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Going on holiday can sometimes be more stressful than staying put.  There’s all the planning, the packing, tying up loose ends before leaving the home, travelling and anxieties of being in a new place.   And of course, there’s the cost of it all.
But holidays aren’t always about the money side of things.Holidays can take their toll on family relationships and on a person’s own emotional health.The expectation of a holiday is generally that it will be a time to relax and recharge, but it doesn’t always happen that way.
The economic uncertainty has forced many people into taking shorter, domestic holidays where budgets are under close scrutiny.This puts added strain on stressed-out holidaymakers.
How do you have a perfect holiday?Follow these simple suggestions for a holiday to remember (for the right reasons !)!
* Plan, plan, plan.The more you plan – the better for everyone. 
* Make sure the holiday matches your needs.  If your family has had a stressful year, perhaps a ‘kick back and do nothing’ beach holiday is preferable to a whistle stop tour of all the major European capitals.  Full itineraries can exacerbate stress levels.
• Consider accommodation options.  Sometimes serviced apartments can be a better option than a hotel because they offer flexibility, independence and space – all good aspects for holidays – especially where energetic children are involved!
* Make a ‘holiday box’ a couple of weeks before you go on holiday.Keep a box in a handy, visible place in the home.  Everytime you think of something you need on holiday, put it in the box (eg. Video cameras, phone chargers, maps, directions, tickets etc).This prevents the last minute rush.
* Organise your home.Ask a friend or a neighbour to keep an eye on your property, empty your postbox and keep your garden watered. Suspend all newspaper and magazine subscriptions, suspend memberships such as gym contracts etc and ensure bills are paid.Leave some prepared meals in the freezer.
* Have copies made of all important documents and keep them in your carry on luggage.If your passports, tickets, credit cards, travellers cheques etc. get stolen or lost, you will have a back up.
* Make the holiday as long as possible.It takes time to unwind, and you’re far more likely to destress and recharge during a longer holiday.
• Check your insurance.It’s important to read the small print to ensure all your needs are covered (medical, luggage etc).
• Pack some medical necessities eg. bandaids, antiseptic lotion, antihistamine tablets and nausea medicine.These can be tricky to find (and expensive to buy) in a foreign place – especially if you need them after hours.
* Have a back-up plan in place – particularly if kids are involved.  If the activity that you planned for the day doesn’t work out, either due to the weather or other circumstances, try and have a fall-back position in place.  This will help ease tension.
* Hide away a few ‘surprises’.If you have younger children, keep some simple distractions as a backstop. paper, crayons, activity books, DVDs etc that can rescue any ‘rainy day’ situation.
* Be flexible.  Not everything has to be done together.One parent may want to take a child to the movies whilst the other parent or carer could go to the beach – quality time is had by all.
Money issues can cause considerable tension during vacations, says Simon Barker, who owns and runs several Fremantle apartments.”People who opt for self-catering apartments can manage their costs very effectively.  They’re not forced to eat in restaurants all the time and can prepare their own meals and snacks in their own time.  They also have considerably more space to move around or relax in, so people aren’t under pressure to seek costly entertainment.After all, we should be counting the benefits of the hoilday, not the cost.”

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