Preparing to leave your entire life for a week or two isn’t the easiest thing to do.
My prep for vacation is insane, but I can’t be the only person who goes to such great lengths to secure everything before I jet-set off to somewhere.
Unexpected circumstances seem to always arise, making the preparation even more difficult, and, once you arrive at your destination, other stressors can make you feel like you’re not really relaxing as you should be.
So with that said, here’s 12 reasons as to why I think that taking a vacation sometimes really doesn’t feel like a break:
For every trip, I make a personal itinerary to ensure that we make the most of our time wherever we’re going.
The itinerary that I made for Greece was probably the most in depth since it included multiple flights, ferries, trains, cars, and AirBnb reservations.
Planning the itinerary alone stressed me out for months leading up to the trip.
Packing is no small feat, especially for a woman. For weeks before vacation, I begin setting things aside that I think I’ll need. I spend hours putting outfits together for every day we’ll be gone. Beach day? Bathing suit, cover up, and flip flops. Nighttime? A summery romper with ankle-tie heels. But, what if it rains? Can’t forget the secondary outfit in case the itinerary needs to change.
Nonetheless, every vacation I end up with multiple clothing items I never even touched.
Before leaving, I strategically plan out the previous week’s dinners so leftovers won’t be sitting around to spoil. I attempt to use up foods (like dairy products, veggies) that would expire while I’m gone. Unfortunately, this leaves you with a completely empty fridge which will inevitably have to be restocked upon returning home.
Another task that needs addressed before a vacation is arranging for pets to be taken care of. Since I don’t have any family located near me, I have to rely on coworkers and friends to help out when I take a trip.
I create a feeding schedule for the pets, special instructions (I’m a crazy pet-mom), and try to make sure that there’s no chances of escapes while we’re gone.
When we were in Croatia, our rabbit got loose out of his cage & the poor guy who offered to take care of him while we were gone spent hours chasing him around the house, trying to get him back in his area. Epic fail on our end and we felt absolutely terrible.
Refilling & Remembering Medications
Something I always forget about before leaving on a trip is to refill my medications. I have some meds that I have to take daily, and some I take as needed, but nonetheless, remembering to fill them and then actually bring them can easily slip my mind.
Another thing to check is that your medications are legally allowed to be carried wherever you’re going. I know that a lot of countries in Asia will forbid you from bringing Opiates into their country, regardless if you’re prescribed.
Arriving on Time
The main airport that we travel from in Germany is Frankfurt-Hahn, about a two hour drive. We budget immensely, which means we always book the 6-6:30 AM flights since they’re much cheaper. Unfortunately, this means we must be up by 1 AM to make sure everything’s ready to leave the house by 2. This may seem pretty early but when we were catching a 6:15 AM flight to London a year or so ago, we left at 3 AM only to find that the main road on our route was closed. The detour our Google maps directed us to took a hefty chunk of time out and we arrived to the airport literally 15 minutes before our gate closed. Thankfully, we were able to skip the enormous queue at security and made our flight with no time to spare. Trust me when I say we’ll never be late to another flight again.
The Airport Hassles
Airports are enough to make you feel like you’re not really taking a break from life when you go on vacation. Add in the long lines, passport checks, random searches through security, an unnecessary amount of questions by customs, and then a flight time of multiple hours in very uncomfortable quarters. Sometimes airports are enough to make me say, nope, I’m just going to go back home.
Always on the Go
So, finally, you reach your destination. Can you relax now? I surely can’t.
My hubs and I are pretty active so when we travel, we are naturally always on the go, trying to adhere to our schedule that we set for ourselves.
Our Greece trip was no exception, as you can see in the itinerary. We were constantly occupied the entire time, making sure that we were seeing everything worthy on our trip.
The Harassment of Tourists by Locals
In my experience traveling, vendors are constantly harassing you to buy things. They bother you, haggle you for money, and sometimes even steal from you.
Those that have been to Paris could probably tell you that the harassment to buy things is the worst here. Since we live pretty close to the city, we visit it pretty often. Lying on a blanket, staring at the Eiffel Tower and drinking a bottle of wine is such a beautiful moment… until sellers start harassing you to buy their wine, beer, cigarettes and Eiffel Tower souvenirs. I have an entire bottle of $10 wine sitting in front of me, do I look like I need to spend $25 on your throat-burning cheap wine? Eh, no.
We have a friend that was visiting Paris for the first time and was unaware of the gypsies that are here. The gypsies will use their children as pawns and act as if they have disabilities so you have empathy for them, then they will steal your money. Our friend was about to donate to a gypsy (which I highly advise against) when she said she was going to get him change and stole his money right out of his wallet.
In Rome, we witnessed a man being harassed by a local “vendor.” The local asked the man to buy a belt and when the man refused, the local put the belt into the man’s hands then told him that he had to pay for it now since it’s in his hands, no excuses.
Situations like these can not only put you in a vulnerable position as a tourist, but it adds to the nonsense you’re trying to avoid while vacationing.
The Language Barrier
For people who are monolingual like me, the language barrier is a whole ‘nother ball game. Thankfully, this wasn’t an issue in Greece at all after I discovered that English is their second language. Almost every other place I’ve visited though, there’s been a struggle to communicate in some way.
In Rome, we were trying to tell the taxi driver we needed an ATM; he drove around aimlessly for an hour, racking up the meter, not knowing what we were asking for.
In Croatia, we had the most difficult time communicating when it came to parking near the peninsula of Zadar. The parking attendant wanted us to go talk to someone else since he didn’t understand us and the second guy had no clue what we were saying either.
If only I could be trilingual, I’d be able to travel the world with no language barriers.
Sticking to a Budget
Budgeting is a huge factor for us. We only take x amount of money with us on each trip and try our best to make it last. I think there’s only been a couple of times we’ve had to use an ATM while we were traveling. If you need to do this, don’t forget to notify your bank of travel plans before you leave!
A couple of years ago, after we pumped gas at a Switzerland station about 6 hours from home, we were stranded with no money because the banks shut our cards off. Without phone service to contact them, we faced a huge challenge. Luckily, our hotel allowed us to use their phone to get through to our bank and we were able to get our cards turned back on.
Before you leave on any trip, check your bank account to ensure that all of your funds are there. Just hours before we were leaving on our vacation to Greece, we were attempting to withdraw Euro for the trip and realized that someone in Denmark had completely drained our account by making various point of sale purchases. Great timing, right? Our card was shut off and we didn’t get the money back until the following week. Thankfully, we had already withdrew some Euro so we were able to use that until our money was returned to us.
Returning to Reality
After the trip is all said and done, returning home is inevitable. Almost every trip I’ve been on I truly did not want to come home. Was it because I loved the destination so much or because I just didn’t want to face reality of life again? Cue the laundry, grocery shopping, work schedules, and blogging about my ventures, I hardly feel de-stressed when I finally make it back to my sanctuary.
Am I the only person who feels like vacations can sometimes add more stress? Obviously, the memories you make and experiences you have while traveling outshine it all, but sometimes I think I just need a break from breaks too.