Weekend Getaways

Destination Relaxation: How to Plan and Pack for a Truly Relaxing Holiday

Destination Relaxation: How to Plan and Pack for a Truly Relaxing Holiday

It’s vacation time!  Pack your bags, do your cartwheels and get ready to relax!  At least, relaxation is the plan.  As a former innkeeper at an out-of-the-way lakeside retreat, I talked to a number of guests that not only wanted but needed relaxation far more than an action-packed vacation agenda.  Those that actually achieved relaxation did several key things.  Read on for tips on how to set yourself up for a restful holiday.

Have a Zen Mindset

If you really need to slow down your pace for your vacation, make that your mindset.  It can be very easy to get roped into feeling you “should” DO something on your vacation.  You don’t want to feel that you are wasting your precious vacation time doing nothing. However, sometimes a whole lot of nothing is precisely what a weary body and soul needs.  When you start to plan your vacation, think carefully about what you actually need rather than trying to keep up with the glitzy vacations your co-workers and neighbors may have paraded around.  If you need lots of naps and peace and quiet, give yourself permission to do that.  You’ll likely return from vacation refreshed from the opportunity to unwind rather than tired from running yourself ragged doing everything on a busy sight-seeing agenda.

Book Your Vacation in a Restful Destination

Once you allow yourself to actually relax and rest on your vacation, the next thing to do is to book your trip to a destination that will support relaxation.  Everyone has a different definition of relaxation.  For families, it might mean booking a trip at an all-inclusive resort or on a Disney cruise so that there are activities and daycare for the kids, giving Mom and Dad a chance to relax.  For singles, couples or busy career folks that need to “unplug” for a bit, it could mean booking a trip to a lakeside bed and breakfast like the one I managed; no clocks, no TV, hiking trails, steps from the lake for swimming, boating and fishing, nutritious meals and on-site massages. The point is, make reservations at a holiday destination that is going to provide a supportive environment for your needs.  If you want to sleep and don’t want electronic gadget distractions or the obligation to go “do” activities, booking a vacation in Time Square in New York City and staying in a hotel with in-room Wi-Fi probably isn’t the best fit.

Pack for Relaxation Success

The day has finally arrived, you are on holiday!  Now it is up to you to pack accordingly to support your goals to unwind. We’d suggest leaving the following items behind so you aren’t tempted to break your Zen rhythm (and yes, we have seen some guests pack these items in their suitcases because they thought they couldn’t last 4 days without them).

Electronic Gadgets

This includes cell/smartphones, laptops, I-pads, and pagers.  Consider leaving Kindles and Nooks behind too, if the temptation to go online and check your work email will be too great for you.  Provide hotel contact information on a need to know basis, put your auto-responder on your e-mail and a vacation message on your voicemail.  Others will survive if you can’t be reached for a few days, and so will you.

Alarm Clock

If you don’t have an agenda, enjoy sleeping in.  Leave the alarm at home.


There is no need to bring coffee, caffeinated soft drinks or energy drinks in your suitcase on a relaxing vacation.  If you are tired, take a nap.  If you really need a boost, unless you are out in the middle of no-where, you can find a cup of coffee. These substances can make you continue to feel wound up and over-tired when their effects wear off.

Junk Food

Leave these at home for the same reasons as leaving behind caffeine.  If you really want a treat, buy one as a treat, don’t pack them in your suitcase and be dependent on them.  The idea is to rest and rejuvenate, not stay hyped up on caffeine and sugar.

Inappropriate clothing for relaxation

Don’t bring your dress up clothes if you want/need to relax.  Bring clothing and accessories that support whatever activities will help you unwind and don’t bring the excess that will make you feel you have to do activities that are counter-productive to unwinding

For Women

Gasp! Consider leaving behind the blow dryer, curling iron, make-up, etc.  You may find going au naturel for a few days a nice break in your routine. With the right state of mind, a relaxing vacation spot and key items omitted from your suitcase, you are all set to enjoy a remarkably refreshing vacation and return home revitalized.

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