It’s holiday time! For shorter holidays, it’s a time to take a well deserved break from the daily grind and go have some fun, recharge the batteries and let your hair down. For longer holidays it may be that trip you’ve been wanting to take to some far away land for as long as you can remember. You’ve picked the destination, made the travel arrangements and are ready to set off on your adventure.

But, what are you going to do when you get there? Finding the perfect balance of activities during your holiday can be tricky. Do you book something everyday and cram in as much as possible to optimise your time or do you book nothing and just go with the flow?

I once met a girl who had every single day booked and planned for her entire 6 month trip through multiple countries. I was gobsmacked when I heard this as, 1 – it would have been an insane amount of work to research and organise all that before leaving and, 2 – what about spontaneity? What about getting sick and just needing to rest for a while? There was no room for any of that or wiggle room to include things she may have heard about when actually in the country.

Other people swing to the exact opposite and have nothing booked or planned for their entire holiday. That can be a fun, impulsive way to spend your trip but the trap can be that when you get there everything you decide on is booked, sold out or unavailable meaning you now have nothing to do and it affects your overall enjoyment of the time away.

In my years of traveling I have found that what works best for me is a happy balance between having some things researched and booked and lots of spare time to rest, relax and do as I please.

How to find the Perfect Balance of Holiday Activities

To help you find your perfect balance here are some tips –

1 – Have a general idea of what is available to you before arriving.

What are your must sees and must dos? Have one or two things booked to give your trip structure but leave the rest open. By having a rough idea on the options available, you can then plan and book once you arrive.

2 – Be aware of travel times.

You’d be surprised how many people book onto tours that require 6hrs or more of sitting on a bus to get to whatever they want to see. When I worked as a Tour Guide in Alice Springs there was a tour on offer that required a 5hr bus ride to see Uluru. People would be collected from their hotel at 4am, driven for 5 hrs to see the Rock and spend the day sightseeing, then after sunset driven the return 5hrs back to Alice Springs and dropped off at their hotel around midnight. That is a crazy day of touring! Yet, so many people would book onto this tour it would run every day. It must have taken days for people to recover from this tour so in my opinion if it requires more than 2hrs travel one way then leave it for another time.

3 – Only book one activity a day.

Even a “half-day” tour can take the whole day by the time you factor in travel times or a rest at the end. When running mountain bike tours in Costa Rica I would only ever run half day tours because I knew that most people would spend the afternoon resting and relaxing after our ride. One, because of the heat and two, because of the physical exertion that people were often not used to. Throw in the mental stimulation of being in a different environment and trying to process and take it all in and it was a big day out for most people. Those who had booked hikes to waterfalls, surf lessons or other afternoon activities would often return wishing they hadn’t.

4 – Allow for rest days.

You are on holiday after all and I often hear people talking about needing a holiday from their holiday after cramming so much in they never got any downtime. Along a similar vein – for longer trips, allow for jet-lag as well, as this knocks most people around for the first few days. Best not to plan anything too strenuous until you regain your footing.

So there you have it. With these simple yet easy to follow tips you should be able to find the perfect balance of holiday activities for your break. Not only will you return home feeling relaxed and recharged from your time away but also that you got to see and do some memorable stuff while gone.

How do you structure your holiday activities?

Carry On,

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I’m Anna Kernohan, an Adventure Consultant. I use my 17 years of travel experience and my background in Paramedics and Safety to provide professional advice and travel companion services to those wanting to travel but not in a tour group or alone. You’ll never have to worry about being alone in a foreign country again.

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