Learning how to Plan for a Family Vacation Without Going Crazy, to Enjoy Traveling, and to Enjoy Family Vacations & Come Back Closer Than Ever all go a long way in making sure your next family vacation is the best vacation you’ve ever had.

One theme that hopefully stands out in this series is making sure the time spent away is relaxing for everyone. Without that element, all the planning along with the best activities and locations will fail to produce a vacation that truly energizes and revives everyone.

Why is relaxing on vacations so essential?

Studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and mental health benefits. People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals. (Importance of Taking a Vacation, Allina Health)

Vacations are essential for a person’s physical health, but they also can provide tremendous mental benefit. Why Your Brain Needs Vacation provides the following reasons for taking a vacation:

  • Visiting an unfamiliar environment can give a new perspective on everyday life
  • Traveling abroad increases creativity through experiencing new cultures
  • Vacations allow for the opportunity to be mindful, which involves seeing new things and breaking mindless routines
  • Mindful vacations can result in an epiphany and be a catalyst for permanent change

To put special emphasis on the idea of truly relaxing while on vacation, consider the following tips regardless of where you go:

  1. Schedule down time. People often schedule activity upon activity when on vacation, resulting in fatigue that needs recovery time when they get home. Instead, schedule time to relax while on vacation. My family and I often scheduled as much if not more time to relax than we did for actual activities.
  2. Truly be on vacation. Simply put, don’t work. Turn off electronics, especially ones that relate to work, and leave projects at home. Shutting out work takes a deliberate decision. It will not happen otherwise.
  3. Clean your house. I hate the thought of returning to a messy house. So, my boys knew that preparing for vacation included cleaning the house. Knowing my house is clean allows me to relax more than I would otherwise.
  4. Get lots of R&R. Give yourself permission to rest and relax. For me and my oldest, that means reading a lot. My youngest son and my husband enjoy sports. For all of us, that means movies and games together. We also just sit and talk quite a bit outside when possible.
  5. Forget your routine. Allow yourself to sleep later and stay up later if you want. Give yourself permission to have an extra cup of coffee instead of heading out the door earlier. Eat lunch at 3pm if you want. Changing your routine is immensely relaxing and often enlightening.

Vacations provide a terrific setting for extra bonding with family, for exploring new cultures, and for learning history. Above all, they can be the perfect setting for true relaxation that does not come with everyday life for most people. Sure, relaxing looks different for every person, but everyone does need to schedule time to relax. For many, it just won’t happen otherwise.