We all have busy lives. And we all need more holidays, always. But have you ever thought about what you actually DO (or rather: DON’T DO) on your travels makes a huge difference to how well-rested and energized you come back afterwards?
The other day, I was at a small PR-event in Tate Modern on invitation of Florida’s Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Here I learned that they recently did a survey under 2000 British holidaymakers and that in the results one thing became clear: most of us simply don’t know how to really take advantage of the downtime we get when we’re not at home or at work.
ARE YOU TOO BUSY TO ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY?
Biggest Travel Regrets
It turns out that busy people who pack too many things in their day-to-day lives also do this on their precious holiday time.
28% of people in the survey said they have regretted cramming too much activities into their holiday and not making the time to actually slow down.
Recognize this? I totally do!
I’ve spend so many hours planning some of my trips ahead, creating road trip itineraries and Google maps with interesting sights and restaurants, that most of my trips almost seem like a military operation.
I kid you not.
And that often lead to disappointment on the road, because…
You really can’t properly experience 9 cities in less than four weeks in India
(yet, that’s what we did, including severe food poisoning)
Those Faces. Our travel schedule BROKE us.
…or see 40 hotspots in just 8 hours in Brussels (I ended up seeing about 9 of them, then met up with a friend I hadn’t seen for about 4 years and she showed me a couple really cool places that weren’t even on my list, which was much more rewarding)
I’ts all about the people, y’all!
And the worst thing is? We make the same mistake over and over again.
19% of travellers said they regretted arranging too much on a holiday and 6% said they made the same mistake every time they went away
Nick at yet another one of our famously over-planned road trips in Australia
Travel Planning v.s. Mental Health… You Pick!
Being too busy on your holiday not only makes you feel rushed, it can have an impact on your relationship with travel partners as well. 13% of people in the survey said they had argued on holiday about planning too much during their break and 1 in 10 said they argued about having too many activities in each day.
I remember Christmas 2011, when Nick and I lived in Australia and both our parents, my brother, a friend and Nick’s sister and boyfriend came to visit.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, we decided it was a good idea to spend three days driving the Great Ocean Road (8 hour round drive, not counting any stops) from and back to Melbourne before flying back to Sydney. Oh, and we also wanted to see a bit of Melbourne itself and the Penguin Parade on Philip Island (a good 4 hour return drive from Melbourne).
Because it all seemed like a good idea at the time.
Long story short:
- Our rental car wasn’t at the airport in Melbourne because of a faulty booking, which took us about 3 hours and a lot of anger and frustration to sort out.
- We didn’t know you needed to book well in advance for the Penguin Parade and so we didn’t get to see the penguins and drove 4 hours for nothing.
- Because we started the day much, much later than expected, we ended up having to drive in the dark, which was NOT fun.
- Everything that went wrong just killed the mood a bit and there were definitely tensions, plus the fact that I felt super guilty for bringing everyone out to this ‘awesome place that they HAD to see’… while everything in Australia was new and amazing to them, so it didn’t really matter where we ended up going, or not going.
- We should have just stayed in Sydney and CHILL THE F. OUT
Oh yeah. I forgot! Our car also broke down and we had a bunch of surfer dudes help us out. Turned out there was a huge storm in the last days and apparently tons of wood chips ended up being blown into our car engine. You couldn’t even make this shit up if you wanted to.
PS. Check my mum in the background taking a good distance of the situation – and considering her 73rd cigarette of the morning.
Join The Slow Travel Movement
Do you often feel rushed and stressed-out on your holiday because you want to ‘see it all’?
Do you wish you relaxed more and switched completely off from work and being on your phone too much?
Then perhaps it’s time to join the Slow Travel Movement.
Slow travel isn’t so much about doing less, but more about having the head space to draw breath every now and then and take stock of what’s valuable in your life
Here are 5 easy tips on how to do that:
- Stick to one main destination as a base (take day trips if you want to do more)
- Choose a destination where there are restaurants and bars to walk to (avoid stressful traffic situations)
- Go off the beaten track (no cell phone reception preferred)
- Go into nature (feel the water, breathe in the air, hear the birds, taste the salt, see the beauty)
- Leave your phone and tablet at home (ooh scary! you can start by leaving it in the hotel for the day and see how you go)
I’d love to hear your stories about over-planned holidays or those moments that you just couldn’t switch off. It would make me feel better about myself, for sure, haha! But I also hope you found this article on slow travel interesting and that the next time you plan a trip, you think about leaving some air in your schedule to simply enjoy the destination you’re in and taking in the moment.
I’m sure it will do you lots of good!
We believe it’s time to champion a slow holiday movement to help people really take full advantage of their holiday time, to give them the space to get closer to loved ones and to get deeper into the places that they are visiting – Deputy Director of the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, Pamela Johnson
“Genieten”, the Dutch word for “To Enjoy”
Disclaimer: I was not sponsored or asked to write about this survey, just found it really interesting! Hoping to share more of these interesting travel researches and facts in the future to help you with your self-development, let me know if you would be interested in that.
This post is also available in: Dutch