How to Have a Stress-Free Vacation

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Planning a vacation is stressful on its own, and actually enjoying a holiday without a few unexpected incidents may appear unimaginable. However, having a good planning strategy is golden. Start with preparations early on, and make sure nothing slips your mind. With a few helpful tips, you’ll easily organize a stress-free vacation that an entire family will enjoy.

Disconnect from work

One of the most important things to think about is devoting your full attention to your family. Spending countless hours at the office leaves you with little time to devote to your kids and spouse, so use the vacation to compensate for the lost time. Let all your co-workers and bosses know you’re on vacation, and that you won’t be available during that time. Make sure you fulfill all the tasks before your trip. Just to be on the safe side, clue in your trustworthy co-workers about your ongoing projects and tasks, so that they can tackle any issues that might arise while you are on a vacation.

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Expect the unexpected

You can never be too alert, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared for various unpleasant situations. A delayed flight, bad weather, a flat tire on your car or carsickness could be some of the problems that may ruin your trip, but you could make them less stressful by planning ahead. Don’t let something as small as waiting for your flight an extra hour affect your mood for the rest of the vacation. Some things you just can’t predict, which is why you shouldn’t let them get to you. Avoid being overwhelmed by dissatisfaction and frustration, but rather go with the flow and try to enjoy and savour each moment of your travel.

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Take care of your home and pets

Don’t forget to cancel mail and newspaper subscriptions if you’re leaving your home unattended. Furthermore, make sure you provide your pet with a safe and pleasant home while you’re on a vacation. Look for pet boarding and leave your pet in good hands. Also, think about all the food that could go bad while you’re on vacation, and freeze it or throw it away before you leave. The last thing you need is to come back to a smelly home.

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Make lists

Lists are your best allies when it comes to packing. Feel free to write down all the essentials you think that you may forget to pack. From passports, medicines, cosmetics, maps, itineraries, sunblock, to batteries, chargers, phones and money – make sure you’ve crossed everything off the list before you leave. Furthermore, write down everything you need to do as well, like unplugging the electrical devices and appliances, emptying the trash bin and watering the plants, so you can have as stress-free a vacation as possible.

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Plan activities

A vacation is usually all about being spontaneous and enjoying the moment, but planning a few activities ahead couldn’t hurt either. Have a back-up solution if bad weather stops you from doing some outdoor activities, such as going paragliding. Planning out the day indoors could save you the unnecessary stress. Therefore, think about going to the museums and planetariums, or maybe visiting the aquarium nearby and enjoy all the beauties of art and entertainment instead of just being stuck in your hotel.

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Start packing in time

Packing is probably the most stressful part of every vacation, which is why you should do your best to make it as easier as possible. Start packing at least a week before the trip. This doesn’t mean you should put all of your stuff in a suitcase seven days before the trip, but at least, pick which wardrobe you’d like to bring, and put it aside, so you have everything ready for packing your bags. Use every day to think about potential items you’d want to bring. Don’t end up running around the house 2 hours before you have to leave, not knowing whether you’ve packed your hairbrush, your favourite sweater or a book you want to read at the beach.

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Having a stress-free vacation isn’t always easy, but it’s manageable. Just make sure you plan and start everything in time. You’ll enjoy a relaxing vacation with the family and come back fully prepared for the new work challenges.

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Your Pre-Road-Trip Checklist

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The modern world offers few surprises. Taking a trip around the world is just a few clicks away– now you can inspect photos, go to the street view on Google Maps and read exhaustive information about locations on Wikipedia. But who can shake off the call to adventure? Every now and then, the road trip itch needs to be scratched, but it requires meticulous preparation. If you decide to jump into your car and take off with a group of friends or family members, here is a pre-road-trip checklist.

How to pack?

If you are going on a road trip for more than two days, you will need two essential items – a bag or a backpack you can carry around and a proper suitcase. The traveling wardrobe goes into your suitcase – two pairs of jeans, a jacket (and a raincoat for possible rain days) and several comfortable shirts (long-sleeved are better than short-sleeved – you can always fold your sleeves).

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As far as underwear and socks go, the number depends on the number of days you will spend on the trip. Put all your toiletries in a single case –a vanity case or a toiletry bag. It is crucial to pack the one made of cloth and nylon so it can take up less space once you put it in the suitcase.

As far as a backpack goes, put all the things you need to keep within arm’s reach inside – your wallet, money, ID, credit card, additional documentation, smartphone/tablet/laptop or all three if you need them.

How to check your vehicle?

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It’s crucial to check your vehicle and tune it up before the trip. First of all, check your car fluids – which include engine oil, brake, power steering and transmission fluids, and coolant. Even the most fastidious drivers forget to check the windshield washer fluid from time to time, so use this as a reminder.

You do not have to be a car expert to know what sort of engine oil you need – when you pop the hood, it should be printed out on the engine. Take a piece of throwaway cloth and use a stick to dip it into the engine oil to check how fresh it is. Smearing the stick across the cloth will show you how dirty the oil is and if it warrants changing. The staining should be minimal and it should not smell burnt. When it comes to reliability, Castrol engine oil is a safe bet.

If the coolant level is low, pour in more antifreeze, and check whether it already comes with a 50/50 water ratio mix. Also, do not forget to check if seat belts, doors and brake lights are in pristine condition. If you come across more than a few minor problems, you should probably go to the local car service shop and get the help of professionals.

How to leave your home?

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You need to secure your household against potential break-ins. Cancel your mail and newspaper deliveries while you are gone or ask the neighbor to collect them for you – a pile of papers invites robbers to your front door. Additionally, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway while you are out of town and put motion detectors on your exterior lights. Secure all doors and windows before you leave, and turn on the house alarm (if you have one). Empty and unplug the freezer and the refrigerator (for long trips) unless someone will be living in your household and taking care of it while you are gone.

How to create a playlist?

Every true road trip has to include a playlist of appropriate songs. Heartland and blue-collar rock, glam and arena rock classics, new age and post-punk revival, as well as (yes, we are going there) country music are just some of the beloved genres of the road. Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Kansas, U2, and the Killers are nearly unavoidable if you are driving along the expansive landscapes. Johnny Cash, John Denver, and Willie Nelson are country favorites that garner a whole new texture around 30 miles per hour.

Road trips are the closest things we have to adventures right now – and just like adventures, they come with a risk of unpredictable situations and even dangers. Go through a checklist of the necessities in order to prepare properly. It will take a little time for preparations before your trip, but better to be safe than sorry.

This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.

How to Pass Time on a Long Trip

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Sometimes, while travelling for a long time, the hours just seem to drag by. If you get easily bored on a plane, bus or train, why not try some of these tricks to pass the time and arrive fresh and ready to explore? 

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Catch some Zs

Travelling is a great way to get some extra sleep and pass the time. Although it can be a little uncomfortable for the legs, sleeping on a bus or a train accompanied by the rhythms and the sounds of traffic is hands down the best way to sleep. And don’t hesitate to splurge on a sleeping compartment when on the train. There you can stretch your legs and back, close your eyes and just relax as the train lulls you to sleep. If you have some valuables with you, such as a laptop, camera, phone and money, make sure to keep them close to you while sleeping.

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Shoot photos

All professional travellers always carry their camera with them, and so should you. You’ll get to shoot some beautiful nature scenes, cities, villages and people you don’t get to see every day. Your photos are actually one of the most valuable things you can take home from your adventures, and most people cherish them forever. So, have your camera at hand at all times and who knows what kind of masterpiece you’ll create.

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Watch movies

If you happen to fly, most of today’s flights are equipped with an entertainment system, so you can catch up with the movies you’ve missed in the cinema. However, if you’re travelling by bus, you can take your laptop or tablet and fill it with TV shows and movies to pass the time. They are also good airport companions, especially on long layover flights. 

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Make new friends

Travelling alone is perfect for meeting new people and making new friends. Look for other solo travellers who look bored like you, or start a conversation with your seatmate. Who knows, you might meet some extraordinary people, your future BFF or even your soul mate. However, don’t be pushy, as some people just want to enjoy their trip in peace.

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Bring some cards

No matter if you’re travelling with your friends, family or alone, you should always make some extra space for a deck of cards. This way you can play a variety of games with people and even alone. Solitaire, anyone? Cards are also an amazing way to break the ice and start talking to other people. You can also get one of those travel chess boards with magnets and play a game or two.

Enjoy some music

One thing a traveller mustn’t forget to bring is an iPod or an mp3 player. When you’re down and exhausted, music will pick you up and give you the energy to push forward. It will also relax you and fix your mood. Music is also a great way to tune out conversations, crying babies and loud sounds of the plane or train. But if you just can’t ignore the noises in the background, you can get noise-cancelling headphones such as AKG headphones that will completely isolate you from the rest of the world.

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Read a book

Before, it wasn’t so easy to carry two or three books with you at all times, but today, that’s not difficult at all. Even though you might be a fan of the “real deal”, e-books are much more practical for travelling and they can almost fit into your pocket. Any time is good for reading, but if you’re stuck on a plane or a train, it can really save your life. However, it’s not recommended for people who suffer from motion sickness. 

So, remember these, and next time you go on a trip, you won’t be bored or lonely. Bon voyage, traveller!