What’s the point of having work-life balance if you are stressed out about taking time off for travel? Being more productive at home and at the office is the best way to free up more vacation time. However, the act of travel can be stressful whether solo, as a couple, or with family, and you may find yourself anxious and longing to return home. You should be happy to know that there are simple ways to manage your work-life-vacation balance for health and happiness.
The key is to follow best practices for taking back your personal time, planning rewarding trips that offer balance, and removing the stress that often comes with upcoming vacations. Follow along with this collection of 30 work-life balance tips for traveling on vacation with minimal stress (and return happy and refreshed).
How to Take Back Your Time
When your #1 hobby and passion is to travel, say no (as much as possible) to extra work assignments, attending evening events, and putting in overtime hours.
Hang a printout at your desk with a vacation countdown number to (gently) keep reminding your co-workers, colleagues, and staff that soon you’ll be leaving on vacation (and when). Tip: Buy a desk-sized whiteboard or design and print a custom poster using Canva.
Plan long weekend vacation like a road trip (Thursday or Friday to Sunday or Monday) so you are never away from your job responsibilities for more than a 3 or 4 day weekend.
Ask if you can work from home 1 day a week or shift your work schedule to save on commute time, reduce office stress, and gain back time to plan a trip.
Search for tools to improve your work-life balance such as books and apps for time tracking, mindfulness, stress reduction, day planners, and productivity.
Outsource anything you can justify the expense (spend money to save time) like for household cleaning, travel planning, managing your finances, shopping for groceries, preparing meals, etc…
Implement a getting-things-done type system to reduce the worry you’ll forget about critical and important tasks when at work, home, and especially when you are off on vacation time.
Declutter your life starting with things in your house, things on your desk, and things in your virtual life. Get rid of something every week like stuff you don’t use (sell, donate, or recycle), things you won’t get to (delegate or eliminate), and online distractions (cancel subscriptions and block social media or time-sucking sites).
Subscribe to travel newsletters and follow travel bloggers online to get a constant reminder and motivation to plan a vacation to stunning, thrilling, far-off destinations.
How to Plan Trips with Balance
Try to take your vacations during the quietest time of year at your place of work when there are no major deadlines, product launches, critical sales periods, and fewer people away from the office to cover for you.
Break up a two-week vacation by scheduling a day of work in the middle to call and check in with the office to deal with any urgent matters that requires your attention.
Use your lunch break (actually take an hour away from your desk) to research plans for your next trip. Find nearby coffee shops, libraries, or a park bench to get out of work mode.
Buy a luxury, adventure, or budget travel guidebook and map so you’ll have a way to look up destination advice when mobile data coverage is limited but more importantly, to limit distracting device time and stay in the vacation moment ____________
Leave for vacation on a Sunday or take a vacation day off before you depart so you have a full day at home to pack, prepare, and depart relaxed and in control.
Leverage bleisure travel off by turning a business trip like a sales call, customer meeting, or conference into an opportunity to be on vacation without having to decide where to go.
Exercise, do yoga, meditate, relax with a hobby, or do anything that helps you to remove the stress of the work day. You don’t want to be stressed about work or life when you should be looking forward to your next vacation. Search YouTube for meditation or relaxing music.
Create a trip itinerary that includes a vacation within your vacation – i.e. a few days of rest and relaxation at a resort or retreat in the middle or end of your trip. That means not worrying about being on the go traveling from place to place every day.
Travel to a remote company office so you can work from another city or country as a way to get out of your work routine and travel on the company dollar.
How to Lower Travel Stress
Buy travel medical insurance as soon as you make your first trip payment so you don’t have to worry about trip cancellation if you get sick or injured or having to pay huge medical bills to a foreign country.
Set a calendar reminder alarm to tell you to go home at a set (reasonable) hour each day leading up to your vacation. You can use that time to pack with confidence before the last minute.
Configure and turn on a detailed out-of-office message so your workers know not to keep pinging you and who instead to contact with questions and issues while you’re away.
Send a copy of your summarized itinerary to family members for use in case of emergency including flight numbers, hotels contacts, reservation codes, and international phone numbers.
Schedule time to talk to your co-workers in person before heading on vacation so they are fully briefed and you are not concerned they are informed and ready to take over.
Embrace the vacation mindset using the mindfulness techniques from VacationCounts to get in the moment to depart on your trip with excitement, not stress and anxiety.
Remind yourself how you earned days off for the hard work, career success, and the contributions you put in every day on the job. Taking vacations is a benefit of working so don’t feel guilty.
Block your calendar days with ‘busy’ time for the last day before you go on vacation leave. You don’t want to get inundated with stressful meetings and getting pulled into new projects at the last minute.
Work-Life-Vacation Balance App
Now is the time to take control of your work-life balance to benefit from a much deserved vacation without feeling overworked, stressed-out and anxious. Give the free VacationCounts web app a try to:
Organize your list of past vacations so you never forget them
Track your paid time off earnings and usage throughout the year
Measure and achieve better work-life-vacation balance
Bookmark this page or click the ‘Save as PDF’ menu item to download or use the ‘Print’ button in your web browser to grab a copy. You’ll want to revisit this list to optimize your work-life balance when it is time to travel on vacation. What other ways do you recommend to reduce stress that comes with a lack of work-life balance so that you can travel more, better, and happier?