Reading travel blogs and vacation brochures, it’s easy to believe that the ideal vacation involves a perfectly planned excursion, from the selection of the destination to the activities, landmarks, and restaurants that can’t possibly be missed. For a certain kind of traveler, this rigorously scheduled expedition can be exhilarating; popular vacation destinations usually provide so many opportunities for activities and excitement that one can pack the days full. For the rest of us, however, this overstuffed style of vacationing only makes the entire process seem more exhausting, both during the trip and while planning it out ahead of time.
In fact, a recent study by MasterCard that surveyed Americans found that pre-vacation planning can be extraordinarily stressful. 49% reported that putting together a day-by-day plan of events and activities before the trip caused undue stress, while 50% loathed deciding on a location at all. Even 66% of those who have already scheduled their trips tend to feel pre-vacation anxiety. Many travel experts believe that much of this stress comes from overplanning, particularly from obsessing over packing every day full of things to do. While it seems only natural to try and make the most of what might be an expensive vacation, many people benefit from stepping back from the planning process.
In order to reduce pre-trip stress, consider easing up on your plans; vacation shouldn’t feel like work! The destination selection process can often be simplified by just selecting a tired-and-true classic, someplace you already know you love. Another great way to reduce the stress involves setting a price point and sticking to it, as well as asking friends for advice on what to see and where to go. Most importantly, don’t worry overmuch about getting that pre-vacation plan down perfectly. Perhaps come armed with a few activities or side trips, but leave yourself room to simply relax and unwind.