tip #2: Occupy the Kids

Everyone adores their children, but they can be a tricky challenge on vacation. Many parents have found themselves babysitting their child’s vacation experience instead of having their own. To avoid this, plan ahead to include plenty of child-friendly activities and especially anything supervised that you may be able to leave them for a few hours.

One of the worst mistakes you can make is showing up to the hotel room without an exciting schedule already planned for the kids, with some alone-time written in for you.

Tip #3: Skip the Season

If you’re anything like us, crowded beaches and streets flooded with tourists are a real turn off on vacation. As hypocritical as it sounds, it’s just easier to enjoy your time without so many other travelers in the way. To avoid tourist traffic and even snag better prices on travel and accommodations, consider traveling in the off-season.

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The off-season is based on the country you’re going to, not your own, though travel prices differ on both sides. Be sure to research why that area is in an off-season, as it can sometimes be an indication of poor weather or some other deterrent.

Tip #4: Pack Smart

The less you bring, the less likely you are to lose something in transit. Plus, nothing is worse than having to lug around huge suitcases and tote bags everywhere they go. Smart packing includes preparing for the local weather at your vacation destination, as well as bringing emergency items like extra cell-phone batteries. Don’t bring anything disposable that you can get where you’re going

Tip #5: Unplug. Seriously.

Vacations are a chance for you to forget everything about daily life, including your responsibilities and current events. Make a strong appeal to yourself and your family to unplug from mobile devices and computers on the trip. Any time you feel the urge to post a picture from the beach or check your email, remember the reason you planned this trip to begin with and put the phone back down.

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Tip #6: Set a Goal

This may seem to cross the line of relaxing vacation with militancy, but hear us out. Setting a goal for your vacation is the perfect way to give you and your family wants as a collective unit, without depending on rigid schedules or tour-by-number experiences. With a goal in mind beforehand, you’ll find yourself more open to spontaneous adventures, and your family working together to achieve a common bond.

A problem families often face, where everyone has their own idea about what the vacation should be, results from not setting goals. You end up going in different directions or some people not being able to enjoy vacation. Discussing everyone’s expectations beforehand will go a long way.

Tip #7: Double-Check Everything!

There’s a lot of paperwork involved with planning a vacation, even if you do it all online. Double-check everything, including:

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  • Passports, licenses and registrations. You want all personal documentation in a safe, dry place that’s not accessible to thieves.
  • Call to check on your reservations before you go, including those to events.
  • Double- and triple-check with those who are taking care of your home or pets while you’re gone. Leave a detailed schedule and list for them to help things run smoothly.

Have an awesome vacation!

Whether your vacation is to the next county over, or all the way across the world, we’re sure you’re going to have a great time. Make sure you’re well prepared now so you can enjoy some real relaxation when you’re finally there!

Featured photo credit: Take Vacations via lifehack.org

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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