July 6: A Simple Vacation

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

I was inspired to write this after reading a few posts over at Apartment Therapy which has  had several posts over the years about making the most of a vacation at home and on making the most of summer

The truth is, as much as I love vacations, vacation planning is not always simple.  Even if you book a cruise or some all-inclusive deal, there may be some research involved or price comparisons.  Even the most “laid-back” trip often involves some excursion planning and transportation-related headaches (from getting to the airport on time to finding the nearest restroom while on the road).   A “stay-cation” is no picnic either, because you often end up doing errands and no one is making the bed for you, i.e. it doesn’t feel like much of a vacation.

This year, we’re not planning any big trips.  Nothing complicates travel like young children and I don’t want to haul strollers and diapers around.  I’m just taking a few days off here and there.  However, over the years, I have learned some tricks for simplifying my vacations:

  1. Pack Smart.  This means pack light and clothes that mix and match well.  No browns and blacks.  If you pack light enough, you can avoid checking in luggage which also simplifies life.
  2. Don’t overplan. As tempting it is to see and do everything, try to stick to a short “must-do/must-see” list.  Otherwise you’ll just tire yourself out and not enjoy the trip as much anyway.
  3. Use kayak.com or www.farecompare.com for airplane ticket comparisons.  I found farecompare.com to be the best website because it grabs deals from several sources.  My best find was $600 r/t (maybe $700 after taxes and fees?) to Italy one summer.  If you have other favorite sites, let me know. [correction: Earlier I had written that kayak.com was the best source but I just remembered that the best deal I got was through farecompare.com]
  4. Live in a tourist destination.  It’s much easier to enjoy a stay-cation if you live in a part of the country that people visit.  After all, people are attracted to your town for a reason so there’s probably a lot to do.  Note: I’m not suggesting that anyone moves but living in Los Angeles with connections in Italy definitely has perks.

How do you keep your vacations simple and fun? 

5 responses to “July 6: A Simple Vacation

  1. I have a tendency to plan the transportation and lodging really well, but leave the rest up to chance. Basically, once I get there, I have no set plans. I decided to take this uber relaxed approach after I spent a week traveling with a friend who planned every last second of the trip. By the end of the week, I was asking her approval to go into different stores! ahahaha Anyhoo, I appreciate the simplicity of “going with the flow,” but that might be because I’m a slacker hippie.

  2. CF–I take that approach too, although I have also not planned lodging many times (pre-smartphone days) and stressed over finding a place to sleep! I love the term “slacker hippie”!

  3. what do you mean “no browns and blacks”? I’m putting a lot of thought into my packing for my summer vacation, and i can’t decide what to wear… but i thought black pants might go with everything?

    I’m a bit of an overplanner at times, but once I’m actually on the trip, I’m relaxed and unstressed.

  4. SP — I meant that it’s best to pick one “base” color for pants/skirts that go with different colors rather than say 1 pair of black pants and a brown skirt, which might call for different color shoes. I’m referring to dark brown, not neutral tones, because I personally don’t think that dark browns go well with blacks. I know I’m sounding like a crazy fashionista, which I am definitely not!

    BTW — I’ve been reading about your upcoming trip. Sounds fantastic!

  5. I always pack too much! I like a lot of choice and always end up humping more stuff than I wear. I get applause on the rare occasions where fit everything into one bag.

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