Nearly 30% of you are planning your summer travel this month, according to TripAdvisor’s 2014 summer travel survey. Summertime is often about traditional travel rituals—meeting up with family at the lake, for instance, or heading to your friend’s house at the shore. Yet, according to the survey, a whopping 71% of you plan to travel somewhere new this summer. That’s impressive—and smart: Novelty makes a vacation more memorable.
The experiences in life that we remember most vividly are those we do for the first time. Exploring a new destination is a prime example of this, of course, but even if you’re headed to the same old lake or beach, you can spice up your trip by sprinkling in an activity you’ve never tried before. Doing something gutsy that you never thought you’d do not only makes a trip more memorable but also leaves you with a sense of accomplishment that lasts long after your trip is over. Activities that some TripAdvisor members say they plan to try for the first time this summer include—in order of popularity—paddleboarding, ziplining, kayaking, white water rafting, sailing, sky diving, rock climbing, cage diving, and flyboarding.
There’s yet another reason to haul yourself out of that pool chair and try cave tubing or learn to surf: As counterintuitive as it might sound, it’s important to incorporate challenge into your vacation too. Scientific research shows that recovery from work—which, after all, is the main purpose of vacation—is more likely if your trip includes a “mastery experience.’’ Mastering a challenge during vacation usually translates to improved well-being, and less exhaustion, once you’re back at work. If adrenaline-pumping sports aren’t your thing, no worries: A “mastery experience” doesn’t have to mean climbing a mountain. Taking language lessons, acquiring a new skill, or even a voluntourism experience can give you that same sense of purpose and post-vacation happiness boost. It’s all worth thinking about as you plan your summer travels.
If you’re stumped about where to go this summer, or how to do it, feel free to ask me your questions below. For more advice from me, check out www.wendyperrin.com and stay tuned to the TripAdvisor blog.