Bell Curve Planning- The Key to a Great Escape
Susan Sherren, Founder Couture Trips
Feb 2, 2021
We all know how precious our vacation days are. You work hard year-round and want to enjoy your getaway. A carefully planned itinerary is the key to making sure your days away are enjoyable and productive. Did you know the bell-curved methodology is a critical component of a well-planned vacation? It’s an essential planning strategy to consider when you are taking a holiday abroad where time zone changes, jet-lag can impact you the most and wreak havoc on your trip.
The key to the bell curve methodology is first to determine how many days away you have planned and then taper-back your activities, meetings, and commitments before your departure date. Consider this example- you are leaving on July 3rd for a ten-day trip to Paris, you’ve been looking forward to this vacation all year long. Your flight will be anywhere from 8-12 hours, depending on your departure point within the United States or elsewhere.
In the 2-3 preceding days (July 1, 2nd ), block out any intense meetings, big projects, last-minute errands, or even non- emergent doctor visits. During these pre-travel days, take it easy, read up on your destination, enjoy some down-time, and try to minimize your workload. In short, clear your calendar as if you were already gone! You might even consider hiring housekeeping services to really take the strain off. Another tip- all your primary packing should be done outside of these couple of days; try packing a week prior to departure. The boxes on your to-do-list should already be checked! Consider setting your email to auto-reply during these couple of days and accept emergency calls only.
Utilizing a smart jet-lag app such as as- Jet Lag Rooster, recommended by the CDC, or Time Shifter, developed by a NASA scientist- can help your body acclimate to a new time zone. Wind down as you wind into your vacation! Remember being overtired, worn out, and stressed can weaken your immune system. So head out the door, well-rested and prepped for an incredible adventure; you deserve it.
Accent Days- Easing Into It
Congratulations, you’ve arrived at your destination, hopefully feeling ready to go! You will likely still be using your jet-lag app a few days into the accent portion of your trip. The best way to beat jet-lag is to get your most comfortable shoes on and take a walk or run in the sunshine. Some road warriors swear by a vigorous run or walk after arriving at their destination. You can scope out some great parks or outdoor spaces nearby in your planning stage to accommodate for this. Keep your athletic shoes and exercise gear easily accessible in your luggage. If it’s closer to evening time, consider hitting the gym followed by a relaxing hot shower. If a gym is not accessible, walking in a secure safe area is also a great plan. You just don’t want to venture into unknown territories when the sun goes down.
The next few days should be filled with fun-filled itineraries and activities, but just don’t overdo it; your body is still adjusting to a new schedule. We recommend taking a food tour in the first few days of your vacation. It’s a great way to get outside, make some friends, and meet the locals. Plus, you can get oriented much quicker to your surroundings and get some insider tips on great restaurants. A key point in this phase of your vacation is not to overdo it! Over planning in these early days can cause you to run out of juice in the coming fun-filled days.
Peak Days Equal Prime Time
It’s time to put the pedal down at this point in the vacation. Long days, lots of activities belong in this space. Usually, day 3-5 if you’re gone for a week. Just remember, try and keep a decent sleep routine while your away. Staying up into the wee hours of the morning will mean you risk a less productive day when the sun comes out. Your likely to be feeling pretty darn good and having the time of your life during this phase of your trips. Skip the shopping during your prime time days; try and see all you can!
Decent The Backside
The days seem to fly by when your traveling. Before you know it, there are just a few days remaining before you depart for home. Enjoy these last few days; a trip to the spa or some shopping might be in order during this winddown phase of your journey. You’ve likely outdone yourself sightseeing and enjoying your well-planned itinerary. Now is the time to just sit back, relax, enjoy some great meals out, fine that last-minute souvenir, and let your feet rest a bit. An excellent activity for the decent portion of your trip is a night tour of the city/location. Plan a memorable experience! Maybe it’s dinner at the Eiffel Tower or an unforgettable experience that is meaningful to you. It’s also time to drag out the suitcase and prep for the trip back home.
Post Arrival Days- Welcome Home
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. The trip has ended, but you don’t want to launch back into chaos and a hectic schedule. Plan a few down days post-arrival before jumping back into your routine. Don’t forget to use your jet-lag app to help your body adjust on your return trip. You will most likely be unpacking, doing laundry, and catching up with work, friends, and family. It’s a great idea to post on social media after your home for security reasons. Give your social media obsession a rest during the trip; you can always share when the vacation clock isn’t ticking.
Many of us experience post-vacation blues; this is the time to start planning for your next great adventure and maybe write a sentence or two in your travel journal, so you don’t forget what was great about your fantastic journey. Hopefully, through strategic planning, you can arrive feeling energized and excited about your vacation. Without a good vacation strategy, you might arrive feeling exhausted and unwell. It’s all down to the design and strategic planning at Couture Trips; let us help you plan your next great adventure.