You can’t buy happiness, but you can purchase a plane ticket. (Hat tip: Pinterest.)
Travel affords unlimited opportunities for fun, new experiences, discoveries, and adventures, like tasting a new cuisine, hiking an unexplored trail, or simply enjoying a break in routine. A vacation marked by inspiring finds and quality downtime clears the mind and feeds it with creative ideas for a fresh outlook. If you are venturing to the mountains, the ocean, or the city for spring break consider the four Ps of travel to get the most out of the journey and destination: perspective, preparation, packing, and play.
Begin the journey with perspective, end it with a better attitude. Remember, you are not in control. Flights cancel. Bags disappear. Stuff happens and there’s not a darn thing you can do about it. So get yourself and your travel companions in the right frame of mind before the trip. Flexibility, a sense of humor, and goodwill toward fellow travelers will make the journey more tolerable for everyone. All together now: take a big deep breath and… let it go. It’s all going to work out. So get happy, you are going on vacation!
Perspective comes easily with proper travel preparation. Timing is key: think Zen, not frantic. Check in for flights online and allow plenty of time for airport parking and security lines. If traveling with kids, bring water, snacks, and something to entertain them. For the older kids, load books and movies onto devices several days prior to departing. Don’t forget earphones and additional power banks. Charge all devices before leaving home, and take advantage of charging stations as you await boarding. Finally, give yourself plenty of time to pack.
Packing in a panic encourages poor decisions and too much. Edit: plan your ensembles – a top for every day, rotating bottoms, and layering. Seek out wrinkle-resistant, washable options like this colorful kaftan dress. Stash a stylish clutch in the suitcase and carry a sizeable tote on the plane for the laptop, tablet, and camera. When it comes to shoes, comfort reigns supreme in cool sneaks or a hip mini wedge. Regarding toiletries, skip items provided by hotels, like shampoo, conditioner, hairdryer, and robe.
The final P encourages lively play, adventure, and fun. (No pressure, but make memories!) Explore, discover, learn, and celebrate downtime. Finish a book and savor quality, device-free time with kids, spouse, or friends.
And a few more tips for the trip:
- Never, ever store anything in the airplane seat pocket.
- Are you maximizing credit card, airline, and hotel loyalty point programs? You should! “Free” vacations await. At the very least, you can relish some nice upgrades, like hotel credits, free breakfast, or a spa treatment.
- Always offer assistance to the young, the old, and the moms with young kids. Generate good karma by hefting their bag into the overhead bin or volunteering your seat on the shuttle, bus, or subway.
So to all the college kids and families out there, let’s begin our journeys next week with some positive energy. Be grateful for the time off and the opportunity to travel. Practice patience. Embracing the journey with the four Ps will make the destination even sweeter and the rewards more meaningful. Safe and happy travels to you!
Alyce Eyster is a marketing communications consultant and freelance writer/editor. She’s written for the Dallas Morning News and is the former editor/publisher of Culinary Thymes magazine. Follow her foodie and travel adventures on Instagram @alyce_e.
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