Travel and Leisure — August 10, 2015 at 5:00 am

How to Stay Happy on Vacation

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©istockphoto/Martin Dimitrov

©istockphoto/Martin Dimitrov

You are on vacation, what could be better than that? So why aren’t you happy? Here are a few tips on how to turn that frown upside down.

Research Your Trip
Don’t go to a Cancun spring break resort in March if you want peace and quiet. Don’t go to an Adults only resort out in the boondocks if you want to party. With very little effort you can research where you’re going and pick the right spot. Reviews on Tripadvisor.com will tell you just what kind of place you’re considering. If you’re a partier, look for a resort with a late night nightclub or a town filled with them. If you want to relax, look for a smaller, adults only spot, or rent a private residence on the beach. If you’re hopping a cruise, make sure it either caters to your kids, or doesn’t include them: whichever is your preference.

Slow Down
No matter where you vacation, there is a different flow of time than what you are used to. There is Island time, Beach time, Southern time and on and on. Yes it may take a little longer to get your breakfast served in that quaint little dinner in Florida than it does in your hometown, but chill—it will come. Not everyone is rushing off to work today, so what’s the rush? It doesn’t matter where you vacation; you’re going to have to slow down. Wasn’t that the idea for this trip anyway?

Don’t Take it to the Limit
Hangovers are bad enough at home, but you have a limited time on vacation, so why spend half of it hungover? Sure you’re here to party, but set some limits and don’t get carried away. Besides the safety factor of losing your common sense in a strange land, there are plenty of ways to party without drinking too much. Also be aware that different altitudes and climates will make your reactions to alcohol change. If you’re from sea-level and vacation in the mountains, you may experience altitude sickness from drinking too much alcohol. The same goes for heat and humidity if you’re not used to them. Drink lots more water and way less alcohol and you will definitely be happier.

Stay the Course
You have a budget; stick to it. One sure way to be unhappy on vacation is when you feel you are spending way too much. Don’t get talked into purchases you can’t afford. The jewelry hawkers in the Caribbean can be relentless, so don’t let them persuade you off your budget. Sometimes the shopping bug hits hard on vacation, but did you really come here to shop? Besides, half that stuff can be had back home for less. If you can’t afford all those sailing and land excursions, spend another day on the beach and save yourself some money and grief.

Leave Your Troubles Behind
Why would you bring your trouble with you on vacation? If you can’t stand your daughter’s boyfriend, don’t bring him along. If you have to go to a reunion and that sister-in-law bugs you, avoid her all costs. You are on vacation so why would you want to spend it with people who set you off? Sure if it’s a wedding or family reunion you may not have final say on the guest list, but you can decide who you hang out with.

Leave it All
Do you really need to log in to work while on vacation? Leave the laptop, turn off the phone, and don’t leave a forwarding number. I hate to break it to you, but unless you are the leader of the free world, they can probably get by without you. Maybe you don’t understand what a real vacation is, but it’s supposed to be a break from your everyday life. Not only will your job be there when you get back, all those emails will still be in your inbox, those postings on Facebook can wait until you get back, and your Twitter account will be raring to hear all about the relaxing, happy trip you just had.

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