Next time you plan a vacation, use these tips to make it as stress free as possible.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy some well-deserved time off, right? That’s the hope when you start to plan a vacation. Sometimes, though, putting together an itinerary becomes stressful—daunting, even!

Don’t let the planning phase of your holiday detract you from having fun with your friends and family or on your own. Here are some tips to ensure your next trip’s preparation time it as stress-free as possible.

Preperation and Planning

As you start to plan a vacation, it’s easy to get sucked into a rabbit of hole of your ideal travel itinerary—accommodations, activities, restaurants, beaches, entertainment, museums—the list goes on and on! This can feel overwhelming and take up a lot of time. Instead, determine where you want to go and the length of the trip, then allot just a few days to read reviews and ask friends, family, or coworkers for recommendations on specific places to visit and stay. Take advantage of technology when planning. TechCrunch notes several travel planning apps that can help you along the way. Compare your options, but make a planning deadline so you don’t put too much on your plate. And remember, there will be time to hit that awesome spot on your next visit! Use your best judgment to make good choices, and solidify your plan within a reasonable time limit.

Fun With Flexibility

In the spirit of limiting your scope of to-dos, pencil in large blocks of time for a few activities throughout the day rather than filling in every hour. Sprinkling in activities at various times means you don’t have to stress about sticking to a strict schedule. Remind yourself that flexibility is vital for true relaxation. Take the pressure off and you may even have room for some spontaneous adventures.

Packing Picks

Simple: the word to remember when you start packing. Keep a running list of the things you’ll need for your trip, categorized into items you’ll need to purchase and those you’ll need to retrieve from storage. Additionally, aim to pack lightly. Heavy luggage can be cumbersome and make it difficult to get from point A to point B. Start packing early, last-minute prep makes everything more stressful and could even lead to you forgetting an essential.

Get the Most Out of It!

Keep in mind it may take a few days to de-stress and relax when you finally do get to unplug. If your trip is short, by the time you actually wind down, it may be time to head home. If you’re planning a few mini-vacations like a weekend getaway, consider replacing it with one longer trip. It doesn’t have to be a big faraway or exotic adventure, but even a long road trip up the coast or a quiet week spent with family at a cabin in the woods can give you enough time to unwind and relax.

Once you start to plan a vacation, start saving money right away—the earlier in advance the better. That way you won’t feel stressing about coming up with discretionary funds a week before the trip. At the end of the day, the most important part of a vacation is having a chance to recharge your battery by getting away from day-to-day responsibilities and relaxing with the people you care about most.

Liz Farquhar

About the AuthorLiz Farquhar

Liz Farquhar is an Atlanta-based writer who specializes in journalistic articles and branded content. She has contributed to NCAA.com and The Guilfordian, as well as a variety of industry blogs related to fashion, sports, automotive and software systems. Liz is passionate about performing thorough research for every topic to provide both unbiased journalistic pieces and branded content for businesses and industry publications.