Have you ever returned from vacation feeling like you need a vacation to recuperate from your vacation?? Why is that, do you suppose? Perhaps its because you are filling your vacation time with all kinds of things that don’t actually relax you at all.

The fact is, different personalities are stressed or relaxed by different circumstances or activities. In fact, some things that totally wear you out might actually energize others. Meetings for example, seem to have an extreme effect on people at both ends of the spectrum. Some are energized and motivated by meetings, while others are beyond annoyed that meetings take up so much of their time in which they could be getting things done. The same goes for vacation activities. Many are energized and invigorated by taking long hikes, exploring waterways or caves, going surfing or snorkeling, while others would rather lay on the beach or by the pool with a good book. Still, others can’t imagine a good vacation without being surrounded by family and friends, while others yearn for some peaceful solitude.

One of the best vacations I can remember was in college where I went on a trip to Florida with a group of friends. The difference in personalities and interests became clear from the very get-go when about half of the group was up at the crack of dawn to go for a jog on the beach and the other half of us looked at them like they were crazy as we bid them goodbye and rolled over in our beds. We fell into a comfortable groove that week. Group A rising early, being active, and turning in at a reasonable time while group B slept in, enjoyed leisurely activities and some nightlife, turning in not long before group A arose with the sun.. we all had a blast because we were free to enjoy what made us feel relaxed and energized.

So how can you plan your next vacation so that you can return feeling relaxed and invigorated? Especially if your vacation includes kids, family or friends all with varying interests? Just follow the simple steps below to plan a vacation that’s actually… well, a vacation!

  • KNOW YOUR PERSONALITY TYPES. Who is going on vacation with you? What are the dynamics? Personality types? If you’ve taken the Birkman Assessment, you know exactly what your personality type is, what motivates you, and what stresses you. But even if you haven’t taken the Birkman, you can still probably gauge the general personality types of you and your group. Here are the 4 basic personality types:
    • RED | DOERS- Energetic, action-oriented, likes hands-on activities, decisive.
    • GREEN | COMMUNICATORS- Likes being around other people, likes varied activities, enjoys quality time with friends and family
    • BLUE | THINKERS- Creative & innovative, enjoys solitude, likes quality time with friends & family, likes to discover/learn new things
    • YELLOW | ANALYZER- Likes to have a plan, enjoys solitude, likes to know what to expect
  • CREATE A FLEXIBLE PLAN. Once you have considered the personality types, take some time to plan some activities for each. If your dynamic allows, maybe you can even break into groups. Maybe beach day can be a choice of laying on the beach, or going snorkeling. The point is, based on personality type, do your best to plan activities that each person can enjoy.
  • COMMUNICATE THE PLAN. Humans are creatures of habit. That means that we generally like to know what to expect. Whether you create a detailed plan, or a general list of things to do, communicate that plan so that people can know what to expect. Remember that while pretty much everyone will appreciate knowing what to expect, your yellow personality types really need a plan! Consider letting the yellows have a say in making a plan. (they will likely be really good at thinking of activities that everyone can enjoy and finding a way to make it all work!)
  • PLAN CONTINGENCIES. One thing we can never really count on is weather. It’s always a good idea to keep bad weather in mind when coming up with activities. Be sure that you don’t only plan outdoor activities that are dependent on good weather. Otherwise, if it happens to rain 4 of 7 days, you’ll find yourself irritated or stressed trying to figure out what to do.
  • THE KID FACTOR. Vacation with kids- especially young ones- can be quite a tiring job! Here’s a really helpful hint: kids do SO much better when they know what to expect and they know what is expected of them! So be sure to communicate at their level of understanding what to expect and what behavior is expected from them. Be sure to plan downtime and let them know when it’s time to rest. If it’s possible, bring a babysitter or relative along to keep the kids several times so the adults can get some of their own down time…

If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be closer to having a vacation that is truly a vacation!

Happy Summer!