Vacationing is one of those few activities that are universally considered universally enjoyable. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every vacation is universally enjoyable, just that we all appreciate a quality getaway. Unfortunately, I often hear stories of ruined vacations these days. As I’ve listened to coworkers, friends, and family members bring up vacation-related disappointments, I’ve pinpointed one common issue in their tales of woe. Almost always, one person’s disatisfaction with a vacation is related to the participants in said vacation. Complaints range from “Oh we couldn’t do the hike because Jerry twisted his ankle” to “Sharon was a complete stick-in-the-mud the whole time we were on vacation.” Vacations are ideally a relaxing blend of contemplation and fun. This article should help you determine which people in your life are best qualified to be a part of your next vacation.
On paper, this is the most obvious piece of advice imaginable. “You know who you should take on your next vacation? Yourself!” But here’s the reality: some of us get so focused on making a trip enjoyable for other people that we forget to prioritize ourselves. So before you go digging for the kids’ suitcases, take some time to plot out how this vacation is going to work for you. Once you know where you’re traveling, take some time to find a few spots you’re sure you want to see. Once you’ve found those spots, don’t compromise. Set out the times and days you’re going to visit your favorite spots, because if you don’t, your whole vacation could get swallowed up by other people’s plans. If you’re already committed to road-tripping with the family, take along some healthy food to keep everyone energized. If you know you’re not the kind of person to prioritize yourself over others, just travel alone! Once you’re by yourself in a new space, the possibilities are endless.
Don’t Take Your Boss
I don’t mean this literally. If you’re best friends with your boss, and you know the two of you would be excellent travel buddies, then by all means take your boss on vacation. The point I’m making here is that you shouldn’t take your work with you. In today’s society, it’s easy to bring work anywhere using our phones, tablets, and laptops. Many of us are so attached to our work devices that it becomes impossible to ignore, say, a work-related email. In fact, a 2018 study found that 56% of Americans do at least some work while on vacation. Frankly, that’s a travesty–and the research shows that it shortens our lives. You deserve and need to fully enjoy your vacation, and that means leaving work, and work-related stress, back at the office. Let everyone know ahead of time that you won’t be available while you’re on vacation. Better yet, leave any work-related devices you own at home or at work.
Don’t Take People Who Act Entitled to Your Vacation Time
Did you plan this vacation? Did you pick the destination? Are you paying for airfare and lodging? If the answer to all of those questions is “yes,” then congrats – you don’t owe anyone anything. Don’t let friends, family, or anyone else guilt you into changing your vacation plans in a way you don’t like. I’m not saying you should never compromise when you want to travel with someone; I’m just saying don’t let someone else call the shots on your vacation. On the flip side of this, if someone invites you along for a vacation they’re paying for, remember all the effort they’ve put into it and be respectful of that. We’re not entitled to our friends’ vacation time anymore than they’re entitled to ours.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
I mean, that’s just good general advice. We should all choose our friends wisely. In this instance, however, I mean it’s a good idea to put some real thought into which of your friends are right to invite on this particular vacation. When three of my best friends wanted to travel to Nashville, they invited me. What we all failed to consider was that I don’t have a musical bone in my body. That’s a problem in a place known as Music City. Once we decided where to stay in Nashville, we started talking about what we wanted to do. I wanted to hit the zoo and get some local cuisine, but my friends were all eager to get to the Grand Ole Opry and the Nashville Music Hall of Fame. I agreed to go with them to all their musical destinations, but the reality was that I had little to contribute. My friends could have taken someone who would actually be a part of meaningful music discussion, and I wouldn’t have felt like an awkward stick-in-the-mud. Consider your friends’ interests and whether those interests will align with what you have planned to ensure a good time for all.
Ultimately, the right person to take on vacation is going to vary on a trip-by-trip basis. But once you’ve considered someone’s athletic prowess, areas of interest, musical acumen, and whether you can handle talking to them for days on end, you should know whether they’re a fit for any given vacation. Finally, I want to reiterate that sometimes that right person won’t exist. Not a problem. Getting out of town and vacationing by yourself can be magical. Whoever you decide to take along (or not), have fun on your next vacation!