Trying new foods in exotic places, hiking a new and difficult trail or planning the ideal week long getaway can make a lot of us happy. We all know that traveling can bring us joy, but in order to make any travel successful, you need to plan it. A study shows that the actual planning of a vacation provides people more happiness than the actual trip itself. In fact, the study also found that “the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.”

Aside from planning, going with the flow can also make you feel happy. Here are some tips on planning a trip so that you can create the right balance and get the most out of your next getaway, before, during and after.

  • Delight in the unexpected. If you’re one of those people who likes to plan and there’s always and underlying apprehension which boosts your obsessiveness in creating lists and color coding your calendar, then you need to change this. It can actually be nicer to do more exploration of a new city for the day without having any itinerary or plans at all. You can discover new places you might not find on Yelp and unearth a city’s true culture.
  • Just relax. A research study discovered that the level of post-vacation happiness people experience will depend on how much they are relaxed all throughout the entire trip. If the trip is described by a traveller as just a neutral one or stressful, then there would be no elevated post-vacation feelings. However, those who described their vacation as very relaxing, have the most post-trip joy. Keep in mind to always unwind, even when you’re in a very exciting city like Rome or New York City.
  • Do some food research. Scrolling through Yelp for hours on your phone searching for a place to eat when you’re in a brand new city is just plain worst. Even if too much planning can provide you with a lot of stress, doing some food research can be a good idea. You can find new places in advance or even book a dinner reservation or two so that you will not waste so much time sitting in your hotel room on your phone.
  • Put your camera down. Of course all of us love taking pictures and sharing them to our social media accounts. But there are some advantages of leaving your camera in the hotel room every so often. There are actually things that you don’t need to capture like your feet in the sand. If you simply can’t live without your camera, make sure to capture memorable moments and not how you want your timeline to look like in mind.
  • Pack wisely. Try to pack lightly. Bring fabrics that are lightweight which are easy to layer. Bring versatile shoes such as hiking shoes that can be used as athletic shoes or wedges that can also be used on a night and during the day. It is not enjoyable to travel if you have a 50lbs luggage in tow.