Ever wonder why your vacation didn’t quite live up to your expectations? Even with all the planning, thought, money and time you invest, a vacation can often feel rushed, stressful and more exhausting than relaxing.
We asked a travel concierge what mistakes customers make that could hamper their holiday – and keep them from a trip of a lifetime. If you avoid these four common missteps, you can take your trip to the next level. Think of it as an easy upgrade to your vacation mental health.
Nix the phrase “I need a vacation from my vacation,” from your conversations. A vacation shouldn’t leave you exhausted. While it’s ever-so tempting to see and do everything, the truth is, you’re not actually experiencing the destination if you’re hopping from one thing to the next on a very tight timeline. “It’s a common mistake for many to want to check off everything on their bucket list when travelling,” explains travel concierge Alain Robert, founder of The Travelogist.
“They often forget that an overpacked itinerary leaves little space and time to enjoy the actual experience. Slow down and enjoy the journey.” That also goes for the timing of your flight, says Robert. Most people assume the earliest flight will mean you’ll get more time in your destination. But the truth is, you’ll be waiting for your hotel room and you’ll likely be wiped out. “When you align your timing, you’ll avoid senseless waiting around while enjoying your downtime at your own pace.”
DON’T skip alone time
It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling with family, friends, or your partner. Everyone needs some alone time. That time could be just to sleep in, spend an hour or two at a cafe, an afternoon at a museum, or a whole day at the beach without anyone else. This is a way to make sure people get the vacation they want (some dislike museums while others love them, as an example), and for everyone to feel like they’re experiencing the destination in the best way for them. It also gives people more freedom and flexibility over their own budgets – choosing to spend their money where they would like to the most.
Speaking of shelling out the cash – unexpected expenses can totally put a damper on your vacation. The easiest solution is to budget above and beyond what your actual hard costs are. When planning your trip, take what you expect the total amount to be and add a comfortable buffer zone around that dollar amount. That way you’re more at ease should something come up (an excursion you hadn’t planned on, or an extra expensive meal, a hotel or flight change, etc.).
DON’T forget your points
“A lot of people don’t realize that their points programs can often be interchangeable,” explains Robert. And those points can help secure the perks and upgrades you really want on vacation. “Just because you have thousands of hotel points doesn’t mean you can only apply those to your hotel stay. It’s important to define the value of those points before cashing them in, you’d be surprised what you can do with those.” Upgrades (both the literal and mental kind), here we come!