The last year has been tough. Anxiety, depression and stress increased dramatically in 2020, by almost 25 percent. You had to make big adjustments to life and spend more time than ever at home. Now that hope is on the horizon, it’s time to think about ways to destress and enjoy life again. That means you need a vacation!
Vacations Reduce Stress
Science has shown that a vacation can significantly reduce stress, both while you’re on the trip and once you get home. Because a vacation takes away the regular stressors in your life and removes you from the environment that causes you stress, they have the power to quickly and significantly improve your mental health. Vacations also improve your sleep and reduce cortisol levels, even after you get home.
Even a Short Getaway Will Help
Even if you can’t get away for long, short vacations, like 3 day cruises can have lasting and significant benefits. Cruises offer relaxation without a lot of planning. You never have to think about where to go to dinner, and even when you travel to different cities, your bedroom is always in the same place. It’s such a great feeling to only have to pack and unpack once! It’s easy to feel like you’re living in the lap of luxury when all the planning is done for you and someone else is ironing out the details.
You Need a Change of Scenery
If you’ve spent a lot more time at home this year, getting out of your house will be a real treat. A change of scenery will do you so much good and help reenergize you as you return to your regular routine. Taking the time to recuperate is so important, especially since there’s still a lot of change on the horizon as the world transitions back to normal.
Get Out of Your Element
Consider going somewhere completely different than your normal environment. If you live in the city, visit a national park or a ranch in Wyoming. See the desert and experience some of America’s natural wonders. Zion National Park is a great place to start. With beautiful mountainscapes and river views, it’s a hiker’s dream. Located in Southern Utah, it’s near other beautiful parks, like Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon. It’s also driving distance from Las Vegas, making it possible to enjoy nightlife on your outdoorsy vacation too.
Contrastingly, if you’re from a rural area, visit a big city. Cities across the United States offer culture, fine cuisine and great sites, all with their own unique character. Dallas, Texas is a great and easily-accessible city, with two international airports serving it. A city for foodies, you can enjoy the best steak, barbecue and Tex-Mex, all in one metroplex. Dallas has an incredible art scene too, including the Dallas Museum of Art, which is free to enjoy. If you feel like venturing outside the city, visit the Fort Worth Stockyards to experience the gateway to the west.
Vacationing With Kids
If you’ve got kids, 2020 added extra obstacles to your life. Between working from home, navigating online school and becoming stay-at-home parents, it was impossible to find any type of balance in life. A family vacation can help remedy that. A change of scenery will decrease stress for you and your family. Find a place you and your kids can both enjoy and relax. Beaches, like those off Florida’s Gulf Coast are a great choice. White sand for sand castles and long walks means enjoyment for you and your kids. Paired with swimming pools and fun in the ocean, and you’ve got the perfect family getaway. Visit a pirate ship at Treasure Island or have ice cream at one of the many great parlors located just off the beach.
It may seem challenging to take time away right now, but you need it after 2020. Finish 2021 off refreshed and renewed by taking the vacation you deserve.
The essential travel health kit
Obviously, you shouldn’t pack your entire medicine chest, but you also don’t want to skimp when it comes to necessary or potentially lifesaving supplies. What bare medical necessities to bring? Although the contents of your medical kit will vary depending on where you’re headed, most travel-medicine experts agree that there are some items that ought to be in nearly every traveler’s black bag.
- Prepackaged antiseptic towelettes, bandages, and topical antibiotics: The more you’re out and about, the more likely you are to get a few scrapes. There’s no sense letting a minor scratch develop into a major infection, especially if you’re traveling to a remote area.
- Flashlight: Although not necessarily a medical supply, a flashlight is necessary for many situations, from unlighted city streets to midnight trips to the bathroom in jungle resorts run on generators.
- Pepto-Bismol and Imodium: Rich food or bad food can give you stomach troubles. Plan for them by bringing these tablets along.
- Moleskin: Although not lifesaving, this adhesive padding can be the key to preventing the activity-limiting blisters that are likely to develop as you trek from site to site.
- Sunscreen: A sunburn is not only annoying but also cancer-causing. It can also I hamper your skin’s ability to , perspire, which is essential I for preventing your body from overheating in hot climates.
- Motion-sickness remedies: Dramamine tablets and Scopamine patches can relieve a lot of discomfort if the boat crossing is rougher than expected or the bus ride is wickedly bumpy.
- Thermometer in a sturdy case: The best way to assess whether you have an infection needing a doctor’s care is to take your temperature to see if you have a fever.
- Pain relievers: Such pain relievers as Tylenol or Advil can come in handy for treating headaches, joint pain, and fever.
- Hydrocortisone 1% ointment or cream: The alien bacteria you may encounter when you go swimming in the sea or other natural bodies of water can trigger itching or a rash, which this cream can counter. It can also help relieve those unbearable symptoms of a poison ivy rash.
- Allergy medicine: If you are an allergy sufferer, take along some antihistamines: your allergies may not be acting up at home prior to departure, but changes in altitude and a different clime at your destination may trigger even an occasional allergy. Of course, if you have food allergies, reactions to bee stings, or other specific conditions requiring medications, make sure you have an ample supply before you hit the road
- Special ointments: If you are a woman prone to yeast infections, over-the- counter creams for these infections, such as Monistat, should also be in your medical kit. And if you are a peson who suffers from athlete’s foot or jock itch, don’t forget an antifungal cream.
- Repellents: A mosquito repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) is especially critical if you are traveling to tropical areas where malaria, yellow fever, dengue, and other mosquito borne diseases are likely to lurk. Skin-So-Soft and Naturapel are two DEET-free repellants for areas without malaria. Depending upon your lodging conditions, you may want to bring mosquito coils and a mosquito net for sleeping; you could even take it a step further and have the netting dipped in permethrin insecticide.
- Antimalarial drugs: These are also essential if you are traveling to an area where malaria is prevalent, such as Africa, central and northeastern South America, India, and southeastern Asia. You will need a prescription for an antimalarial.
- Water purification tablets, packets of oral rehydration salts, and Cipro or Bactrim: As many as half of all travelers experience the dreaded traveler’s diarrhea. Water purification tablets (found in sporting goods stores and pharmacies) can help prevent it, and oral rehydration salts (found at pharmacies) and the antibiotics Cipro or Bactrim are used to treat it. You need a prescription for the antibiotics, which should be used only to treat not prevent traveler’s diarrhea.
- Condoms: These can be lifesaving, no matter where you travel and they may not be available everywhere.