How to Make the Most of a Vacation

Dr. Michelle Robin shares four ways to make your travels meaningful and fun.

By Dr. Michelle Robin

Summer is here. That means vacation and travel for many people, myself included. As soon as it warms up, my family and friends often head to the lake for downtime, sunshine, time on and in the water, and a few fun hands of Spades. Whether it is a weekend at the lake or a week in Hawaii, vacation for me needs to include four things to feel meaningful and fun. They may speak to you as well.

Be with family and friends. I travel a lot for work as I speak at conferences and to companies across the country. Sometimes I am able to take a loved one with me or meet up with friends that happen to live in the city I’m visiting, but more often than not I’m traveling alone. That’s fine. I’m an introvert, so I don’t mind the alone time. However, when I’m intentionally traveling for vacation I want to be surrounded by my nearest and dearest. It is easy to take loved ones for granted when they’re in your day-to-day life or feel like they’re just a call away. We often don’t make special time for those we hold closest to our hearts because we think they’ll always be there. The unexpected loss of loved ones in my circle of friends has been a keen reminder that we never know when our time on Earth or another’s will end. Be intentional about spending time with those you love.

Have experiences. No one tells stories about that time they all sat around and binge watched “Gilmore Girls.” Memories are made up of experiences. Author Bonnie Ware revealed in “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” that people wished they hadn’t worked so hard, that they had spent more time with friends and family, and that they had had the courage to do and be what they truly wanted. Some of their regrets were that they didn’t take chances or the time to do and try things that interested them. They didn’t want to look silly, or were afraid, or always thought they’d have time later. Look silly. Be afraid and do it anyway. Do it now. When you are on vacation, whether it’s someplace exotic or a staycation right here in KC, make the most of your time and create experiences. Harvest stories you’ll cherish for years. Make memories.

Spend time in nature. I need time in nature to rejuvenate my spirit. I love the sunshine and the natural Vitamin D that I get and deep breaths of fresh air. Most of my vacations involve water, be that at the lake or on the beach, even in the pool. My friends and family also like to go on long hikes, especially if we’re in Hawaii (a fave). Most of us don’t spend a lot of time in nature as part of our day-to-day life. Make the most of a vacation by reconnecting with Mother Earth in some way…even if you’re in a major city, find a park and get outside.

Take time to reflect. As I said earlier, I most often travel by myself for work, not vacation. I use that time alone to do a lot of reflection. I do the same when I’m on vacation with family though. I take advantage of the downtime away from the hustle of my daily life to find time to be still, meditate, just ponder. Breaking away from routine and stress can create clarity. On vacation, take time to not only rest and rejuvenate, but reflect, and return renewed.

These are the four elements I need present to truly enjoy time away. I encourage you to consider how they might make your vacation or downtime more enjoyable.

P.S. As you’re planning your travel, check out my 10 healthy travel tips.

Dr. Michelle Robin is an author, international speaker, and Founder and CWO of Your Wellness Connection, P.A. She is the author of “The E Factor: Engage, Energize, Enrich – Three Steps to Vibrant Health, Wellness on a Shoestring: Seven Habits for a Healthy Life,” and co-author of the No. 1 bestseller “Succeeding In Spite of Everything.” Dr. Robin can be reached at [email protected], and as Dr. Michelle Robin on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.