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5 Tips to Prepare for your Next Staycation Adventure

5 Tips to Prepare for your Next Staycation Adventure

You don’t have to go far to go on an adventure. If cabin fever has been getting the better of you, staycations are a great solution for breaking the monotony of everyday life. Exploring your city, town, or nearby locations can give you the same good mix of fun and relaxation–without the long queues, complex itineraries, and skyrocketing expenses. Need more reasons to plan your next nearby getaway? Going on staycations doesn’t just benefit you and your travel group, it also positively impacts the local economy and environment.

Taking a few days off to immerse in a beautiful but nearby scenery is a smart and convenient way to bring back vibrance into your life. Is there a nearby beach your locale is known for? How about adding a bit of adventure riding a speedboat or going on a scuba dive? Maybe treat yourself to a gastro-fix with the night sky as a backdrop? Rewarding yourself with a luxurious vacation rental where you can just hang out and relax sounds like a great idea too. Going on a staycation opens limitless possibilities for you to safely enjoy a vacation in a place that’s within reach.

While you don’t need a plan that’s set in stone to thoroughly enjoy a staycation, a few tips can help you maximize your getaway. Here are some nifty ideas to get you started:

Aim to go beyond the weekend

A weekend escape sounds like a good idea but extending a day or two is even better. Being intentional about rest and recreation means setting ample time for it. Imagine experiencing a beautiful view at a leisurely pace versus catching your breath to get from one amazing spot to the other. Staycations are a tempting option for an overnight stay since long queues and distant miles are out of the picture. A few extra days, however, might just spell the difference between getting into vacation mode and a regular weekend.

Set your schedule --and mind for vacation mode

It can be challenging to relax when you have tons of emails and house work to attend to. Fulfill your prior commitments a few days before you hit the road. Set up your email auto responder. You’ll also want to come back home to an organized and tidy space. Clean out food from the refrigerator, empty the garbage cans, unplug devices and appliances. As you unplug, free your mind as well from stress, embrace the next few days, you’re on vacation!

You can also get maximum relaxation from your staycation when you tap into the power of your five senses. A getaway is not the time to multitask. Let go and immerse yourself in the moment. Savor the mouthwatering meals. Delight in nature’s raw symphonies. Get a hydrotherapy session by choosing a vacation rental with a pool or one that is near the ocean. Enjoy the milieu and also take time to feast on the smaller details. Before you set out to explore your own backyard, check our blog on how engaging your senses through travel is a great way to reduce stress.

Organizing your itinerary?

Try timeblocks for Culture, Adventure, and Nature

The key to any amazing staycation is to get out of your usual routine. Create an itinerary that will allow you to see the fun even in a familiar place. One way to organize your itinerary is to diversify your activities by dedicating a day or a timeblock to each of these categories: Culture, Adventure, and Nature.

  • Culture – What’s the buzz about your locale? What do travelers like most about it? Take time to experience it with your travel squad. Book a museum tour, visit heritage places, dine at an ethnic restaurant.
  • Adventure – What vibrant and lively activity can you try? Take a speed boat tour package to get your adrenaline pumping while enjoying the ocean view. Snorkel or scuba dive and let marine life inspire you. Find a biking trail or a kayak rental or get sun-kissed and enjoy a round of beach volleyball.
  • Nature – Enjoy nature at a leisurely pace. Go on a trek, walk on the coast, lie on the sand, stargaze with your favorite drink at hand.

Let creativity flow and surprise yourself

Sprinkle some variety to your indoor activities too. A staycation is the perfect time to surprise yourself with something new. Does your vacation rental come with a kitchen? Then it’s time to swap or rotate cooking duties with your travel squad. Add some new flavors to your usual menu. Bring board games or card games to liven up your downtime. Go for a wildcard program when you switch on the television.

The opportunity to be creative is all around, even in your own backyard. You don’t have to travel halfway across the globe. You just have to be open-minded and add a few tweaks here and there. Be wacky, wild, and wonderful!

Ready, Set, Snooze!

Make sure your accommodations offer quality sleeping arrangements. Rest is one of your priorities. Not catching enough sleep will also leave you sluggish and unable to enjoy the amazing activities you’re set to do. That being said, maybe an afternoon nap sounds like a great idea. Shut your eyes, turn off your alarm, you’re on vacation and you’re free to sleep in.

Your next amazing adventure does not have to wait until long. You can experience the benefits of a vacation with the right mindset, enough diversity, and a spark of creativity.

The Perfect Way to Reduce Your Stress: Engaging Your Senses Through Travel

The Perfect Way to Reduce Your Stress: Engaging Your Senses Through Travel

Living through uncertain times has left many of us with higher stress and anxiety levels compared to before. Stress has become an ever-present, inescapable part of our lives that more often, we end up living with it. We all know that stress is counterproductive, so what can we do about it?

A good start is understanding that you can manage your stress. Be aware of your stressors and make stress management an indispensable part of your lifestyle. Take note of proven stress-reducing techniques.  Applying these to your lifestyle indicates that you are taking the steps towards wellness.

There are several evidence-based techniques to help improve your well-being. But often, they all boil down to these two principles: 

  1. investing more in experiences instead of material things; and 
  2. savoring these experiences and moments.

How and why do these techniques work? These reduce stress because they help the mind stay focused on positivity. By default, your mind wanders aimlessly, and a wandering mind typically goes off to dark places. This leads to you feeling anxious and stressed. Paying more attention to wellness and positivity, and investing in experiences, lets your mind become more engaged and activated to welcome and appreciate new things. The satisfaction you feel from your positive experiences also has a lasting, more enduring effect, compared to spending on material things.

So what better way to cope with stress? Vacation. Travel. Getaway.

Incorporating vacations into your lifestyle is a great way to combine these two stress-reducing principles. During travel, you can further cultivate a stress-free mind and body by harnessing the power of your senses. You need to savor each moment of your travel by mindfully recognizing its multi-sensory facets.

Here’s why travel is so good for reducing your stress and improving your well-being:

Travel is Conducive to Savoring (yes, literally!)

 

How can you not forget the mouthwatering meals you have on vacation? A ripe and juicy watermelon, the mix of a sweet and tangy dressing on a garden salad, the fall-off-the-bone barbecue ribs, the crunch of delicious deep-fried chicken sambal, the array of seafood cooked in butter and herbs, capping off a meal with the perfect chocolate truffle. When you travel, you are likely to be fully in the moment, allowing yourself to enjoy and appreciate your meals more.

Going on vacation is the perfect way to indulge in food without any guilt. The food you eat not only nourishes your body but also lets you deepen your knowledge and appreciation of the place. The experience of trying unique flavors leaves a mark in your memory and provides you with comforting thoughts long after the vacation. Another stress-reducing benefit of food is how it brings people together. Sharing meals is the perfect way to bond with the people you are with.

 

Take Travel as an Auditory Adventure

By being mindful and intentional about what you absorb through listening, you can initiate a mood, cultivate learning, and build connections. The best part is that your auditory adventures like listening to music, talking to people, or delighting in nature’s raw symphonies are often inexpensive and accessible. 

Before your travel, create a dedicated playlist for your vacation to get you in the right mood. You can go from full-on upbeat tunes for active adventures or a more laidback selection perfect for a relaxing getaway. Sometimes it only takes a good playlist to turn idle waiting time into a window for relaxation. There are also meditation apps that you can check out for your travel. 

Being exposed to your travel destination’s local language makes way for great learning too! Even if the language in your travel destination is the same one you speak, being observant of a fresh vocabulary can take your mind off stressful thoughts. Another sensory delight is experiencing the local music scene. Enjoy a night of jamming by the beach. Dine-in restaurants that showcase local bands. Check for cultural performances that feature musical presentations.

Why are conversations during vacation time more memorable and impactful? Because we build better connections through active listening. Perhaps because you are far from your usual distractions, or the environment is more relaxed, being on vacation has a way of naturally allowing you to listen in more closely to the people you are with. Whether with locals or with your travel companions, being present through listening is a key element in creating meaningful conversations. When you are intentional about being your best self through listening, you learn more, and you are also able to give more.

Travel Activates the Soothing Aspects of Touch

Savoring tactile sensations is a great way to melt off stressful thoughts. On vacation, there are tons of ways to get the soothing benefits of touch. Hydrotherapy or immersing in water has inherent stress-relief properties. Taking a dip in a pool, soaking in a tub, or basking in ocean water are reliable ways to help you let go of stressful thoughts. You can also nurture positive feelings by going for a sunbathing session, feeling the sand or grass between your toes, getting a massage, or wearing comfortable clothes.

Travel Refreshes and Soothes us Through the Power of Smell

The popularity of aromatherapy and essential oils is a testament to the power of scents to help you de-stress. Remember how the comforting scent of a freshly cleaned hotel room gets your mood up, excited for all the good things that you will experience in the coming days? Once you go outside, you will be delighted by all sorts of scents that will invigorate your spirit.  When having a vacation in a place surrounded by nature, stress relief through olfactory sensations becomes accessible. The smell of seawater, fresh air, fragrant flowers, and fresh fruits. Savoring these pleasant smells allow you to inhale positivity and exhale toxicity.

Travel Opens your Eyes to a Visual Spectacle

Traveling opens your eyes to new sights, and your mind is nurtured through the sights you see.

Nature-filled vacation spots often lend a relaxing feeling.  Allow yourself to melt into the moment by resting your eyes on the horizon, seeing the vast stretch of the ocean touch the sky. After you enjoy the milieu, take time to feast on the smaller individual details that are unique in your surroundings. Flowers and fruits that are abundant in the place, animals that are endemic to that area. Unplug from your screens and enjoy a day of appreciating the captivating images that are unique to your travel destination.

Travel destinations with historical landmarks and cultural sites are also a great way to nurture the mind through imagery. Set time for a museum tour, visit an art gallery or take a stroll around town.  Creativity sparks from the new shapes, colors, and patterns that you see.  You can intensify your learning by asking locals or tour guides or reading up on more information about the meaning of the unique images you have observed in the vacation spot.

Investing in experiences is not only beneficial during the actual event. It gives you a positive boost while planning and anticipating the event. It also provides you with an array of happy memories that you can always go back to. The thought of travel and positive experiences will boost your mood, lessen your mind wandering, and increase gratitude.

So the next time you feel that you are drowning with stress, go plan that next trip. Welcome, all the awesome things you want to do. And when you’re finally on your getaway, savor those experiences to the fullest.

5 Great Ways Vacations Enrich the Whole Family’s Well-being

We all want the best for our family. We try our best to make smart choices that lead to the entire family’s everyday health and happiness. But what exactly does the good life mean? And how can we work our way towards better well-being? These are timeless questions pondered by every human being. There are many popular sayings, philosophies, and classic adages that shed light on pursuing happiness and well-being. Let’s take a look at what science has to say.

One of the most popular, science-driven perspectives on what adds up to a good life comes from positive psychology. Scientists who have studied successful and flourishing individuals highlighted 5 key elements to their happiness and health. Those who are familiar with Dr. Martin Seligman’s work know this as the PERMA theory of well-being. PERMA stands for: 

(1) Positive emotions

(2) Engagement (or having enjoyable activities), 

(3) Relationships

(4) Meaning, and 

(5) Accomplishments

Using these 5 elements as a guide can help us make smart choices for our family’s well-being and health. At the heart of these principles is the idea of investing more in experiences rather than material things to achieve true happiness. There are hundreds of ways to practice and apply these wellness principles to everyday life. That said, there are go-to activities that the family can do to promote positivity and wellness. Among them are having bonding activities like sports, spending time in nature, and going on family vacations.

We are all looking forward to the day when we can pack our bags and have that long overdue family trip to experience nature and the outdoors. Going on family vacations especially in nature-inspired places is a great way to uplift the entire family’s well-being. Studies show that the positive impact of travel and vacation on wellness begins way before the trip happens (even during the exciting moments of preparations) and extends long after the family has returned from their trip. Leaning into what positive psychology has to say, here are 5 ways on how traveling can enrich the well-being of the family, from kids to adults:

Positive emotions: for exciting adventures and moments of serenity

There’s so much more to positive emotions than feeling happy. A whole spectrum of emotions exists, from awe to zeal, and everything in-between. Experiencing more of these positive emotions contributes to helping us become healthier individuals. Positive emotions can be a lot more subtle than negative ones. The good news is that we can choose to focus on and be more intentional with these positivities. We can look at the past with gratitude, savor moments, and cultivate optimism for the future to name a few.

Organizing a vacation is a great way to be intentional about boosting the whole family’s positive emotion bank. Family holidays are a great way to load up on:

  • Enthusiasm and excitement. Planning your travel and looking forward to the next new and amazing activities often makes one feel more enthusiastic and excited. Including the whole family in the plan creates a shared anticipation and joy even weeks or months before the vacation.
  • Curiosity, interest, and a sense of wonder. Exploring the outdoors through activities like snorkeling, island hopping, and kayaking. 
  • Love and Kkindness. More opportunities open up to extend love and care to the family, to acquaintances, and even to strangers.
  • Peace and serenity. Unwinding after a day of exploring can give a feeling of serenity and gladness.
  • Gratitude and love. For starters, having the family safe, healthy, happy and experience a vacation together inspires gratitude. Apart from this, there are possibly a gazillion other unique reasons that may fill your gratitude list as you see your family spending time together in a picturesque place.

Engagement: enjoyable activities for everyone

Time flies when you’re having fun! Experiences that captivate your attention and simultaneously allow you to practice what you’re good at produce flow or that gratifying feeling wherein the activity is its own reward.

Saying yes to wanderlust can help bring outflow. The heart of travel is often trying out new things and enjoying them together. Going on island hopping tours, sightseeing around town, or even just enjoying laidback quality conversations during mealtimes are venues for engagement. 

Relationships: relish your time with the family

The quality of our social relationships contributes to the climate of our overall well-being. Warm, meaningful, and intimate relationships nurture us. Even those fleeting but amiable social connections we have with the boatman and local fish vendor can add up to boosting our overall health. 

Remember those fond memories of your loved ones as they enjoy building sandcastles and riding the waves? Going on a family vacation allows you to create memorable experiences with the people you love. A heartwarming quote by Leigh Hunt spells it out, “traveling in the company of those we love is home in motion.” Kids will remember and cherish the time you spend with them much more than the material purchases you will give them. 

A few more reasons why taking the plunge and booking that tour is a great way to strengthen your family’s relationship:

  • Break the monotony! Experience new and old things together. A cup of coffee with someone you love has a different charm when you  have the ocean for a backdrop.
  • Greet each day with new discoveries et to know your family more. Does your child prefer land, air, or water travel? What new item on the menu did your partner enjoy most? With a stretch of uninterrupted time and in a fresh, new setting, you’ll get to deepen your bond and get to appreciatesee your family in a new light.
  • Experience new adventures through your children’s eyes. Having kids in tow allows you to take a slower pace, enjoying the scenes more, and seeing the adventures through fresh eyes.

Meaning: discovering and remembering what matters

Leading a purposeful life contributes to one’s well-being too. This comes from believing in a cause greater than yourself, committing to a life mission, or finding something that inspires you to keep ongoing. Yes, some life lessons we learn best outside the confines of a classroom.

Embarking on that nature-inspired vacation with your family allows you to take a step back from your usual routine to see things from a different perspective. Can’t see the forest for the trees, as the adage goes. Almost always, being transported to a different place surprises us with new and amazing things – from a hidden, picturesque scene at the end of a trek, to a relaxing dip at a newly found culture hub. The best of things unfold when we are with our family. The beauty of travelling with people you love can help you discover and rediscover what matters to you. Inspiring causes may resonate with you when you hop on that plane (or speed boat) with your family. 

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Some meaningful statements that may resonate with you during a family vacation might include:

  • Quality family time matters.
  • The days are long but the years are short. Children grow up fast. It’s important to create meaningful experiences with them.
  • Travel is education beyond the confines of a classroom!
  • Diversity is beautiful. There’s a whole different way of life from what we are used to.
  • Nature is captivating –and we have a role to play in conserving its wonders.

When you come back home from your getaway, you know that you are enriched by the experiences. Long after the trip is over, even the mundane and ordinary moments you had during the vacation will warm your heart.

Accomplishment: check off some items on your bucket list

Feeling accomplished is borne out of working towards goals you set for yourself – learning a new skill, gaining mastery in a domain you are passionate about, and even simply sticking to a schedule you set such as working out three times a week. These accomplishments, big and small, allow you to look at your life with a sense of pride and contribute to your well-being.

Going on vacation with the family opens the door to a great sense of satisfaction. From organizing the getaway to experiencing new and exciting activities, to documenting the trip – beginning and capping off a vacation is truly rewarding.  Here are some vacation moments that add up to feeling accomplished:

  • Touchdown! That moment when you finally land in a place you’ve always wanted to visit.
  • Try things you have never done before. Yes, from scuba diving to building sandcastles.
  • Mesmerizing sights. Captivating mountain ranges, pristine waters, colorful corals.
  • Souvenir of your family photograph in a famous landmark. That includes the wacky takes!

For some, simply having everyone pooled together outside of everyone’s busy daily lives can be a sense of accomplishment. Ultimately, leading a happy and healthy family life is one of the biggest achievements one can gain and continue to strive for. 

Now that you know the five elements that help build well-being, it’s time to book that trip and make that vacation happen.