It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like… I Need a Vacation

Is it just me or did the holidays show up unexpectedly fast this year? Thanksgiving arrived just as my summer tan was beginning to fade, and right before I could digest the Turducken, I felt the cold sweat of holiday shopping fever upon my brow. From Black Friday through Cyber Monday I was inundated with e-mails, tweets and posts offering sales, specials and exclusives that guilted me into getting all my holiday shopping done before the advent calendar came out. Looking at the damage done to my bank account and realizing the delayed gratification in receiving my orders (partial shipments, delays etc.), I feel a tinge of buyer’s remorse—why did I waste my time on getting “great deals” on trivial treasures when I could have just planned a really great trip?

By trip I don’t mean a solo vacation for me, but rather why don’t I get creative and plan a fun adventure with my family? Or buy an interesting weekend package for friends? The gift of a great experience has far more value than a cashmere sweater or overpriced headphones. Oftentimes when we think of “travel” we think “ok, this is going to cost me thousands of dollars and all my PTO days.” On one hand, that kind of thinking leads to glorified blowout vacations that result in epic photos, unforgettable discoveries, sometimes hangovers, and the dreaded Sunday Syndrome when you are overcome with the sorrow of having to return to work the next day. On the other hand, if we thought of “travel” as any experience outside of our every day, we could welcome it anytime and anywhere and perhaps put less pressure on ourselves to have that quick and limited escape from “working for the man”.

Take a minute and think about something you’ve always wanted to do with your friends and/or family—like learn how to sail (going to the moon is a bit unrealistic and expensive). Or maybe you would love to take your family camping at Yosemite. Disregard the cost for a second and make a list of places you’ve always wanted to see. Include everything from the outlandish and obscure to local and reasonable. Take your top 4 options and send them to your travel agent. They can do the research for you and ensure you get the best deal out there. Whether or not you decide to purchase the trip now, you can still print out an itinerary and slip it in a holiday card letting your friends and family know what is to come. If you want to go the extra mile, get them something that hints at the trip like Sundance Film Festival t-shirts for a ski and film festival package in Park City. Surely a trip filled with memories will be much more appreciated than expensive devices that will be outdated this time next year.

From a local adventure like a French cooking class to something global like zip lining in Costa Rica, the world is your proverbial oyster if you allow it to be, so think outside the gift-wrapped box this holiday season and give the gift of travel.

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