Imagine this scenario. You've waited months for your vacation, you've spent thousands of dollars for your special trip and halfway through your trip you realize you've made a big mistake. What started out as an escape from your busy and stressful life has turned into a complete waste of time and money. Maybe your kids ruled the day, you had no time for yourself or the "intimacy" you were craving with your spouse was lost before you even boarded the plane. Romance Rut? 10 Ways To Get Your Marriage Back On Track
The disappointment you're left with is palatable and profound. And worse, you've just used up your precious time off for the year and now you have to save up again before you get another chance to "get it right." It's a terrible mess indeed.
How can you avoid this?
The truth is that all vacation disasters can't be avoided. Sometimes, you do end up getting a cold while traveling or you encounter a few rainy days. But, with some smart planning most travel disappointments can be averted.
Achieving the vacation of your dreams comes down to two very basic things: setting reasonable expectations and planning with the end result in mind.
1. Managing your expectations
When most people think about the vacation of their dreams, they have a sense of what they most want to do and how they most want to feel. With personality types being different, part of setting reasonable expectations is around understanding what your travel partners want to achieve as well. Before you pack your bags, take a few minutes to see how your desires connect.
When you consider your expectations, give some thought to what you want to experience physically, emotionally and mentally on your trip. Another way to look at this is to consider what you want the trip to create for you, your partner, your relationship and any other kids or travel companions who may come along. Are you looking for a simple escape? An epic adventure? To check a new state or National Park off your proverbial list?
To manage your expectations, you need to uncover what they are and you can begin by completing the following exercise...
2. Start planning by creating your vacation Venn Diagram:
Take two sheets of paper (or more if you have more travel companions-- you need one diagram for each person traveling) and each draw your own circle, listing the activities (or non-activities) you'd like to do on your trip. Consider everything you want to do: eating out, hiking, surfing, wine tasting, reading, napping, spa days, walking on the beach, other adventure and leisure activities... complete your list and be as creative as you want.
Also, make a list of things you have to do regardless of where you go. Things like, watching the kids or keeping the kids busy. Any activities that have to be baked into your daily activities should be listed as well.
Then compare notes. On a new sheet, draw two (or more as needed) large, overlapping circles.