July 13, 2021 - 8:00am -- lehman.488@osu.edu

July is a month where many are looking forward to time away from work, a vacation that can be arranged with family and/or friends.  I found some information that got me to thinking about how I approach vacation time and I hope you will find it helpful as well.

On average, most Americans only use half of their vacation days citing work as the reason they can’t get away and 75% of the population don’t use all of their vacation days.  I hope by the time you finish with this article you might change your mind and/or approach about taking time away from work.

There is stress involved in getting ready for vacations, but usually it’s a good stress.  Once the dates are planned and the commitment is made, then we begin to look forward to the dates on the calendar.  And once we return, sharing the details with others enhances the experience for a couple of weeks.

While tying up ends at work, making sure communications are clear and details for projects in place.  At home, there’s always the list of what’s needed for the trip, what needs to be done and by whom while you travel, and the look ahead to make sure bills are paid and no deadlines or events are missed. 

Here are some tips from the experts on making your vacation the best it can be:

Research where you’d like to go and what you’d like to see.  If this is with family, having family meetings to hear from everyone is a great way to build anticipation and making sure it’s fun for everyone.  The planning is part of the joy in the journey - watch movies of sites you’d like to see or reach out to others that may have been there to hear their perspective.  In the meantime, think about a list of music to get you excited about the destination or a book that might relate in some way to read on the way. 

In planning, one tip is not to pack every day with events - remember this is a time to relax and enjoy without a strict schedule.  Research indicates that several short vacations may be better than one long one, which may help if you enjoy visiting the same vicinity, like an area of the country or simplicity like camping and hiking. 

It’s encouraged to choose who goes with us carefully.  When including friends with different goals, there may be challenges that increase our stress.  Communication in the planning and careful discussions about expectations can be essential for a fun time.

When traveling together, studies show that many wonderful memories are made.  62% of adults share that some of their earliest memories are of family vacations, and 60% of children enjoy time with grandparents during family vacations.   Not only is this a time of increased communications, but sharing time together strengthens family bonds and establishes traditions that families can look back on with fond memories. 

Most employers encourage workers to put down electronics and really step away from work to renew and re-energize.  Leave your computer at home, send "out of office" messages, and communicate with co-workers about how to handle responsibilities while you are away.

During the planning stages, make sure that finances are discussed.  Most of the time, an experience means more to us than tangible items.  The sights, sounds and new environments are what we remember more than a new shirt or another pair of shoes.  Pre-paying for some of the trip can assist in spreading out the cost and enjoying it while you are there.  If a large trip isn’t available, look around locally and enjoy the many beautiful places there are here within driving distance for day trips. This may be preferable especially if there are young children who do better with sleeping in their own beds.

Travel is a wonderful way to explore the world we live in.  We can visit historical sites, places that renew our souls or make plans for things we’d like to do more of in the future.  Whatever your goal, make sure that you take time with your family to plan some time away before the summer slips away. 

 

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.

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