6 Tips for a Perfect Summer Holiday

6 Tips for a Perfect Summer holidayThere’s a Billy Crystal film called City Slickers that was a firm favourite of mine back in the 90s. The basic plot was about three friends who take an annual trip together without their wives. Each year the trips get wackier. In City Slickers they travel to the Southwest to drive cattle on a supervised vacation. The legendary Jack Palance plays the tough cowboy, Curly Washburn and Billy Crystal plays Mitch, the man on the edge of a midlife crisis.
It’s a fun film to watch, but it also has a few valuable lessons mixed in amongst the humour. One of my favourite parts is when Curly explains ‘vacation’ to Mitch. ‘Y’all spend fifty weeks a year getting knots in your rope and then expect to come up here and unwind them in two weeks.’ This pretty much sums up the basic work/life balance of the twentieth century. We work long hours sometimes risking our family time and leisure activities and then expect to fully relax when herded onto bus, plane, and coach on an all-inclusive trip to Spain!
After many years working in holistic health, I’m fairly lucky that I’ve learned how to master the work/life balance reasonably well. Although, social media time can become incredibly overwhelming sometimes! My holidays tend to be a time for reconnecting with my three children who have a better social life than me and enjoying relaxing meals with my parents. I also love to visit historical sites, swim in the sea, and shop at quirky markets.
I’m slightly alarmed that this all sounds like a dating profile, so I’ll swiftly move on! Holidays are the ideal time to explore new and exciting places. I try to pick a new destination each year so that over time my children and I travel to as many places in the world as we can. Yes, I have my favourites (Barcelona!) but discovering new locations is half the fun of a holiday.
Being able to relax fully is something we all long to do when we step off a plane in a sunny climate, but quite often we end up doing too much, getting ill, or over indulging so that our well planned and eagerly anticipated holiday ends up as another stressor.
So, how can we embrace the holiday season and totally switch off? I’ve just returned from ten days in America where I was rushing here, there, and everywhere on site seeing tours, however, I was also able to commit fully to my time away and reap the benefits. Here’s what I did:

  1. Switch off your phone – I used my phone to take photos (hundreds of photos!) and face time my children a few times, but other than that I switched it to silent and kept it in my bag. Due to the time difference I was in bed when the UK was awake, so before I went to bed each night, I would do one Facebook update of the activities we’d done that day and add a few photos. One Facebook post a day to keep my family and friends in the loop. No twitter, no blog posts, no Instagram, no emails – no stress!
  2. Eat right – It’s tempting to over indulge on holiday, but if you aim to fill up on the incredible fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and lean meats that are readily available then it will help maintain your weight. I thoroughly enjoyed the occasional milk shake and Krispy Kreme (well, I was in America!) but I also filled up on bowls of fruit and yogurt and tasty evening meals that weren’t deep fried.
  3. Water, water, everywhere – Drinking plenty of fluids when in a hot climate is important, and I don’t mean mojitos! Staying hydrated helps your skin, reduces headaches, and keeps you cool.
  4. Leave the sunbed behind – For loads of people, lying on a sunbed for a week is their idea of a relaxing holiday. There’s nothing wrong with this at all and I certainly engaged in a few hours of pool time while away, however, getting up and going for a walk, or site seeing can be just as relaxing as well as stimulating for the mind and soul. I visited some incredible museums, galleries, and forests in America and soaked up the magic of the new surroundings.
  5. Stock up on Vitamin C – It’s happened to us all. We arrive at the beach all excited for a week in the sun and the next day are struck down with a cold. Ensure you have all the necessary lotions and potions with you to help combat any bugs, bites, or indulgences.
  6. Meditation works – It can be hard to switch off from home life when away and as your holiday draws to a close you might find thoughts of work creeping in. Try a spot of meditation to bring your mind back to the present moment. If you’re in the swimming pool rest against the side, close your eyes and listen to the lap of the water against the pool edge. If there are kids laughing and splashing try tuning into these sounds as this is a typical holiday vibe. At dinner there are often candles on the table, gaze into the flame and concentrate on the shape and colours.

USA 2017 434The most important part of a holiday is to enjoy it. Throw yourself into a new culture, exotic places, and meeting lovely people. Sample foods that are unusual, and visit independent shops to help local communities. Do the tourist attractions but also look out for other, less obvious places to visit as there are gems dotted all over.
I’m sharing my American trip highlights over on my author blog, so please feel free to pop over and read about the incredible activities I enjoyed and the places I visited.
Happy summer x
Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest


  1. I need to watch that film. So true what the character in the film says about distressing. I love Barcelona. Lived there for a few months. Technology is great but it has a lot of downsides too. I love your sense of humour. Re: the dating ad . Great tips. I must act on them . Ha ha

    1. Ha ha, thanks for that. How fab that you lived in Barcelona. After visiting Arkansas recently I’d happily move there – fabulous places to visit. Thanks for stopping by x

    1. Ha ha, half the fun of holidays is being able to fail at number 2!! I was lucky that there were so many amazing restaurants where I stayed. Had a fabulous time, hope you guys did too x

  2. So happy you enjoyed your trip to the U.S., but I am disappointed I didn’t get to see you. I know you’ll come to Maine on your next visit and I have a spare room so don’t plan on getting a hotel room. And I know a great place to buy fresh lobster so be prepared for the full Maine experience. I’m just starting a two week vacation, so your advice is perfect for me at this time. I’m not going on a plane anywhere but will be enjoying a few days in coastal Maine, connecting with friends for lunch in some amazing restaurants and enjoying some unstructured time relaxing. I’m not big on the beach scene but I’ll go and listen to the waves lapping on the shore and enjoy the squeals of children and sea gulls. And I’ll get some exercise dodging the sea gulls as they fly overhead making me susceptible to a stain not of my own doing. 😉

    1. Maine is most definitely on my bucket list! I hope you have an amazing vacation. I’ve just written up the first blog post about my trip and it was great to think back over the amazing things we did. Can’t wait to share it with everyone (tomorrow) 🙂

  3. Wise words as ever Shelley and something I am also in tune with. I’ve not seen that film, but I have recently seen The Great Gilly Hopkins, Me Earl and the Dying Girl and a couple of others that are not really in my film genre, but nevertheless invoked great empathy with the characters and stories. Granted they are quite serious films, but the content does say “You actually have a good life, even when you think it isn’t.”
    Spot on with the social media stresses too; often self invoked so I like your Facebook post strategy and ignore the rest. Must try it lol
    Sounds like your holiday was a blast too 🙂

    1. Thanks, Gary. It’s nice to watch (and read) things that are out of our usual genres. If you ever need a light-hearted comedy then I can recommend City Slickers. I’ve made a conscious decision since getting home that I need to pull back on social media. I found the larger periods of time with no electronics was marvellous for the soul. 🙂

      1. I think it’s essential to do that as a writer to see different viewpoints and methods of work. Not to mention the odd gem that previously I might have overlooked! Finished your book btw so if you still want that spotlight I sent you a hearty email before you went lol.
        Re social media, I have a similar stance looming. Yes I need to work with it, and no it should not consume time. I need to find a new balance and stop losing time I should be writing in. It’s also good to maybe have a couple of days entirely away from electronics too ????

          1. My pleasure and will keep an eye open; Busy few weeks ahead here and will be off for a long weekend at the beginning of August (well, 2nd week in). Looking forward to doing it too (the spotlight, well, and the break lol)

  4. Great list. Switching off the phone is a big one; I did this last year and was amazed the difference (for the better) it made to be ‘unconnected’!

  5. Love this! I’m trying so hard to balance my writing, work, and family life along with trying to stay healthy. Thanks for supporting my beliefs with your post. I’ve got to stay on track. That’s for sure! 🙂

  6. I’m glad you had a great vacation Shelley! And you had me with the City Slickers reference. The lesson you chose absolutely fits here, but my favorite Curly lesson is when he holds up his one finger in response to Billy Crystal’s questions about the meaning of life. That’s stuck with me for decades.
    And I really have a difficult time with meditation when I’m outside of very structured controlled environments that I’m very familiar with (so new cities/hotels/lnadscapes don’t work as well for me) but I’m so jealous you can meditate, even with children playing in the background!

  7. Reblogged this on Suzie Speaks and commented:
    Loved this post from Shelley! I’ve been following her travel exploits via Facebook and she looks like she’s had the trip of a lifetime! Please don’t like or comment on my reblog – hop on over to Motivate Me and say hello!

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