5 Tips to Plan a (Truly) Relaxing Vacation


It’s not easy to get away these days. Away from stress, that is.

Life has a way of becoming more and more complex the older you get, adding layer upon layer of responsibility that can make a blissfully carefree vacation seem rather unlikely, if not impossible.

Aging parents who rely on you for support can make it especially hard to escape stress and worry. For your own health and sanity, strive to find some respite and consider these planning tips to ensure you’ll be able to enjoy a truly relaxing vacation.

1.     Ask yourself: “What do I really need in order to relax?”

This is a tough question when you’re used to considering just a brief trip to the store by yourself or a 10-minute shower your daily “relax” time. Think about it: What’s weighing on you? Taking up your time? Keeping you from doing what you really want to do? Give yourself permission to take a break from those things. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

2.     Don’t make your vacation a repeat of your everyday life.

If your everyday life is a rat race, don’t schedule activities for every minute of your vacation so that you come home desperate for another vacation. Make sure your vacation includes unscheduled time that you can spend however you wish.

3.     Leave your guilt at home.

Guilt is that nasty voice that makes you feel bad for leaving extra work for everyone else, or deciding to hire someone to care for your aging loved one while you’re gone. Don’t let guilt keep you from getting the reprieve you need.

Letting your loved one receive some additional help and attention from a professional Home Instead CAREGiverSM while you’re away could be a great change of pace for both of you.

Respite care services provided by in-home senior care agencies like the Home Instead Senior Care® network can make it possible for you to rest and recharge. If you’re worried about leaving your loved one because of a condition like dementia, arthritis or diabetes, Home Instead Senior Care provides specialized services for that too.

4.     Don’t cut corners prepping for your vacation.

Put in the time before you leave to properly prepare for your vacation. Think through all the items you need to pack, put together a rough itinerary, consider potential problems and keep a back-up plan in mind if necessary. There’s nothing less relaxing than realizing you forgot something important or neglected to make an important reservation.

This is an especially important step if an aging parent you normally care for stays behind. Be sure to keep health information handy in case of an emergency and make sure those looking out for your loved one while you’re gone understand routines, medications, etc.

If your vacation plans do involve bringing your parents along, consider these tips for planning a successful inter-generational vacation.

5.     Try planning several mini-vacations instead of one long one.

Sometimes the preparation needed to go away for a long time and the catch-up work awaiting you after is more trouble than it’s worth. Planning several short weekend trips rather than a week-long vacation might help reduce the before and after stress. It may also reduce your tendencey to turn your one vacation opportunity into a golden week that fulfills every wish and longing previously suppressed by work and family obligations.

Finally, keep in mind that, while vacations are wonderful opportunities to relax, it’s important to find ways to minimize stress even when you’re not on vacation. You’ll find helpful advice in this “how to de-stress” webinar for family caregivers.