Kindness comes in three forms- kindness to yourself, to others, and to the world around you. Sometimes this means planning ahead to be sure all three bases are covered. A well thought out vacation can mean the difference between emanating kindness all around and falling back on less practical and possibly even harmful habits.
What does a typical vacation look like for you?
Do you plan a trip, then rush around trying to get everything ready to go? Do you spend a ton of cash on activities that wind up being more stressful than fun? Do you wind up bringing home souvenirs that get forgotten within a week and add to the clutter in your home?
If you asked me those questions two years ago, I would have answered yes to most of them. The word ‘vacation’ used to be synonymous with the word ‘more’ in my mind. As in, more work, more money spent, more useless stuff to be carted home, more stress, and more irritability.
But not anymore.
Times have changed. My life is no longer dictated by the ‘more is better’ mentality and it has helped me immensely. Not only am I actually able to enjoy vacations now, but I’m also able to make them meaningful and in accordance with my beliefs.
And here’s how you can too:
Decide what really matters. What are you really looking for in a vacation? If you want to relax, don’t bother scheduling activities simply because you feel you should while you are away. Choose a destination that allows you to enjoy yourself with minimal effort. Want too see all the sites? Do your research. Make sure the businesses you are intending on giving your money to are acting responsibly. Pick a central location to sleep in to minimize travel. Find out when the least crowded times to visit them are. See when they are the cheapest. Talk to people who have been where you’re planning on going. A little bit of time before scheduling can save you a whole lot of headaches later.
Say ‘yes’ to memories. What do you really want to take home from your vacation? I bet it isn’t clutter. If you find a souvenir that is meaningful and useful, then sure, splurge on it if it’s within your budget. But if you don’t, forgo the unnecessary expense of traditional items to take home and focus on making some memories that will outlast anything you could buy anyway. Try taking the opportunity to give back to the place you are staying in and opt for some volunteer work- you’ll be helping out and will feel great about it!
Think it through. Sometimes things sound like a great idea until you actually get down to doing them. Avoid the unexpected by evaluating your plans step by step. Many times, items that go forgotten are sitting right back in your home. For example, a simple thing to do is bring a few reusable dishes and water bottles if you are planning on eating in your room. The planet would be happier if you opted out of the paper plates and plastic utensils. And so would your wallet.
Take it one step at a time. Give yourself adequate time to prepare for your trip. Start setting things out as the date nears. Little by little you’ll get things done with minimal effort, allowing it to seem like no preparation at all. Also, it will give you the time to rethink your activities and necessary items for them. You’d be surprised how many common items that are considered vacation essentials, really aren’t. Even with preparation, there is still the chance that opportunities you haven’t researched may present themselves. Try not to sweat it. Roll with the punches if it will make your vacation more memorable.
Consider your impact. Yes, vacations are often times to splurge on things that you normally would skip, but it’s not fair to skip out on your morals. Try staying close to home to reduce the travel ramifications, or even opting for a ‘staycation’ if your home can offer you what you are looking for. If you do decide to visit another place, be sure to ready your home so it’s utilizing the minimum amount of resources necessary while unoccupied.