Saturday, August 17, 2013

25 Rules for a Happy Vacation

(Cooling off the tootsies at Finnhamn)
  • Leave your expectations at home. Something always "goes wrong" or doesn't happen as you expect. Hence, the “leave your expectations at home” rule, which just might be the most important one. 
  • Over packing is okay. You're on vacation. Unless you are traveling with a backpack. Then pack as little as possible. 
  • If you will be gone longer than a week, bring two sets of sleep clothes. You might have access to a laundry room but if you don't you'll be glad to put on fresh jammies at the start of week two. Maybe even ecstatic.
  • If you aren't taking a plane, bring a reusable bottle for water. Makes life easier when you can fill it up at the hotel, hostel, cabin etc., and not have to think about where the nearest convenience store is. And they are often "inconvenient" to find when thirst strikes and you are in an unfamiliar place. 
  • Eat ice cream, or some equivalent treat every day. This is vital to vacation happiness. You will be doing a lot of active exploring and you need to keep your energy up. 
(4 of the 18 flavors at 18 Smaker in Stockholm)
  • Don't forget your camera and/or charger for said camera (or mobil phone if you use that for picture taking, which I do).
  • Plan activities and places to visit at your destination ahead of time but leave room for some spontaneity too. 
  • Sleep in until you wake up. You're on vacation!
  • Band aids and Neosporin for blisters, scrapes, or cuts. Always. 
  • If breakfast isn't included with your hotel room, venture out and try a local breakfast spot. This is one of my favorite things to do when traveling.

(Granola in Copenhagen)
  • This may be crazy, but I always bring my own bar of soap. Being prone to migraines and sensitive to scents, having my own soap sometimes means the difference between a headache day or a non-headache day. And I love having a normal sized bar instead of those tiny medallions that I seem to constantly drop in the shower. 
  • Sit at a cafe with a latte and treat and people watch. As often as possible. 
  • Wet wipes or hand sanitizer can make your life easier, and germ free!
  • Bring a rain jacket and/or umbrella.
  • Go out for an evening stroll or bike ride after dinner. I tend to eat more and later when I am on vacation and getting even a little exercise after a big meal helps me sleep better. 
(A bike ride, with my rain jacket that I was happy to have brought along!)
  • Drink lots of water! With all the extra coffees, beers, or glasses of wine I tend to forget to drink enough water. And hydration is always a good thing even if you are not consuming above mentioned beverages. 
  • Plan down time. I have a tendency to go, go, go when I'm visiting a new place. I want to see as much as possible. But I've learned over the years, with some help from my husband, that vacation "naps" or quiet time is definitely not overrated. And they give you a second wind for continuing on with your exploration. 
  • Go off the beaten path. I often find the hidden jewels of a city, town, or destination this way. Explore the local neighborhoods, not just the city center. 
  • Buy local art. It is a nice keepsake and it supports the artist who is trying to make the world more beautiful.
  • Be Happy all the live long day! You're on vacation!
(Need I say more?!)
  • Take time to smell the roses, or other fragrant flowers, along the road. 
  • Send post cards to family & friends. It may be old-fashioned in today's day and age but everyone loves to receive mail. And it's a nice way to let them know you are thinking of them. 
  • Bring a good book to enjoy on the journey to and from your destination. 
  • Invest in good luggage. The right rolling suitcase or carry-on/handbag can make a huge difference when you are hunting for your connections, hotel, etc. 
  • And most importantly.... HAVE FUN!!!! You’re on vacation!
(Fun and games at the Mirror House in the Copenhagen's Central Park. We practically pee'd ourselves taking photos and using the mirrors to make our heads, feet and rumps huge or tiny. Embracing your inner kid is always lots of fun.)

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