“He who fails to plan, plans to fail” – Proverb
So you’ve decided to take a vacation – great! Now we need to ensure you get the most out of the vacation; which is to say – we need to make sure you achieve your intended goal(s). “Why on earth do I need a ‘goal’ for my vacation – I just want to relax” you say? Well – “Relaxing” is your goal – which isn’t as easy as it sounds without a little planning.
Setting a Goal
From my perspective, there are a few general reasons why we go on vacation;
- To relieve stress or to ‘get away’ from a stressful situation – like your job.
- Important functions, e.g., wedding, reunions, annual family/friend outings, etc.
- Adventure/exploratory activities
- Romantic getaway
- All or some combination of the above
These reasons are essentially the inputs to achieving our ‘goals’ on the trip. If our reason for taking the vacation is to have a romantic experience with our significant other, our goal most likely wouldn’t include activities that don’t enhance the reason for taking the trip. The best way to achieve that goal is to put together some sort of loose itinerary for your trip. Here’s a simple example of the reasoning for formulating an itinerary.
- Vacation – I need to get away because my job is stressing me out so much I’ma smack someone.
- Goal – Spend some time away from anything that causes me stress so that I come back to work refreshed.
- Itinerary – Sit on beach all day, leave watch, cell phone and laptop at home, daily massages, and drink until I get wheely, wheely sleepy!
While this is a simple example, it illustrates the need to have your actions match your expectations (goals). Using the example above, if the goal is to reduce stress – it’s highly unlikely you will meet that goal if you plan an activity that increases it – like joining conference calls in the hotel room.
Planning some sort of itinerary ensures you make the most out of your vacation On many occasions, I’ve asked folks what they did on their weeklong vacation and they say “not much” or in some cases – struggle to remember. I’ve also listened to people say they couldn’t wait to get back from their vacation because they were bored. To me, these situations sound like the person didn’t get the most out of their vacation. Just ‘being’ at a tropical location or a historic site doesn’t guarantee a good vacation – you generally have to ‘do’ something. Even if your goal is to ‘do nothing’ – there’s still some level of work involved. You have to plan not to bring your work to the vacation, you have to schedule spa time, etc., etc, etc. Finally, having some sort itinerary ensures you actually get to most – if not all – of the things you’d like to see or do completed. …Continued