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20 Must-Have Tips to Avoid Having a Boring Vacation

20 Must-Have Tips to Avoid Having a Boring Vacation

Everyone looks forward to their vacations.  We all work hard, so we should get to play hard. Whether you work a whole lot at a job you don’t like or a little bit at a job you love or something in between, you likely get excited when thinking about an upcoming break.

When it comes to planning a vacation, some people are quite spontaneous; others plan their vacations for months or even years.

Some people like to travel internationally, but others prefer to stay closer to home. There are many travelers who plan trips around specific goals or sights they want to see, and there are others who prefer to go with the flow.

Although everyone is different when it comes to travel, there’s one thing that all vacationers have in common: no one wants to go on a boring vacation. 

You may have been on boring vacations in the past. They probably weren’t much fun – especially when you took the time to consider how much time and money you spent on trips that you weren’t really enjoying. 

When you’re on vacation but you’d rather be at home, then you know you’re on a vacation that isn’t what you wanted – nor what you needed, either. And now there are things to worry about like COVID; added flight and quarantine policies, travel restrictions, and additional terms for travel among other joys add to the list of boredom and rubbish to sap the joy out of your trip.

Fortunately, it’s possible – and even easy – to make sure that your vacation isn’t boring, every step of the way. If you’re looking for tips on how to avoid having a boring vacation, check out the suggestions below.

Keeping all of them in mind as you plan and take your trip will help you to ensure that you never have to suffer through another boring vacation again – and that every vacation you take from here forward will be the best time ever.

Before You Go on Your Trip

There are so many things that you can do to avoid boring vacations before you even leave your house. A lot of the battle is good planning to save yourself from the doldrums.

Although it may sound fun and exciting to just close your eyes, point to a spot on a map, and go there, that’s likely a recipe for disaster in most cases. The place you randomly choose may be no fun at all or at least no fun for you in particular.

Instead, take time to plan your trip ahead of time. Some people are natural planners and love planning every aspect of a trip, but others are not so organizationally inclined.

However, even if you’re in the latter group, a little bit of planning can go a very long way.

1. What Are Your Vacation Goals?

The first thing that you should do is take time to think about who you are and what you like.

  • What was the best vacation you ever took, and why was it so great?
  • What do you like to do when you are on vacation?
  • Do you want to relax or learn or hike or all three?
  • Do you prefer quiet destinations or active, busy places?
  • Do you like nature or cities better?

If you’re unsure about the answers to these questions, ask your friends and family for suggestions. They know you better than anyone and may have very clear ideas about specific destinations that will suit you perfectly.

2. Consider Several Destinations

Women Looking on a Map

Once you’ve thought about your travel wants, needs, and style, come up with a list of several destinations to consider and do a bit of research. Ask people about them and read about them online.

Then, take some time to consider the pros and cons of each. Which one sounds most like your dream vacation destination? Which has the most to do? Which offers the best variety of vacation packages in your price range? Which seems the most attractive to you and which are you most excited about?

After taking the time to consider several destinations, the best one for you at this time will likely be much more clear.

3. Research Your Destination

Once you’ve settled on your vacation destination, you can start to research it. Use online tools like the Expedia Group company, TripAdvisor, and the ViaTravelers newsletter or the websites of local tourism boards to learn what there is to do there and how much various things will cost. Jot down a list of things that interest you and that don’t sound boring, and research them further.

Check out some restaurants you might like to try while you’re in town. Ask people you know who have visited the destination for recommendations, too.

4. Create an Itinerary

Even if you’re not a person who naturally loves planning, take some time to create at least a loose itinerary for your adventure. You don’t have to be specific about times or even days, necessarily.

A simple, ranked list of things you’d like to do may be enough of a guide for you. Others may prefer a day-by-day, hour-by-hour itinerary to guide their adventures. Either way, having a list of fun things to do will help to keep your trip from being boring at any point.

If some of the things you want to do will require reservations, make at least some of the reservations before you leave home. That way, you’ll have a framework to work around, and you won’t miss out on any activities or tours that really excite you on your trip, and you’ll get the lowest prices, too.

Love to join tours? Find the best with GetYourGuide.

En Route to Your Destination

Some people say “getting there is half the fun,” but others don’t like the actual travel portion of vacationing at all. Either way, there are many things that you can do to make getting there more fun, indeed.

5. Fun on a Plane

If you’re traveling to your destination by air, you may already be dreading the hours you’ll be spending jammed into a seat on a flight while you wait, even if you got a great flight price.

However, there are a few things you can do to productively pass the time. Sleeping is always a great option, but not everyone can sleep well on planes.

If you can’t rest your head, you might take time to review your itinerary to help you get more excited about your arrival. You could also take some time to journal about your expectations; on your way home you can re-read what you wrote to determine what was like you imagined and what wasn’t at all.

To learn more about where you’re headed on your flight, you could read travel guidebooks on the plane, or start reading a novel set there. Better yet, you can download documentaries or films about your destination to watch while you’re in the air.

Nowadays, most international (and a good chunk of domestic) flights have in-seat entertainment screens in the back of each headrest.

On top of the factual and cultural information they typically include about your destination, they will normally have a huge library of radio broadcasts, podcasts, TV shows, films, documentaries, and movies to peruse.

Think of all the blockbusters you missed this year (or practically any other!) and get lost in a story from the silver screen!

Many will also have a word or video games, some of them even multiplayer. Challenge another passenger to Scrabble, Poker, Chess, Battleships and spend the flight playing games!

If you’re traveling somewhere that doesn’t speak your language, you could spend your flight learning and practicing useful phrases in the language of the country you’ll be visiting.

If you want to save money on your travel, look for cheap flights at Scott’s Cheap Flights or Skyscanner and get the best deals.

6. Fun in a Car

A long car trip can be lots of fun or it can be long, painful, and unbearable – particularly if you’re prone to road sickness. Much of which way it goes is up to you.

One way to pass the time, whether you’re alone or with others, is to play car games like the trusty license plate game or the alphabet game like you did as a kid. You also might enjoy listening to books on tape; a long and interesting novel can make time go by quite quickly.

The best way to make car travel fun, though, is to plan interesting stops along the way. You may be tempted to just drive, drive, and drive to get to where you are going, but adventures en route can make all the difference. Sites like AtlasObscura.com and RoadsideAmerica.com are great for this sort of thing.

See Related: Best Travel Board Games

Upon Arrival at Your Destination

When you first arrive at your destination, you may be overwhelmed with what you should do first, or you may be underwhelmed because the destination isn’t immediately like what you expected.

Either way, take a deep breath and get settled in your hotel, and then you can and should just dive in.

7. Talk to the Locals

Woman Interaction with two boys

As you already know, no one knows any destination better than the locals. Talk to every local person that you meet about the area. 

Ask what you should do, where you should eat, and what attractions you absolutely should not miss. Some of the best recommendations that you’ll ever get are not found in a guidebook, but rather come out of the mouths of local people. Listen to what they have to say and follow their advice.

8. Orient Yourself

When you get to where you’ll be staying, check in, drop off your stuff, and then take some time to orient yourself to the area. 

Buy a paper map or a map app on your phone to help you get a sense of place. Take a quick walk around the block and take it all in. If you have your car or a rental car, even better. You may see restaurants or activities within walking distance in the city center that interest you.

Hopefully, this orientation walk or drive will help you to get excited about where you are, which is a good step in keeping your trip from being boring.

Find cars to rent a Kayak and enjoy a road trip.

9. Allow Yourself Flexibility

If you don’t like where you’re staying, there’s no harm in changing things up after a night or two. If the place you’ve booked seems boring, try to find a more interesting alternative and maybe even try switching up accommodations options altogether. If you usually stay in a hotel, try an Airbnb or hostel instead.

At Your Destination

There are a number of things that people dream of when thinking about vacationing. Some people picture themselves lounging on the beach or sitting by a pool. Other people imagine visits to museums and historical sites. Some people think about shopping. Many people picture people on guided tours.

You may like some or all of the above things, or you may think of some or all of them as major components of a boring vacation.

However, you must remember one simple, vital thing – it’s your vacation. You don’t have to do all or even any of the above things if you don’t want to and especially if you find them boring. There are many other things that you can try instead.

10. Volunteer

Taking some time to volunteer in a place you visit can transform your boring escape into an exciting one. You’ll learn more about your destination, the people in it, and the needs of the community there, and you’ll feel great about giving back.

11. Take a Local Cooking Class

Every destination that you visit will have local food and drink. Whether your destination is international or domestic, you can learn a lot about the culture of a place by learning how to cook local cuisine. Try a local cooking class to discover new foods and flavors.

12. Hire a Photographer

Photographer Taking Photos

Have you ever wanted to be a model? Me neither, but everyone enjoys special photographic keepsakes of themselves.

When you hire a local photographer, he or she will take you to a beautiful local location, like a beautiful cliffside or a spacious home in the countryside, and will make you look fantastic. You’ll likely end up buying more portraits than you think.

13. Practice the Language

If you’re visiting a destination where another language is common, challenge yourself to use the local language as much as possible. You’ll probably have some embarrassing moments, but you’ll surely have a lot of fun trying. 

14. Attend Local Events

Acting like a local can give you a unique perspective on your destination. Go off the beaten path and go to places only locals go. Go to farmer’s markets, local bars, public beaches, libraries, and local shopping areas.

These types of adventures are not often included in vacation packages but it’s a component of most of the best vacations you’ll take in your lifetime. Checking out local spots is never boring.

15. Try Things You’ve Never Done Before

The best way to avoid a boring vacation is to try things that you’ve never done before. Boring vacation packages often include very expected activities, and that’s what makes them boring vacation packages.

Instead, create your own adventure and try new things! You’ll never be bored if everything that you do is new to you. Doing new things will provide you with mental stimulation that you can’t get any other way.

See Related: Best Airbnb Alternatives for Accommodation

Avoiding a Boring Vacation at Meals 

We all gotta eat, right? When you eat on your vacation, you’ll have the opportunity to try restaurants you never tried before – several times per day. This is extremely exciting for some but is rather daunting for others.

If eating out during your trip seems to be more of a chore than an adventure for you, there are ways to make this necessary task less boring. If you bought into a boring vacation package and you don’t like the restaurants it includes, don’t be afraid to go rogue and mix it up!

16. Try New Foods

Woman holding a sandwich

First, you should make an effort to try foods you’ve never tried before, especially if you are visiting a new region or new country. Even if you don’t like it, you can say you gave it a shot, and even if it’s not something your taste buds view as “good,” at least you can’t call it boring.

17. Review and Plan

While at the restaurant, review your day from beginning to end and reflect on what you enjoyed and what you didn’t. This will help you to plan future vacations, too. Look over your itinerary or plan for the next day. Also, be sure to ask for a seat with a good view, so you can enjoy the sunset or people-watching.

18. Get Takeout and Go

If you find sitting in a restaurant to be boring, get takeout and go sit somewhere else. There’s no rule that says you have to eat in a restaurant setting; you can even skip that part of the experience for the entire vacation if you wish.

At the Hotel

Hotels can be boring places, but you can make your time in them more interesting if you try, even if your room isn’t a fancy honeymoon suite. 

19. Relax

The most important way to make your hotel stay enjoyable is to relax and take advantage of the amenities. Sit by the pool, relax in the sauna, order room service, and engage in enjoyable conversation with your fellow guests.

Beyond that, there are a lot of other things you can do to fill your time. Many boring vacation packages will schedule you at every minute, but you can and should enjoy your evening downtime by doing very little.

20. Read, Write, Play, Watch

However, taking it easy doesn’t have to be boring. Write postcards to your friends and loved ones or even to yourself – you’ll enjoy reading them when you get home. Ask the front desk if they have board games to lend you or try playing games with your companions that don’t require much equipment like charades or cards.

You also might enjoy binge-watching that new series everyone was talking about when you just couldn’t find the time. Read a new book, plan your next day, or even start planning your next trip.

Book hotels at Booking.com and get the best accommodation for your travel.

On the Way Home

Sadly, all good trips must come to an end, and you can’t stay on holiday forever; you have to get back to your regular life.

Hopefully, you had a fun and exciting journey that wasn’t boring at all. You got to explore a part of the world that you had never seen before, and you saw and did things that surprised you. If nothing went wrong, then the trip was a success.

To keep yourself from getting bored on the ride or flight back home, sit back and reflect on your trip. Think about what you liked and what you didn’t so you can further fine-tune your next adventure to your liking.

Once you know what you like, you’ll never sign up for another boring vacation package again. Also, you can look through the many pictures you took and do some photo editing.

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