If you’re about to head off on a fun, relaxing vacation but are feeling strangely stressed about it rather than excited, don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to Liz Sharples, lecturer in travel and tourism at the University of Portsmouth, UK, although we look forward to it our vacations all year long, research suggests that rather than being excited we are often worried, stressed and even disappointed as our holiday approaches.
Early research has shown that after booking their vacation some people can experience feelings of regret, despite often spending hours of their time trying to find the best option, with Liz adding that her research so far suggests that some people may even feel unwell in the last few days before their vacation.
Women are particularly susceptible to these feelings, with 44 per cent of women reporting an increase of stress during the buildup to holidays versus 31 per cent of men.
“Without gender-stereotyping, research shows that it is often women who are the ones organising the pre-holiday tasks such as buying new or essential items, arranging care for pets, tidying up the house and packing — for everybody!” explains Liz, “Working women have the pressure of their job as well and the two combined can cause a decline in pre-vacation health and well-being.”
However, she adds that, “It’s not just women and it can depend on the type of person you are; some people are extremely organised but worry about everything they have to do and some are simply last-minute doers but panic because they’ve left everything too late. It means that people leave for their holiday feeling exhausted instead of buoyant and excited.”
No matter which type of vacation planner you are, here are Liz’s top tips for avoiding pre-holiday stress:
- Do make a ‘to do’ list — it sounds obvious but it can help you to remember the important items.
- Do ask for help. It shouldn’t all fall to one person so get your partner/friends/the whole family involved.
- If you work then try to organise your workload a couple of weeks in before your vacation so you are not working stressful, longer hours in the days before you leave.
- Do check climate, visas and health requirements. If you take any medication, do you have enough? Make sure you get to your doctor or pharmacist to stock up on anything you need.
- Check or arrange travel insurance.
- Don’t leave the planning to the last minute — pack early to take the pressure off.
- Check your tickets and documents — if there are errors it can affect if you are allowed to travel so best to sort out any problems earlier rather than later.
- If you are flying check the airline rules on hand baggage.
- And finally, don’ forget to have to have a great time — you are going on holiday so try to build up the excitement and anticipation, not the stress!