It starts moment we decide to take that vacation. Stress consumes us. We think about the cost of flights, hotels and food. We consider what we might be missing at work. We even start worrying about what clothes we’ll wear (or at least I do). The stress of a vacation can be crippling. Here are four ways to reduce the stress of your upcoming holiday.

1. Budget!
We’d all like to think that we can pull off three weeks in St. Tropez for $450 while also dining at the finest restaurants. The truth is, we can’t. Start by making a list of all your expenses, including an allotment for incidentals. This is your target amount, where you will feel like you’ll come away from the vacation a frugal hound. Know that once you’ve set the amount and itemized it you can make adjustments, but be sure to make the budgeted amount logical. For example, if you leave yourself only $60 per night for a hotel you WILL be over budget in the first week. If you make it $110 or more you’ve found an amount where some nights you’ll feel under budget. This will give you the freedom to splurge a little on those nights.

2. Now ADD 25-pecent to the bottom line
That’s right. Give yourself the room to ENJOY your vacation and not come back broker than a joker. You want to make sure that you’ve planned for contingencies knowing that you might go over budget, but still be able to pay your rent or mortgage when you return. If you are a monster when it comes to spending binges then building in this allotment will ensure that you don’t come home and have to eat Ramen Noodles for three months to pay back that $400 bottle of wine at dinner!

3. Fewer Facebook and Twitter Updates
Tethering yourself to the world you’re leaving means you’ve kept one foot in the ball of stress you were trying to avoid by going on vacation. When you decide to make the leap and hop on the plane, go ahead and take another step in being bold and shut off the phone and store the laptop. Read hard cover books, make conversation and engage people in their expertise. You’ll have many more stories to tell when you return if you keep them to yourself for the two weeks you’re traveling.

4. Vacation from your Vacation
Plan to spend 24 to 48 hours decompressing from your vacation before heading back into work. This can be a stressful transition, so a little bit of time to reacclimatize to your home environment can help reduce the tension you’ll undoubtedly feel coming back from paradise.

Remember to have fun, take photos and always, always say YES to new adventures!

Lilly Star
The lead female voice at, Lilly is a professional advice-giver with experiences in dating men of all types, including the good ones that got away. Her passions include white wine, purple peonies and relaxing on the chaise lounge with her dachshund Samantha. Lily’s work can be read on dating blogs for both men and women.