12/10/2013 07:49 am ET

Holiday Vacation Hacks To Keep You Sane

Henrik Sorensen via Getty Images

Holiday vacations are a funny thing. We plan for them far in advance, look forward to relaxing and getting away from work, and yet, there's that inescapable lingering dread of airport delays and too much family time.

Whether your going somewhere beautiful and far away, visiting family or just staying home, the holidays don't have to be stressful.

1) Unplug

If you're constantly checking your phone, email, Facebook, and Twitter feed you're not really on vacation. Sure a check in once and a while is fine, but being glued to the Internet won't be worth the money you spent on the beachside resort you're inhabiting for the week.

2) Set aside some time to "work"

Okay, so unplugging is great. But after hanging out with family for days, you'll need an excuse to escape. No one should bother you if you have some important work things to check out on your laptop. No need to really do work, just relish the alone time, surf the web, watch an episode of something on Netflix... whatever will clear your mind for the next round of Scrabble and prying questions.

3) Book some alone time

If the work excuse doesn't work on your family, book yourself some quality alone time. Schedule a massage or your favorite relaxing treatment at a local spa or the resort your staying at. Use the time to zone out and decompress. Consider it a holiday present to yourself.

4) Turn your drive into a road trip

Driving to your family this year? Whether they live a few cities or many states away, turn your dreaded drive into a road trip. Rather than just going from point A to point B, take a less direct route and make stops along the way. You'll probably avoid some traffic and even when you do hit gridlock, it'll be less terrible if you're stopping in an hour, rather than five. Use a site like Roadtrippers to find interesting destinations along your route.

5) Schedule a detox day

The worst part of a vacation is coming home. The house is a mess, you need to unpack everything, do laundry, return emails and get ready to go back to work. Instead of jumping right back into everyday life, devote the day after vacation to reacclimating to the real world. Do all the return-home chores, catch up on TV shows and savor your last moments of vacation bliss.


Europe's Christmas Markets
Europe's Christmas Markets