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Travel & Stress Management: 10 Tips for Planning Your Vacation

by Stephanie Trovato, Travel Agent with Magical Moments Vacations

You've decided you want to go on vacation and maybe you even already know where you want to go. Whoo hoo! Now comes the hard part. It's not too often you can just snap your fingers and travel. Leading up to your trip there is the planning, the prep, the packing, the anticipation, all of which leads to stress... and who wants to kick off their vacation stressed? Not me!


While myself and other Travel Agents can do our part do help eliminate *most* of your stress when it comes to your dream vacation, I chatted with my friend who is a an expert in stress management, and together we created 10 tips and tricks for stress management while planning and taking a vacation. These have worked for us, and we hope they work for you as well!


VISUALIZE: Get clear about where you want to go, with whom you want to go with, and what kind of trip you want to have. By setting realistic expectations for your trip, the more pumped you are, and the better the whole experience will be!


RESEARCH: Once you have a clear picture of what kind of trip you want, start talking to people. You’ll be amazed at the places people have been and the exciting adventures they have taken. They can give you recommendations and let you know about good deals. This is also where starting a discussion with a Travel Agent comes in. TA's are a wealth of knowledge, are passionate about travel, and a great starting point for any vacation planning.


BUDGET: One of the most stressful parts of planning a vacation is money. Before you make the jump from dreaming of a vacation to actually planning, check your finances and make a realistic budget of what your vacation costs might be. You should know how much you feel comfortable spending for your trip, as you want to book a trip you can afford. The worst way to ruin a trip before you even start is to be stressed about money.


PLAN: It might seem a little obvious, but planning a trip involves so many aspects that it can feel very overwhelming! Planning a trip involves so many aspects that it can feel very overwhelming! By breaking the process down and making a “to-do” list, it will help alleviate anxiety. You don’t want to try and plan everything all at once - take your time and enjoy the process. Travel Agents are also your best friend during this part of the vacation process, as we can hand making hotel reservations, as well as plan out suggested itineraries, make restaurant recommendations, and help you check off those to-do list items!


GET ORGANIZED: Create a google folder where you can put all your research, to-do lists, spreadsheets, reminders, and important documents needed (especially when traveling internationally). You can share this folder with other people traveling with you so that everyone stays up to date and on the same page.


PACK EARLY: Make a list as you lead up to your departure date and make sure to pack early so that you can review items in a calm and grounded manner. Also check out suggested packing lists for your destination! If you are working with a TA, they are sure to have recommendations based on the weather, activities, and past experiences! Also, depending on the destination, Facebook groups can be a great source of tips for what to bring.


HAVE KIDS HELP: We love them, but they can be challenging vacation buddies. However, you can prepare for traveling with them by having them be a part of the process, starting with smaller trips, not over planning your days, staying present with them on the vacation and taking some memorable photos!


FLOW WITH IT: Things may not go exactly as planned and that is ok! In fact, some of the most magical moments on vacation are the ones that aren’t planned. Challenges may happen: delays, weather, forgotten items, KIDS (moods, tempers), etc. Some you can control, and some you can’t. The important thing to remember is to breathe, maybe laugh about it, think creatively, and as Elsa says, Let It Go!


ENJOY/LIVE IN THE MOMENT: You made it to your destination - the only thing left to do is take in every moment, after all - this is why you went through all the work and planning, right? Take the pictures; Take in the smiles; Enjoy the laughs. Try not posting the pictures until you get home. This way you have something to look forward to when you are back, and you aren’t caught up in the “How many likes did I get” spiral.


POST VACATION BLUES: The post vacation blues are real! However, there are ways to lessen them. Give yourself something to look forward to on the return. Maybe that’s an upgrade on the flight home to Even More Leg Room, or having a grocery delivery planned for when you get back so that’s one last chore you have to do, or giving yourself a buffer day before you get back to the grind.

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