A while ago, we talked about the benefits of taking a mini break during the rush of a vacation to just relax. Well, we upped the ante on our last vacation and pretty much took a break the entire time we were in Europe. Who knew a planned, relaxing vacation would be so fun? If the thought of not packing in as much as is physically possible seems strange, we challenge you to try it out. You, like us, might just like it.
Planned Relaxing Vacation
Over the Christmas holidays, B and I took off to Germany. We had two main objectives for the trip: visit Christmas Markets and shop at the the Freitag store (so B could buy a purse). We had eight days to accomplish these two tasks. I’m pleased to say we were successful on both fronts. For the rest of the time, we planned to do whatever, if anything, that suited our fancy.
This strategy was a far cry from our normal travel planning where we peer over a map and figure out how long it takes to travel between places to see if we can squeeze in an additional place in on the way. B did do some research into the schedules of markets and stores, but beyond that, we were free to do as little as we wanted.
I should qualify that the reason for our lack of adventure was that I wasn’t feeling 100% healthy heading into the vacation. But even though it was somewhat forced upon me, I ended up having a great time! So, next time you aren’t able to or just don’t feel like going 110% on your next trip, instead take a nice planned relaxing vacation. Here are some ideas for how you can have an terrific time doing so.
Pick a comfortable nest
If you are going to be spending a lot of time hanging around in your pajamas, you need to find a place to do so that is comfortable. Also, if you aren’t going to go out and forage for food, you’ll need to have a kitchen equipped with what you need to cook. Both of these requirements make a home preferable to a hotel, so Airbnb it up. We found that on our Christmas vacations, B and I prefer to have our own rooms. Even if it isn’t Christmas time, if you are taking a planned relaxing vacation, you might want to splurge and get your own bedroom. You’ll be able to take your relaxation to that next level if you don’t have to worry about sleeping in scandalous pajamas or feel pressure to clean up in a shared area.
Germany shuts down for significant amounts of time during Christmas. Instead of eating out, we opted to get groceries and cook for ourselves most nights. This had the added perks of being cheaper and increased the lazy factor by being able to eat leftovers. Multiple meals without cooking? Yes, please!
Bring some entertainment along
If a planned relaxing vacation sounds, well, boring, you should know that B and I didn’t spend our time staring at each other. Nope! We came prepared with some things to entertain ourselves. Both of us had several books loaded on our tablets and we were able to curl up in blankets and read while drinking hot chocolate and tea.
I also packed along my Apple TV which we hooked up to the WiFi and streamed shows. When I’m not cramped for space, I’ll throw that in my bag before I head out of the country. Finding English channels is sometimes a challenge and with Apple TV (or ChromeCast or Roku), you can watch stuff in most countries. Not all shows are always available, but if you’re just looking for something in English, you’ll be able to find it. If you are staying at a place that seems more modern, you might not even need this. Smart TVs are becoming more and more prevalent. In one of our places, I only had to log into Netflix and we were happily watching cheesy Christmas movies.
If you are into crafts, this would also be a fine thing to bring. Our friend, C, rarely goes on a trip without knitting needles and yarn. Since these are so easy to pack or pick up along the way, you can craft til your heart’s content while on your trip.
For a few days on our trip, we didn’t go anywhere in our rental car. We didn’t stay at home all day, but we were able to just walk around the little town and enjoy not having to deal with the stress of transportation. It was really peaceful to just have to pull on the boots and walk rather than research where we can park for a reasonable amount.
…unless you want to
Just like at home, wheels give you freedom to do whatever you want. So not having to plan out busses, trains, etc. is quite relaxing. Some days we just hopped into our car and drove to the town next to ours, just to see a little countryside and cruise down the autobahn.
Go where the wind takes you
One night, we realized we didn’t have any ideas of what we wanted to do the next day. (We had completed our two trip objectives within the first two days of the trip.) We spent the evening Googling things to do/see in that part of Germany and randomly selected a castle to visit the next day. This turned out to be a delightful addition to our trip. Surprise! There even happened to be a Christmas Market within the castle walls. Sometimes the best part of travel is stumbling upon random treasures.
A planned relaxing vacation wasn’t anything that I thought I would want to do. I’ve always been in maximize mode (sometimes making B hop on an additional plane to the middle of nowhere so I could fit in one more destination), so not doing much seemed like a waste. But here’s the thing, many times since we’ve been back I’ve thought fondly about how much I enjoyed relaxing. So if life is stressful and you have a trip on the horizon, maybe don’t pack so many things in on your vacation and just chill.