I Know I Need A Small Vacation, But It Don't Look Like Rain
March 21, 2010 12:32 PM   Subscribe

How do you get the maximum renewal effect from a short vacation?

Often after a vacation, the effect vanishes after the first day of work or back home. I am leaving soon on a 5 day vacation to a major tourist mecca. I would like my focus to be on vacationing rather than doing. What are strategies that work for you to get the most out of a small time away?
posted by Xurando to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
By getting as much stuff off your desk as you can before you leave, so you come back to as close to a clean slate (and a physically clean office, if you have one) as possible.
posted by mhoye at 12:35 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

That sounds trite, really, but by (1) not having that stuff on your mind while you're vacationing, and (2) not having it on your plate when you get back, vacations are much, much more relaxing.
posted by mhoye at 12:36 PM on March 21, 2010

Do something exhilarating. Some adrenaline-pumping activity. Skydive, bungee, kite-surf, powerboating, skiing, whatever. Something that leaves your nerves jangling and popping. Then relax for a few days. Nap. Bask. Eat good food and drink good drinks. Then do that nerve-jangling activity again right before you leave. Then when you're back at the grind, take a moment to close your eyes and recall how it felt when you were in the midst of that storm of adrenaline. You'll feel rejuvenated and ready to go.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:40 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't forget to clean house at home before leaving (not just work), and to deal with little tasks (paying bills).
posted by whatzit at 12:50 PM on March 21, 2010

Clean the house before you leave, put the laundry and dishes away, tie up loose ends at work. I also discovered that the more "on the go" I am during a short vacation, the less relaxed I am when I get home. For short stays, I try to do one or two things for a couple of hours each day (museums, shopping, whatever), no more than four hours total, and then I spend the rest of the day reading and/or relaxing at a cafe or the hotel. Spa treatments are great for the relaxing part.
posted by cooker girl at 12:55 PM on March 21, 2010

Don't do anything!! To hell with this 'exhilarating' stuff. Just go; just be there. Too bad you're already committed to a tourist mecca, the best place to go is nowhere. (not the same as staying at home.), but you still don't have to have a list of Haf-2-do's hanging over your head the whole time. It's a vacation, not a challenge.

Yes, there is a point to travel, to seeing the world - an important point, and worthwhile, but that isn't the same as a relaxing vacation. It is apart of your education and a part of taking an interest in the world. But mixing that up with relaxing, just means that neither will be done well.) The same (for many) is skydiving, or walking a tightrope across the grand canyon, but that isn't a restorative. Just go, with out any plans, and see what happens in the mornings. Enjoy!
posted by Some1 at 12:55 PM on March 21, 2010

Don't check email or voice mail during your vacation, preferably, don't even bring a cell phone or laptop. Avoid the temptation of keeping up with your social networking too; live in each moment of your time off rather than tweeting/updating about it. It's amazing how time stretches when you aren't leashed to any of the above.
posted by jamaro at 12:56 PM on March 21, 2010

Turn off your phone. Do not bring your phone with you.

Tell people that if they need to get hold of you in an emergency they may contact person X who has your hotel information - BUT if they do contact person X, it will cost a bottle of 21 year old Highland Park whisky.
posted by devnull at 1:14 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

In addition to what others have said about leaving the house clean/work done and unplugging from your electronic life (highly recommended), I've felt most relaxed when I've spent a good part of my time away just wandering around and seeing what I might see. That may be a little more difficult in a tourist mecca since you'll feel some pressure to go see the tourist things, but walking around (moseying, really), especially in residential or mixed use neighborhoods, can be very relaxing. You may find a great coffee shop or pub or quiet park or library or whatever and can just plant yourself there until you feel like moving on. You might find some interesting older person to tell you stories about where you are or where they've been. Or you might just observe the people and places you see without interacting much with others.

If you mosey far enough afield, you'll come back to your hotel tired enough to sleep well (don't check email/etc.--just come back, feel tired, and go to bed).

I do take a map and a phone number for a cab company (and the address of my hotel) when I do this just in case I get tired or don't want to wander back.

Happy wandering!
posted by BlooPen at 1:34 PM on March 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Depends on the person. My instinct is to shut down and ignore the world. But, unfortunately, when I am done with the vacation, reality closes back in on me and undoes whatever good the vacation did me. My best vacations are "working" vacations- working on projects in my home or whatever that will make my return to work that much easier (knowing that my home-work is taken care of for a while.) But that's just me.
posted by gjc at 4:18 PM on March 21, 2010

The vacation where I most "detached" from work was when I stayed at a horseback riding ranch for a week. I think what did it was (1) unfamiliar physical activity (riding horses all day); (2) exhilaration (oh my god I am going to fall off the galloping horse!); and (3) in bed by like 9pm every night because there was nothing to do at night. It was like being on another planet.

So, I highly recommend throwing yourself into some new physical activity and going nuts with it.
posted by Mid at 4:38 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're usually chronically sleep-deprived, don't overschedule your vacation with activities and use the extra time to sleep more.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:09 PM on March 21, 2010

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