Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Now picture yourself jumping into your car and racing off to explore a new destination, far away from the demands of work and home.
Not only are vacations fun, but they reduce stress, and also mental and physical problems such as anxiety and heart disease, says the American Psychological Association.
So, take that vacation you’ve been thinking about and stop making excuses. To make it easy here are some spontaneous vacation planning tips.
1. To begin your spontaneous vacation, you’ve got to pick a destination. While you do need to take into account the amount of time and money you have, deciding on a destination doesn’t need to take several hours or a process involving five different guidebooks. Instead, look at maps and see what catches your eye. Or make a list of the places you’ve been wanting to go and pick one. Or close your eyes and throw a dart at the map. Or call up a few friends and ask them about their favorite places. You get the idea.
2. Now that you’ve gotten to your destination, start by exploring the area without a a guidebook. Stop whenever you see something interesting. You won’t hit every attraction with this method, but you’re sure to see a different, and often more authentic side of the city than what’s included in the guide books. But, be sure to trust your instincts, if an area or a situation makes you uncomfortable, leave.
3. Try new things. Venture beyond the same chain restaurants and activities that your hometown offers. While Starbucks may be familiar and comfortable, you’ll likely get a better feel for the area at an independent coffee shop. And checking out local places is a way to learn about the things — such as foods and art — that make your vacation spot unique.
4. Start conversations. If you’re wondering about the really funky looking tower in the middle of the city, don’t be afraid to ask someone. Not having a plan doesn’t mean cutting yourself off from all advice, opinions and information about your destination.
5. Ultimately relax, try to let go of expectations and enjoy yourself. If you end up walking in circles for an hour, laugh it off, don’t be afraid to ask for help and remember that it will make a funny story in a few days.