Has anyone ever told you that they needed a vacation after coming home from their vacation?
You may think they’re crazy, but statistically, they’re right.
In 2010, the Applied Research in Quality of Life journal surveyed 1,500 participants on their happiness before and after going on vacation and found that most people didn’t feel any happier after returning from their travels. Why? Isn’t time away supposed to refresh and renew your spirit?
Exactly. It’s supposed to. But what they found is that the ‘average’ vacation is more of a stress-inducer than a stress-reliever.
So another study was done to determine if the type of vacation taken had anything to do with post-vacay stress, and you guessed it: stressful travels undermine the benefits of time away. After going through the stress of a divorce, a vacation can be just what you need to recharge, reset, and return home ready to conquer the world.
So how do you plan a stress-reducing vacation instead of spending a boat-load of money to feel even more frazzled than you would have had you stayed home and watched Netflix? Here are the results, by the numbers:
It’s All In The Details
A whopping 74 percent of vacationers in the survey felt that the most stressful aspect of time away were travel details like securing transportation, navigating unfamiliar territory, and time wasted because of these issues.
Maybe you’ve seen a family member trying to maneuver a busy tourist city or driving on the opposite side of the road overseas. Not very relaxing, is it?
Travel will be different this time around, as you will be solo and won’t have a spouse to depend on when things get confusing or stressful. While there will always be some uncertainty while exploring a new place, your best bet in combatting this common source of vacation stress is to have a concierge or travel agent make your transportation arrangements.
Other options include using public transportation to avoid driving unfamiliar roads and budgeting a little extra to cover the cost of taxis, rideshares, and cabs that can get you where you want to go, while you relax and enjoy the view from the backseat window.
Back to those details: If you’re a procrastinator, it may be helpful to note that 90 percent of those who reported having a stress-reducing vacation planned their trip more than one month in advance, while many of those who reported having a less than stellar time were still planning at the last minute.
Want a better chance at an enjoyable getaway? Plan sooner rather than later. Make hotel and flight arrangements. Decide what attractions you’ll visit and when. Schedule downtime for relaxation, and arrange for any transportation needed to explore your destination.
The best part about your trip this time around is that you have no one to worry about but yourself. You can finally try out sunset yoga or go zip lining. Being prepared is key, but you now have the luxury of being able to change your plans on a whim.
Go Far, Far Away
In 2013, researchers at the University of Vermont looked to see if there was a correlation between tweets that include ‘happy words’ and the tweeter’s location. What they found is that the number of positive keywords in a person’s tweets significantly increases the further that individual is from home.
So did this finding hold up in the survey conducted on vacationers? Yup. Eighty-four percent of the ‘best’ trips reported were to another country.
And what about staycations, where your own backyard is seen as your travel destination? Well, you might avoid the stress of transportation while navigating the same roads you drive every other day, but 94 percent of vacationers found travelling to new places more meaningful than trying to vacation at home.
Besides, it will be nice to get far, far away from everything associated with the divorce. Use this as a time to deal with your emotions and do a little bit of self-discovery. A vacation can be a great way to switch up your perspective and return home with a whole new outlook.
Get Yourself A Guide
Travel details and transportation arrangements were two of the biggest factors that contributed to vacation stress, but right up there with them was not feeling safe in a strange place. On the stress-reducing trips, vacationers reported having a guide, host, or knowledgeable companion during their visit.
Of course, if you do decide to use a guide, book a reputable one prior to your trip. Don’t just get in the car with the first friendly native you meet at the airport. This person might actually be harmless, but it’s not a chance worth taking. Remember, solo travel is as safe as traveling with others as long as you have the right safeguards in place.
Secure Your Home
While vacations themselves can cause stress, worrying that your home, possessions, and pets are safe while you’re away can make you uneasy and unable to relax as well.
Take precautions: hire someone to take on dog walking or dog boarding duties, have the post office hold your mail, put your lamps on timers to turn on and off as though someone is home, have neighbors take turns parking in your driveway to give the illusion of traffic, and even consider notifying your local police department that you’ll be away. It will take even more planning, but if it puts your mind at ease so you can get your money’s worth out of your vacation, it’s worth doing.
Vacations are meant to be an escape, so don’t let yours turn into something you’re running away from. Keep these tips in mind and give yourself the relaxing trip you deserve post-divorce. You deserve it.
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