In 1967, a pair of American psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe studied the records of more than 5,000 patients. They were looking for signs that stressful events could cause illness. Their scale, widely known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, contained forty-three stressful life-events.
At the top of the list is the death of a spouse, given 100 ‘life change units’, and a score of over 300 puts you at risk of illness; one of less than 150 presents a low risk. Interestingly, ‘vacation’ scores 13 life change units. So how stressed are you?
Which brings us to the first of a number of reasons for planning your exploration. Stress. Obviously, stress is one of the reasons to go on vacation; but that doesn’t mean it is all plain sailing.
Visas, costs, unexpected disruptions, traveling around the world is both a minefield and a marvel. Here’s why planning your vacation will make it all the more enjoyable.
1) Reduce your stress levels
Don’t be like a student desperately browsing essay writing service sites on the eve of a deadline; the build-up to your vacation should be about a relaxed early night before your stupidly early start.
The negative perspective on planning ahead is about reducing your stress levels. As stated earlier, travel is stressful. It isn’t why we travel, for the thrill of cortisol and other stress-y hormones deluging our bodies, but it happens.
The build-up to departure is often most stressful. Organizing flights, hotels, transfers, and day-trips in advance is standard practice. But are you doing it effectively? Too many scribbles on scrap paper could leave you floundering for a crucial piece of information at an inopportune time.
Presently, with smartphones and all, physical note-taking has the advantage of being digitized easily. Take pictures of everything, make a folder on your phone; it’s not the joyful travels pics but a foundation, so you aren’t frowning in so many of your beach photos.
2) Proper planning prevents poor performance
You don’t want to miss a thing on holiday. Especially not the thing you were dying to see or do. Going to see the cherry blossoms in Japan? Plan ahead, and you won’t suffer from sour grapes when the specific and calendared event is happening two weeks after you leave.
Fortunately, for those wondering, the cherry blossoms in Japan and bloom progressively later in the year the further north you travel. Thanks, latitude.
Weather-wise, if you were planning a beach or ski holiday on a budget, you may wonder why places are so damn cheap at certain points in time. Don’t be misled by a bargain. You should check that the climate at that time of year has the requisite scorch or snow factor you’re aiming to enjoy.
3) More planning – don’t forget the paperwork
Do you need a visa? Taking a trip requires a lot of bureaucracy. Your plan should absolutely include a paperwork section. The visits to historical sites and all-night bars won’t happen if you’re stuck at the border. Make sure you check up on the entry requirements before you are too invested in a destination. Unfortunately, governments often don’t get along as well as people, so there could be some obstreperous fee for entering certain places if you’re from somewhere specific.
4) It’s fun!
Bear with us. Anticipation is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Some say it’s even more enjoyable than the reward. Human imagination is wild and available on-tap. As opposed to fulfillment, which means dedicating effort towards a cause, you can close your eyes and enjoy the event before it has happened with good old anticipation.
A period of anticipation is improved even further by indulging in some planning before the event takes place. Similar to the visualization techniques used by professional athletes, imagine stepping onto that golden beach for the first time. Imagine the smell of the air when you step off the plane in a foreign land.
However, open your eyes, and start searching. Plan what you want from your precious vacation time. Make lists, take screenshots of attractions. Book a spa. Go wild. Don’t let the pressures of the RHSS (that stress scale mentioned earlier) get you down.
5) Deferred gratification is the best gratification
You may be aware of the candy study. People in lab coats, a person sat at a table. The scientists present some delicious edible sweeties to these unsuspecting individuals. Participants may eat the treat now or wait with it sitting in front of them for fifteen minutes. If they succeed, they get double the amount once the time has elapsed.
Replace this scenario with cold hard cash should you dislike the rush of sugar. When it comes to planning an exploration abroad, your gratification is the moment you leave the airplane or train and get to immerse yourself in a foreign culture and lifestyle.
So wouldn’t it be fantastic if you had your ducks all in a row? Planning isn’t the act of taking your gratification early; it’s setting you up for a smoother and more enjoyable journey once it begins.
Amanda Dudley is a writer and educator who specializes in American and World History. Upon completing her Ph.D. at Stanford, Amanda remained in academia, holding lectures on her interests in addition to developing methods for educating students with learning difficulties. Amanda also works with EssayUSA by assisting students with their assignments.