Summer is synonymous with vacations, and vacations require logistical preparation. (What will I pack? What should I plan to do?) But it’s also important to ready yourself mentally for a period of wellness and rejuvenation to reap the full benefits of a well-deserved getaway. Making a checklist can help eliminate the stress of both, before and during your travel.

What the Research Tells Us

Giving yourself some time to take a break and recharge can help increase creativity and prevent burnout in your day-to-day life. Researchers have also shown that travel experiences have a positive effect on mental health and wellness, improve your sleep health and overall mood, and lower your risk for depression. Even the anticipation that you experience in the days leading up to a vacation can produce mental benefits and wellness.

Maximize those benefits by creating a to-do list to take the stress out of planning and travel, prioritize your well-being on your vacation, and leave worries behind. Here are some standard travel tasks to consider.

Before You Leave

  • Confirm all accommodations and reservations and pack printed copies if necessary.
  • Create a packing list and get to it! Packing early will give you time to stay organized and ensure you have everything you need. Remember to include your passport or other necessary identification and forms.
  • Research any rules and regulations, both for your method of travel and at your destination.
  • Inform trusted family, friends, and neighbors that you’ll be out of town, and ask them to keep an eye on your home. Have them bring in any mail or packages and water the plants.
  • Notify your bank of your travel destination. If you are travelling internationally, research the currency and develop a plan.
  • Create a safety plan and consider purchasing travel insurance.

While You’re There

  • Develop a budget and stick to it.
  • Research local activities and create a list of experiences that you don’t want to miss, no matter how big or small.
  • Take a moment to unplug. Put away your electronics and take time to be present.
  • Catch up on the little things. Read a book, listen to music, or take walks and enjoy a change in scenery and pace.
  • Consider journaling to remember your experiences.
  • Interact with the locals or other tourists.
  • As great as it may be to stay organized, also allow yourself to be spontaneous. After all, it’s your vacation!

When You Return

  • Remember that list you made before your trip? Reverse your to-do’s and reuse them for your return.
  • Reflect on your experiences and how they made you feel. Consider making scrapbooks, photo albums, or journals to help you remember the amazing time you had.
  • Bring the well-being practices you’ve learned home with you. You deserve breaks and the same relaxation you had on your trip in your daily life.
  • Start planning your next trip!