Throughout the year, there are many ailments that come and go with the seasons. You're familiar with the erratic Spring Fever and the lowly Winter Blues, but you probably aren't properly acquainted with Vacation Procrastination (VP). Although preventable, VP oftentimes goes ignored— in fact, that's the dilemma.
You're minding your own business, going about your normal routine when, before you know it, something clicks. You glance at your calendar, notice it's summer, and recoil with grief and disbelief as you realize you don't have a vacation booked. Almost immediately you'll notice an increase in heart rate, hot flashes and lightheadedness. This sudden onset of anxiety is an early sign that you've come down with a case of VP...Vacation Procrastination.
While you may experience additional symptoms such as panic, depression and self-loathing, take comfort in knowing your condition is treatable—and curable—in most cases.
Depending on how early you are diagnosed, there are a number of time-honored cures for your case. Though treatable, this affliction won't be cured by vaccines, pills or potions. Nursing VP will require resourcefulness, creativity and—take a deep breath, relax—that very calendar that sent you on this downward spiral. But worry not—for we've compiled a few of the most commonly prescribed solutions to help cure what ails you and alleviate your rapidly spreading case of Vacation Procrastination.Backyard Therapy
DIRECTIONS: In order to cure VP, you have to get out of the house. Because VP sometimes restricts your ability to travel large distances, you may need to get away without really getting away. This age-old remedy allows you to enjoy the benefits of vacation without having to travel far from home. Try checking into a local beach resort, taking the family on a camping trip, or visiting a local attraction or theme park. There are tons of new rides and attractions to explore this year. Even if it's just a day away, it'll work wonders on the effects of VP.
SIDE EFFECTS: Energy recharge, lower stress levels.
DIRECTIONS: Take this quick test: When you hear the word 'vacation,' what images come to mind? Don't worry, it's common for patients suffering from VP to automatically imagine beaches, palm trees and umbrella drinks. An alternative approach to alleviating VP includes the reverse vacation. Rather than dreaming up a tropical paradise, envision a winter wonderland. Planning a winter vacation is a progressive way to fit in your family retreat without rearranging your schedule or rushing through the process. Plus, it's a great way to switch things up—popular solutions include family ski trips and holiday vacations.
SIDE EFFECTS: Variety, extended planning time. In rare cases, patients may oddly find themselves praying for snow.
Cruise to a Cure
DIRECTIONS: A fantastic solution for many cases of VP, a cruise vacation allows you to customize everything from destination and travel dates to excursions and entertainment. With ships sailing several times each week, it's easy to find a cruise that fits your schedule and taste. And because lodging and dining are usually included, this option will help you consolidate that last-minute budget.
SIDE EFFECTS: Fun in the sun, tropical breezes, a fresh suntan.
DIRECTIONS: This solution requires you to get your hands dirty. Build up some courage, grab that calendar, and seek out a few free weekends. While it may be a little late in the game to plan an international tour, it isn't too late to create a couple mini vacations. Rather than using all of your vacation days at once, try dividing them up into a few weekends. Depending on your allotment, you can create two or three long weekends to travel with the family. For an extra kick, try planning around holiday weekends like Independence Day and Labor Day.
SIDE EFFECTS: Shorter work weeks, multiple vacations this year.
DIRECTIONS: If you evaded the VP bug this year, or if you're just getting over it, it's not a bad idea to take a few precautionary steps to help you avoid VP next year. Even though any of these remedies can make for a great vacation, just imagine the getaway you could create when you aren't hindered by the effects of VP. Remember, many of these remedies are great enhancers for vacation planning in general. Use your (gulp) calendar, utilize your vacation days, and always keep an eye out for an enticing long weekend.
SIDE EFFECTS: Getting the most out of your vacation next year, avoiding the harsh symptoms of VP.
With each of these remedies, it's important to be creative and commit to making your vacation work. Think of it as completing your recommended dosage. While it may be easy to wing it and book a trip in a hurry, it is much more effective to take the time and plan appropriately. After all, four out of five (travel) experts agree it's that very lack of planning that causes Vacation Procrastination in the first place.
So get to work and don't wait too long to start treating your condition. As is true with many other disorders, the longer you allow VP to linger, the harder it will be to cure it. And if symptoms remain unchanged or worsen after treatment, it may be time to have a travel specialist personally evaluate your case. With any luck, you'll be able to fit in that last-minute vacation this year and hopefully avoid this sneaky seasonal syndrome for years to come.
The Doctor is in...at AAA
If this pesky planning bug has hit you, don't treat it alone. AAA has tons of last-minute vacation prescriptions to cure any malady. Call or visit AAA today for a ton of Vacation Procrastination remedy options.
Doctor's Orders: Call or visit your nearest AAA Office.
Once you've finally got your vacation plans set, it's time to put an end to vacation stress and anxiety. The last thing you want is to return from vacation more stressed than when you left. With these simple preparations, you can save yourself some frustration and make more time for rest and relaxation.
1. Create a Budget…
…And stick to it! Map out your vacation expenses, including daily meals, costs to see the local sights, souvenirs, miscellaneous expenses and any foreknown costs, including luggage and hotel fees, taxes, etc. This will help you resist the urge to charge up your plastic, which could result in an even larger amount of stress once you return from your trip.Stress-Less Recommendation: If you're bringing kids, encourage them to save their allowance for souvenir purchases.
2. Leave the Non-Essentials at Home
It may seem that simply throwing half your closet into a suitcase and calling it a day is the easiest way to pack. However, no one wants to carry around that extra weight or pay unsightly costs for heavy luggage on planes. Pack what you need, enough clothes to last your entire trip, and leave a little room for souvenirs and purchases.Stress-Less Recommendation: When traveling with kids, help them pack a backpack that they're responsible for. Make sure to include plenty of activities to keep them busy, as well as any necessary items they need for traveling.
3. Time Is of the Essence
Determine exactly how much time off you'll need from work to ensure an enjoyable getaway. If you allot too little time, you may need a vacation from your vacation. At the same time, don't allot so much time that you become restless on your travels. Find that happy medium between a great respite from your daily responsibilities, and being away for so long that you become completely out of touch.Stress-Less Recommendation: Need help with all that vacation planning? A travel agent knows how to get you in, get you out, and get you the best deal possible. Perhaps doing it all yourself isn't the most effective way to create a memorable trip. Travel agents can help you expect the unexpected—from unforeseen expenses to weather conditions and local hotspots. Go ahead, ask the experts—that's what they're there for!
A vacation is time to recharge and create new experiences and memories. Just remember, a little pre-planning can go a long way. Safe travels and bon voyage!