Rejuvenate! You Deserve a Vacation — Here’s Why, and Where to Go
The approximately 42 percent of Americans who don’t use all their vacation time may want to rethink that strategy. Some people fear that taking time off might impact their ability to get a promotion, particularly in environments with tight deadlines and a heavy workload. However, there are some benefits to using paid time off.
According to Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist who spoke with U.S. News and World Report, vacations have a huge impact on one’s mental health. She points to the fact that most people who take a break are more motivated upon returning to work, and therefore more likely to achieve goals. In fact, the average performance review is 8% higher the following year for people who took a vacation than those who didn’t.
With so many reasons to de-stress and unwind, it only makes sense to use vacation days this summer, even if you only take a few at a time. Here are some top summer getaways so inviting that they may just entice people to go ahead and use up that well-deserved (and mightily de-stressing!) time off:
Take in the Great Outdoors
While a trip in the great outdoors isn’t something most people equate with pampering, for those who love nature, this might be the best way to leave mental pressure behind: ditching the cellphone and technology and learning to breathe again can work wonders.
There are currently 59 national parks in the U.S. that make the perfect getaway. If one doesn’t enjoy camping, there are usually luxurious hotels and day spas in these areas. Renting an RV is a great option for family trips, too. Consider some of these locations:
- Acadia, Maine
- Arches, Utah
- Big Bend, Texas
- Biscayne, Fla.
- Channel Islands, Calif.
- Crater Lake, Ore.
- Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio
- Great Smokey Mountains, Tenn./N.C.
- Hot Springs, Ark.
Visit a Luxury Spa
A few days at a luxury spa can do work miracles for the stressed-out businesswoman. So look for a spa that offers massages, time to relax, yoga and other treatments meant to provide rest and recovery from the daily grind. Here are a few ideas:
- Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe, N.M. – This intimate spa is built like a Japanese hot springs. The water is 104 to 106 degrees, and specifically designed to detoxify. The property offers just twelve hotel suites, giving it an intimate feel, and several different types of massages.
- Takahashi Gardens, British Columbia – For those who don’t mind crossing the border into Canada, this nature retreat offers Zen-inspired relaxation. There are garden terraces, outdoor hot tubs, a private cover, and mountains and forests in the background.
- Villa La Bella, Isla Mujeres, Mexico – Located a ferry’s ride from Cancun, this fishing village offers a small-town, laid-back feel. The bed-and-breakfast is adults-only and offers hammocks for swinging in the gentle breeze — and just relaxing and unwinding in paradise!
Hit the Road
Road trips are the ultimate way to take in all sorts of sites. Depending on where you live, a national park, state park or historical landmark may be just a day’s drive away. Here are a few to consider:
- Grand Canyon: Beautiful scenery and within driving distance of Hoover Dam and Las Vegas.
- Philadelphia: Steeped in history and the location where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
- Memphis: Visit Graceland to get your fill of the king of rock ‘n’ roll, then go to town for some sight-seeing.
- Indianapolis: Home to the Indy 500 museum and an amazing children’s museum and zoo.
- Chicago: Filled with different museums, from art to history to science.
Don’t rule out local landmarks either. Visit museums, historic homes and parks in your area. You can even plan a trip around events like music festivals and sporting events. Whether you’re a music lover, a history buff, or an adventurist, click on here to find a road trip for you.
Take a Step Into Yesteryear
For women who love history, a vacation at a historic hotel is a great retreat. Many of these hotels have been refurbished and offer spa-type services. The bit of history may be enough to inspire even the most techy women to forego the constant buzzing of a phone and tablet to relax and rejuvenate. Here are a few to try:
- French Lick Springs/West Baden, IN – These historic hotels once saw visitors who were presidents, royalty and even figures like Al Capone. People came to bathe in the hot springs and improve their health. Today, the hotels have been refurbished, with casinos and luxury spa treatments, such as massages, facials and every form of pampering imaginable, added to the mix.
- Biltmore Estate, Asheville, N.C. – This beautiful estate is set in the mountains of North Carolina. There are several options for where visitors can stay, including a cottage, but the inn on the estate offers personalized service. A luxury spa offers body treatments, massages and nail care.
- Hotel Jerome, Aspen, CO – If Aspen is calling, the Hotel Jerome offers luxury accommodations and a complete spa, events, dining and more. Spa treatments are Alpine-inspired and include minerals, botanicals and essential oils. Visitors can also partake of an Antidote Yogic massage, an energy scrub, or take a steam bath while getting a massage.
Using vacation time is vital to living a healthy, balanced life. In the Oxford report quoted at the beginning of this article, researchers found that offering paid time off to employees was one of the most expensive parts of an employment compensation package. Yet, employers understand that time away from the stress and the workload of a typical job is good for employees and good for the company, since not using those days may result in stress, illness and burnout. So do yourself a favor and bypass those nasty by-products of a packed job schedule by choosing these (or other options) to re-invigorate your spirit.20