How to choose the perfect holiday destination to relax and recharge

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

Choosing a summer holiday which gives you the chance to see something new could help you come back feeling refreshed.

When it gets to vacation, time many of us just want to relax quietly on a beach after working hard all year.

But according to Xinran Lehto, a wellness tourism expert at Purdue University in Indiana, this may not be the best way to come back feeling refreshed.

According to Lehto’s research, holiday-goers should look at other factors when booking their summer getaway if they want to recharge mentally and physically.

So if you’re currently deciding on this year’s vacation then read on for some of Lehto’s tips on how to choose a destination that will give you the most rest and relaxation.

Choose somewhere that fascinates you

“A very fatigued person, a very tired person, really should go to a place that provides fascination instead of a place that’s already set in stone in their minds,” says Lehto.

AFP/File / Aris Messinis<br />The ancient Greek Parthenon temple, atop the Acropolis hill overlooking Athens, is framed by a lightning bolt during a thunderstorm that broke out in the Greek capital in 2006

AFP/File / Aris Messinis
The ancient Greek Parthenon temple, atop the Acropolis hill overlooking Athens, is framed by a lightning bolt during a thunderstorm that broke out in the Greek capital in 2006

“Once you are attracted to a particular scene, you rest what we call your directed attention — the kind of focused mental energy that you need on a daily basis in order to function well for work and study — and activate your indirect attention, which is being drawn to things that make you a being of thought,” he explains.

Lehto suggests choosing somewhere that offers environments and activities that pique your imagination and curiosity without requiring you to exert the mental energy that you use in your everyday life.

Keep things varied

“Lying on the beach for many, many days is not the best way to recharge yourself,” Lehto said. “After a while you get bored and anxious, then you start thinking about work and things at home you need to do. That’s not healthy for you.”

Instead, your destination should have a variety of interests and activities to engage you on your holiday.

Yoga on the beach. Picture: Shutterstock

Go for compatibility

“It would be optimal if you go to a place where you are at ease and you feel compatible, so you don’t exert energy feeling anxious or having intensity of cognition,” says Lehto.

He also says that the place you choose to stay in, for example your chosen resort, should be compatible with the natural environment and the cultural environment around it.

“You are in harmony with the setting; and the activities, the services they provide are in harmony with the setting; and the chance for you to feel recharged is better,” explains Lehto.

The Emerald Resort and Casino

The Emerald Resort and Casino

Really get away from it all

Lehto also says that choosing somewhere that offers ‘awayness’ can really help you relax. Look for a location that gives you the feeling that you are physically and mentally far away from your everyday life, for example somewhere which has a different climate or culture, an interesting landscape, and unique sounds and smells. These will all help create a contrast from your ‘everydayness’.

However, Lehto adds that “mental awayness is much harder because of our connection with technology, but it is important to effectively recover from mental fatigue”.

“That psychological distance between your usual routine or ongoing pursuit of activities and purposes is needed for you to feel renewed. When you have a break, have a real break,” he advises.

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