Don’t Believe Anyone Who Says Vacation Isn’t Stressful

It is true that some people stress and worry about vacations more than others, but there is always some level of stress when it comes to vacations. Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, stress can produce hormones that you need to stay safe or even just give you the energy you need to get back to your hotel after a long day.

However, if you are anything like me, then you understand that vacations are to relax and leave the stress at home.

A thorough plan will help prevent stress

One way to decrease the amount of stress you go through is to plan your trip thoroughly with everyone that is going on the trip in advance. For me, planning the trip is the most stressful part, but it will help prevent stress while you are actually on the trip.

I wish sometimes that I could just pick-up and go on vacation without a moment’s notice, but in reality we have to plan where we are going, when we are going, what we are going to eat, and what we are going to do.

By going through this planning process, you will more likely feel “in control” during the trip and “on the same page” with everyone that is there with you and in turn have less stress.

Plan your vacation with flexibility

As I mentioned above, having a thorough plan will help prevent stress, but you also have to create a plan that allows for flexibility. Weather, car problems, delayed flights, closed restaurants and sickness can create stress, but that level of stress can be greatly decreased if you are flexible with your plans.

Be ok with change

Not everyone is ok with change in plans and it can cause stress. Meg for example hates it when I want to change or add things to our plans. She was expecting the trip to go one way and by me changing it, she has to change her expectations and that is stressful for her.

Honestly, it isn’t as easy as just saying “be ok with change,” but if you plan for changes, then it will be a lot easier to deal with.

On the other hand, be aware of who you are vacationing with and avoid causing changes if the people you are with don’t like change.

What do you do?

Everyone handles stress differently, and I have shown you some ways that I try to prevent stress on vacations, so what do you do?

Please comment below with your experiences and questions.

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The First Time I Went On Vacation with My Girlfriend’s Family

Traveling with family can be enjoyable and stressful, especially when it comes to bringing your girlfriend with you. I went on vacation with my girlfriend’s family a couple of times now, but the first time was the most memorable.

Unlike my parents, Meg’s parents have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, but during our first vacation together, you could tell they were uncomfortable. Our first vacation with her parents was at Disneyland, one of Megs favorite places to vacation. She likes all of the special effects and how much work goes into the rides and scenery that is seen throughout Disneyland.

Her parents had to adjust to me dating their daughter

Her parents arranged to pay for my flight and hotel which was very kind of them, and I don’t think I would have felt comfortable going on their vacation otherwise. As you can imagine though, dating their daughter was not a reason to like me.

As you can imagine, her parents didn’t approve of me. It wasn’t that I was impolite or arrogant, I have always tried to be a charming sweetheart to Meg. From the first day I met her I have tried to be the best person I can be for her and if I were a Mormon boy, they would love me.

They haven’t always been a fan of me

You can imagine, a vacation that required more than a couple of hours together at a time created a little tension. Everyone including her parents, Meg and I all tried to be polite and civil around each other, but there were moments that made things awkward.

For example, it was a bit awkward when it came to sleeping arrangements. We all slept in one room, her parents, sister, Meg and I, to save on hotel expenses. There were two beds and a couch so her parents slept in one bed, Meg and her sister slept in the other, and I slept on the couch.

Even though Meg and I had been living together for a few months prior to the trip, her mother didn’t feel it was appropriate to share a bed so they made a point that I wasn’t allowed to sleep next to her. It wasn’t that fact her mom felt it was inappropriate, or even that she didn’t trust me sleeping next to her daughter that bothered me, it was the way her mom went about making a point that I wasn’t “allowed” to sleep next to Meg. I felt like someone in a movie about high school students whose parents don’t trust their kids.

I could have made the trip less awkward if I pretended to be “just friends”

Meg’s mom wasn’t the only cause for discomfort on the trip, I may have been guilty myself as well.

One evening Meg and I were watching the fireworks from the hotel window and I was sitting on her lap because there weren’t any other chairs available. I made a point to sit on her lap like a best friend would, but the fact I was dating Meg made Meg’s mom was pretty bothered.

The worst part about that situation was that I knew it would make her mom feel uncomfortable, but I was tired of standing and wanted to make a statement that it should be fine for me to sit on Meg’s lap- she is my girlfriend after all.

Her mom and I started to share stories

Besides the awkward or contentious parts of the trip, it was overall very enjoyable. We were at the happiest place on earth, after all. For example, when Meg was with her dad and it was just her mom and I, we would exchange stories about Meg and it was really fun.

As long as we were at the Disneyland park, we all seemed to get along really well. We took turns sitting by Meg and we all laughed and awed at the attractions. By the end of the trip things were a lot less awkward. Her parents probably still wished that I was a Mormon boy, but I think they learned that I was very good to Meg and I was good for her too.

They still wish I was a Mormon boy, but I think I am starting to grow on them

I became closer to Meg’s parents and we learned a lot about each other. In addition, this trip opened the door to additional trips and vacations with her parents that I wouldn’t have been invited to otherwise.

They probably still wish I was a Mormon boy, but I think I am starting to grow on me. I even text her mom from time to time, which is a big deal because I don’t text or call people very much.

For Meg’s mom

If you are reading this, I want you to know that I may not be who you envisioned your daughter would marry, but I think you can agree that I love her and will always take care of her. I love you too, future mother-in-law and I look forward to a number of vacations together.

I enjoyed our vacation together and I think it was a pretty good start to our long relationship together.

For everyone else

This is the first story of many of vacation experiences I will share on a weekly basis about experiences you may relate to.

Sometimes it is hard when you don’t have support from your parents or family especially when it comes to loving who you want to love. It is especially hard when you want to make great experiences together on vacations, but be sure you are ready before you put yourself in a situation that requires a lot of time with your loved ones’ family.

What is your experience with your girlfriend’s family vacations? Share them with us by commenting on this post.

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3 Steps to Help You Decide Where to Vacation

It isn’t easy to decide whether or not you need a vacation, but it may be difficult to decide where to take your vacation. Meg and I have been trying to figure out where to take our vacation for quite some time.

Originally we were planning a trip to Disneyland, but neither of us have been on a cruise yet so I was thinking that we should do that instead. After looking into what cruise to go on, and when the vacation would be, Disneyland announced they are getting rid of the Tower of Terror in January, so if we don’t go this year, then we won’t be able to go on the Tower of Terror at all.

In addition, we are planning on replacing our old grandma car for a new car that will last us until our financial plan is to the point that we can go travel the world for a couple of years. This creates more complications because now we have to adjust our budget to compensate for the new car and we may have less funds for our upcoming trip.

As you can see, making a decision for where and when a trip will be is no foreign idea. However, we have figured out 3 great ways to making the decision process easier.

Step 1: Identify what makes the decision difficult.

The best way to make your decision easier, is to identify what makes the decision difficult in the first place. For example, the main reason choosing between a cruise and going on Tower of Terror for the last time is so difficult, is because as much as I love the Tower of Terror and Disneyland, I would rather have a new experience such as going on a cruise. If it was just me, I would choose a cruise any day, but Meg is coming too and she loves Disneyland. Most likely she would kick herself for ever (literally, well probably literally the rest of her life).

Step 2: Answer this: When do you have to buy tickets by, and how much can you afford by that time?

Now that you have identified why the decision is difficult, add another factor that should help eliminate options. One way to do that is by looking at your budget and the timing that you need the funds by. For example, to have a vacation in December, we would need to buy tickets, hotel and flight in a maximum of 45 days.

This process automatically eliminated trips that were on my list of places to go but were out of our price range for a trip this soon.

Step 3: Answer this: What trip would give you the most, for the amount of time you are going?

Some places just aren’t as enjoyable when it is only a couple of days, but some vacations allow you to do everything you want to in a short amount of time. We want to spend at least 5 days away from work, but we want to save some of our PTO at work for Christmas Eve and New Years so we don’t want to take more than that.

The best way to get the most out of these three steps, is by going through them with everyone you are going on vacation with. You may find that you have similar perspectives, or completely different ones. Together you can come up with a decision that feels great and you all agree on.

What do you do when deciding on vacation spots? Do you have a process you go through? Please share them with everyone here by commenting below.

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Leave your Camera at Home During Your Next Trip

The human body uses senses as a powerful way to activate memories. A photograph triggers some of your memories in a powerful manor, but it is also preventing you from getting the full benefit of the actual moment.

Pictures have been used to capture and freeze moments in time so that you can revisit them in the future or even share the moment with your friends and loved ones. Pictures do amazing things, there is no denying that, but when it comes to being in the moment and having your senses open to as much as possible, you have to put the camera down.

Photographs Taint Memories

You may not realize this, but everything that you can see right now is being stored as an image in your mind right now. One thing is different: your eyes are capable in taking in more detail, more color, and more depth than any camera.

This means that no photograph can match the memory from all your senses that are stored in your brain.

People argue that memories fade, and that photographs are the only way to remember. This is a great argument but if you depend on the photograph to remember that moment, then your mind will start to recall the photo instead of the actual moment when you think of it in your mind.

The more you use a photograph to recall a memory, the closer the photo will be to the surface of your memory. If you continue to practice using photos instead of actual memories, then your memories will start to get buried by the photos and slowly you will only recall the photograph and maybe the feeling you get every time you look at the photo.

By recalling the photo instead of the moment, you miss the vivid colors, depth, detail and “in-the-moment” emotions that only your eyes could capture. The memory becomes a flattened image stuck in time.

If you don’t understand what I am saying, then try this out:

  1. Look all around you for a moment and notice all of the details.
  2. Take three deep breaths and close your eyes.
  3. While your eyes are closed, try and remember all of the details around you. Now open your eyes.
  4. Now go get your camera and take pictures of details around you and then close your eyes.
  5. While your eyes are closed, try to remember all the details of the photos that you just took.

When you compare the difference between recalling the photographs in comparison to recalling the moment from your 5 senses, you can see that the actual moment is more enjoyable.

Do I Dare Go On Vacation without My Camera?

I have recently been using my own eyes to take in memories and moments instead of hiding behind a camera waiting and looking for the perfect shot and I love it. I have found that I am more in the moment and I notice details that I would have missed behind a camera.

On the other hand, I always try and take at least 1 or 2 photos per day so that I can share the memory with my friends and family. That is the main difference, I take a small amount of photos to share with others, and I use my own senses to gather images in my head for myself.

Have you Tried this?

We want to hear what your experience was like leaving your camera at home! Leave a comment or connect with Meg and I on social media to share thoughts and ideas.

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3 Ways to Enjoy Your Vacation Even When it is Storming

We all know that the weatherman can only predict so far in the future and they are often inaccurate. For example, it is pouring rain and Scout is barking at the clashing thunder right now even though the weatherman predicted it would be clear skies all week.

So what happens if you are on vacation and it starts storming? Chances are, that your plans didn’t include you being cooped up inside all day so how do you stay safe and still have fun?

I remember visiting Texas a couple of years back and I ended up spending one night under a staircase while a tornado tore apart downtown. This obviously changed our plans dramatically. Instead of going out to see some of the cool sites, we played Battleship for hours.

In life threatening storm situations, there isn’t much you can do but hang out at the hotel or wherever you are staying. In fact, if you are in that situation, consider your safety first, then entertainment after. I am sure you will find something to fill the time while being stuck for hours with your Girlfriend.

The idea of this post is for non-life-threatening storms. Storms like rain and thunder that aren’t life threatening are a lot easier to deal with so here are 3 ways to enjoy it.

Use an Umbrella

Many vacation places have plenty of things still open and running even when it is raining. In fact, you may even be able to enjoy it more because less people will be there.

Take Disneyland for example, has tons of rides and attractions still open during stormy weather. All you need is an umbrella to get from one location to the next.

Bring Out the Camera

There are so many amazing shots you can get with your camera when it is raining just make sure the flash is turned down. The cloud coverage makes every shadow softer and every color truer than it would be under bright sunlight.

You may be thinking “but it might get wet…” and it might. However, if you use an umbrella to protect it, you shouldn’t have to worry.

You may also be thinking “but my hair might look wet…” and it might. However, if you use an umbrella, that is less likely.

Are you catching the idea that I am trying to send you?

I’m not an expert at photography but I thought you might appreciate some tips from National Geographic about taking photos in the rain.

Change Your Plans

One thing about traveling is finding the attractions that locals go to. A local show or university play isn’t a common activity to plan in advance but they often don’t require reservations and can be a great experience.

If you aren’t aware of what activities may be available near you, it may be worth finding the city website and look for events that are going on near you.

What do you do to ensure your vacation is great even if the weather isn’t? Comment below and share your thoughts with me and all of the readers.

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Should you Watch TV on Vacation?

Some people spend late nights or early mornings watching TV in their Hotels or on tablets in their tents. Some people believe that Watching TV is the last thing you should be doing on vacation- After all, it is nice to get away from all of that for a little while. So who is right? Should you watch TV on vacation?

I tried very hard to pick a side on this topic because I always write at my best as an advocate of one side, but the truth is I can’t.

I spent hours reviewing what other people have said about the subject on a number of forums and the there is almost an even number of people who say they do watch TV vs. those who say they don’t.

Some people suggested that watching TV while abroad helps you get a special insight into the local perspectives of the world and others suggested that it may help you know which places you should avoid as well.

I feel that you should decide based on your personal feelings and keep in mind that TV doesn’t affect everyone the same way, so recognize] what is true for you.

Does TV help relax you?

Some people have found that TV is a great way to escape from the world and relax. On the other hand, a number of people use TV to get an idea of what is going on around the world, and that may not be the most relaxing thing you can do on vacation.

Do you have time for TV and everything you want to do on vacation?

Growing up, I didn’t watch TV on vacation. We woke up early in the morning and came home late at night so by the time I was ready to rewind from the day, I was already dreaming of what was to come the next day. With that being the case, I didn’t have time to watch TV and it probably would have taken away from the vacation.

On the other hand, Meg’s family always watches TV. I remember the first time I went on a family vacation with them to Disneyland. Each morning we would sleep in late and watch TV while everyone got ready for the day. It gave the vacation a completely different feel. On one hand, we didn’t spend as much time at Disneyland, but on the other hand, I felt much more rested and a lot less exhausted each night and morning.

Does TV take away from together time?

When I am home with Meg, we hardly ever have the TV on, except to watch Big Brother, because we commonly get sucked into the TV and forget the other person is even there. The same is on vacation. Sometimes it is nice to take a break from each other, but vacation is a great time to be together.

TV commonly creates great quantity time, but not quality time and vacation should be more about quality time.

Should you watch TV on vacation?

In addition to the other points I brought up about watching TV analyze how you feel after watching TV. Do you feel rested? Does it take up all your time and make you feel lazy? Should you set boundaries for the amount of time you have the TV on?

If you are on vacation with someone else, make sure that you keep them in mind before turning on/off the TV. If you don’t know how they would feel about watching TV, ask them before you pick up the remote.

Do you watch TV on Vacation? What are your thoughts on the matter? Comment below to share your opinion.

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Three Things I Learned On a Last Minute Vacation

For some reason, most of my travel throughout the last year has been last minute plans. For example, when Meg got back from visiting her parents in California, we decided to go to Idaho together and visit her grandparents.

When you are making a last minute travel plans, it is especially easy to forget to do things. Spend a couple of hours before leaving on your trip to do the following:

Make your travel plans around your work

We had a little over a week to make the arrangements and we made it happen. The trip was very, very short. We drove there after I got off work on Friday, then we dove back early Sunday so Meg could work Sunday night. Even though it was a short trip, there were still a couple of things that we had to do to make sure that it all worked out.

Prepare your mode of transportation

If you can take a flight, then perfect that is probably safer then driving for hours. However, if you are driving make sure your car is ready. It can be easy to overlook your car when you are packing, but being stuck on the side of the freeway for something you could have prevented can ruin your vacation.

This is especially true with short trips, because if you plan for a 2-day vacation and 1 day is stuck on the side of the road, you may not have time to do everything you planned on and it can be more expensive then it is worth.

When we were going to Idaho, the car had a couple of error lights on the dashboard and the transmission had been giving us a little grief so we had the system checked before we got on the road. We ended up needing a new tire and transmission oil so it was good that we got it checked.

I was still a little nervous taking the car (we need a new one) on such a long trip, but the system check made me feel a lot safer.

Make plans that everyone can enjoy

It was great for us to take a vacation from home, but we made a couple of mistakes. You see, Meg’s goal for visiting her grandparents was because it had been a long time since she had seen them last and she had promised to visit them months ago.

She figured that we would go see her aunt and uncle as well, which is fine with me, but I failed to plan something that I wanted to do too. This resulted in me feeling like she just wanted me to come on the trip to keep her company during the long drive.

She wanted to visit her grandparents, so we visited them. She wanted to eat at Tucano’s (one of my least favorite places to eat) so we had dinner with her grandparents there. She wanted to visit her aunt and uncle, so we did. She wanted to watch the Boise vs Washington Football game so we did.

It was a short trip and there wasn’t time for much else, but I wanted to do something just me and her. It almost felt like pulling teeth to get her to leave her grandparent’s side for an hour (literally it was less than an hour). She felt like I should have asked her earlier in the day so we could have planned the day around us spending time together. So we were both a little disappointed.

I suppose everything I just wrote could be summed up in three sentences: (1) Whatever your last minute plans are, make sure that everyone is involved in making plans. (2) Make sure that your mode of transportation is dependable. (3) Make plans around your work schedule and talk to your supervisor if necessary.

What do you do before making last minute travel plans? Do you have any stories about what happened on your trip? Share them with everyone by commenting below.

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Should You Propose to Your Girlfriend on Vacation

The idea of proposing on vacation has probably come up in your mind, one or two times, but should you? In reality this is going to be case by case, person to person decision but here are some ideas to get your mind thinking.

1.    Is she expecting you to propose? Have you talked about marriage?

I know a surprise can be exciting but try to be as sure as possible that she will say yes before you ask the question. This is an important process to go through because you want to make sure that if you ask her, she doesn’t feel “forced” into any decision. Another thing to keep in mind, is that if she says no, will that ruin the rest of the vacation?

2.    Is there a time or a place on your vacation that a proposal would fit?

Creating a stressful situation is not an ideal proposal. One way to help a proposal to be as enjoyable as possible, is to make sure it fits into the itinerary. Yes, you can “fit-it-in” and you can “make it work” but how about trying to give yourself additional time for things so you don’t feel rushed.

3.    Do you have time and money for a ring and vacation?

If you have the money for both, awesome, that makes that part of the question easy. Time on the other hand, may be a little more complicated. For example, your girlfriend may want to pick out the ring or you may want to get I custom made, or engraved on. Whatever you decide to get, make sure that you will get it before the vacation begins.

How do you plan on proposing to your girlfriend? Are you doing it on vacation? Comment to give other readers ideas for proposing.

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Thinking About a Vacation to Zions National Park?

I have been to Zions National Park a number of times. It has been one of my favorite national parks due to the amazing red rocks and great hiking trails.

When it comes to national parks, there are a couple of things to rate them on. The basic necessities and park maintenance as well as the lesbian friendliness.

deer spot
Basic Necessities:

When it comes to national parks, this is one of the best kept parks I have ever been to. It has a number of bathrooms with multiple stalls so you don’t have to worry about waiting in lines.

There are water fountains a
nd even shoe cleaning facilities so if you decide to take a walk through the sandy beach of the river you can remove the sand from between your toes.

As for food, it is pretty expensive and the quality is pretty mediocre. There are great places to picnic however, so I suggest bringing your own food.  The picture above is my favorite place to picnic. There are always wild animals around like deer and wild turkeys, it is pretty fun.crossing the river.png

In addition to the number of amenities, there are a couple of hikes that you can’t miss.

Riverside Walk: This is an easy hike and very little incline. There is water at the end of the trail so if you want a
little break from the heat, then this is a great little walk.

Angels Landing: The only reason I am suggesting this hike is because it is more difficult and it has a great view at the top.

I would caution anyone who is afraid of heights, there are drop offs and views over cliff sides so it may not be the hike for you.

Pros and Cons:
If you like chatting with strangers, then there are a number of people from all over the world. On the other hand, if you prefer keeping to yourself then you can do that as well.

Depending on the time of year and day of the week, the park can be super crowded. Lines waiting for the tram can be very long.

I suggest that you bring water and snacks to eat in line just in case it is a longer wait then you anticipated.

TWL_AboutWhat about TWL?

Traveling While Lesbian in Zions National park is pretty good. There is such a variety of people at Zions National park, that people don’t seem to notice or care. When Meg and I held hands together no one even noticed.

We had pizza at Flying Monkey, we always get pizza there. I would suggest getting a couple of different pizzas so that you can enjoy multiple flavors. The waiters were nice, and they didn’t seem to care or to notice that the beautiful woman I was with, was actually my girlfriend.

If you like camping, then I would suggest trying out the camping accommodations instead of staying in a hotel. There is something about waking up to the birds and deer surrounding the camp site that makes it that more enjoyable.

Since this is the first vacation spot I highlighted, I would like some help with making it better. With that being the case, please comment below with suggestions or what you would like me to add to future posts.

Have you been to Zions National Park, or are you taking a trip there soon? Comment below.

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3 Things to Consider When Travelling with Pets

Traveling with petsThere are a number of reasons to bring your pet with you on vacation, but before you make a final decision, consider these five things.

  1. Is traveling with your pet going to harm their health?

There are three means of traveling: car, plane and boat. Traveling by plane may be the fastest means to a vacation spot, but it may also be the most unhealthy for a pet. Most flight companies require pets to go under anesthetic for the duration of the trip. According to American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), air transport of sedated pets may be fatal.

If you decide to use a car, make sure that your pet stays in a kennel. If anything were to happen, they will be safest in a secured kennel.

2.  Will your pet have a place to play, or will they be cooped up the whole time?

It may be fun for you to come back to a hotel room and cuddle with your pet, but I image they may not enjoy that very much. One thing to ensure that they have as much fun as you do, is by choosing places that are pet friendly.

Some national parks like Zions National Park have dog hotels with large pet parks that is supervised by professionals. I love these kind of pet parks because you can drop off your pet and trust they will have a blast while you go have a blast too.

3. What do you need to bring for your pet?

Pets may feel a little anxious or home sick when they sleep in a strange place with strange smells. With that being the case, I suggest bringing more than just food and a leash. Try and bring their bed and favorite toy. That way they can have something that is similar to home and should help with the anxiety.

Do you take your pets on vacation with you? What do you do to help your pet stay comfortable on long trips? Let me know by commenting below

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