33 Ways To Make Your Vacation Last Forever

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33 Ways To Make Your Vacation Last Forever

Words by Mr Tom M Ford

21 August 2023

Instagram is absolutely saturated with sepia-tinged snapshots of our holidays for good reason. That two-week escape to Deià, or the long weekend in the Lakes is, quite simply, when we are living our best life. The strangely formal OOO has been set. We’ve got time to do things we actually enjoy. Our skin has a god-level glow. And we are eating like kings. Bliss. Until, that is, the anxiety-ridden penultimate day of the trip – when Real Life looms.

But what if our return home wasn’t such a crash landing? What if we could make our nine-to-five a little bit more like San Sebastián 2023? With this in mind, we asked a whole host of experts how to take healthy holiday habits into our everyday so we might bask in the sunshine that little bit longer.


Dress like no one is watching

“On holiday, we dress with fewer inhibitions due to the reduced possibility of bumping into people we know,” says Ms Shakaila Forbes-Bell, founder of Fashion Is Psychology and author of the best-selling book Big Dress Energy. “Dressing outside of the norm can double as a form of escapism, so continue to release yourself from the shackles of your typical work wardrobe.”


Do things for their own sake

“Holidays are a rare exception to the standard approach of doing things in order to ‘get them out of the way’ – a mindset that tends to postpone all the value of life to some future point,” says Mr Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management For Mortals. “When you’re hiking up a mountain, you’re doing it for the experience alone. Consider making time in your week for some activity that has no benefit except in the experience of doing it.”


Turn your home into a B&B (sort of)

“My partner and I made a guidebook to our local area for houseguests, as if we run an Airbnb,” says Mr Jeremy Atherton, who is currently writing his second book, Deep House. “Viewing home through the eyes of a visitor is a cute reminder of the reasons we live where we do.”


Do what feels right

“On holiday, we’re far more likely to do what we want, instead of what we think we must,” Burkeman says. “But it can be a revelation to ask, in the middle of an ordinary workday, what you’d like to do. Instead of constantly trying to squelch your impulses, you’ll be harnessing them.”

“Consider making time in your week for some activity that has no benefit except in the experience of doing it”


Sleep more

“Sleep,” says Ms Sophy Roberts, host of a podcast about the art of travel, Gone To Timbuktu. “I learn how important it is on holiday, and I abuse it every day at home. I know when I’ve forgotten what I’ve learnt because I need to go on holiday again…”


Be realistic

“The habit you form on holiday has begun under the most ideal circumstances and to continue the habit at home you need to be able to ‘survive’ the loss of the ideal,” says Mr Mark Vahrmeyer, a UKCP-accredited psychotherapist from Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy. “The challenge therefore is to be able to allow the experience of practicing the habit to go from being ‘perfect’ to ‘good enough’. The mental, emotional and physical benefits you felt on holiday will not change.”


Don’t yuck someone’s yum

“Do your best to eat the local delicacies that you come across on a trip,” says Ms Angela Hui, the author of Takeaway: Stories From A Childhood Behind The Counter. “If it’s not to your liking, it doesn’t mean that it’s ‘disgusting’, ‘smelly’ or ‘weird’. It’s important to acknowledge the people that put the effort into feeding you. Back home – ask for recommendations (from Uber drivers and corner-shop owners, for example). Be open to seeking out new restaurants in different communities in your area.”


Make time for yoga

“Some yoga retreats invite you to do up to eight hours a day,” says Mr James Murphy, a level 4 yoga teacher at Iyengar Yoga. “I think that’s hard to replicate. So, make time for a small morning and afternoon session. When you wake, even if it’s just 15 minutes before you eat or look at a screen, do a rigorous activity – some sun salutations or jumps, for example. In the afternoon after work, put your legs up the wall or over a bolster and open up your chest. Observe your breath. This will alleviate the stress of the day.”

“We tend to be more open to people around us when we’re abroad... Keep that sense of openness alive beyond your trip”


Create meaningful connections

“We tend to be more open to people around us when we’re abroad,” says Mr Lee Thompson, cofounder of adventure travel company Flash Pack. “Think of the stranger that you randomly start chatting to on a train trip through the Sapa Hills of Vietnam, or that local you hit it off with on a wine tour in Portugal’s Douro Valley. Keep that sense of openness alive beyond your trip. Try new things and meet people. We forget how life-affirming passing connections and new friendships can be.”


Use SPF every day

“Applying sunscreen is second nature to us while on holiday,” says Mr Lee Kynaston, an award-winning grooming expert. “But since the sun can damage skin even on cloudy days in winter, it’s worth extending protection to 365 days a year. Wearing sunscreen daily is the best way to slow the onset of fine lines, wrinkles and uneven pigmentation. Opt for one offering a minimum SPF of 15 and make sure they offer protection against both UVB and the UVA rays.”


Shop slow

“I’m in favour of doing errands the continental way,” Atherton says. “Greengrocer, bakery, wine shop, rather than a supermarket haul. More expensive, maybe, but can you put a price tag on the fresh air and strolling? And procrastinating?”


Keep a healthy distance from social media

“Discovering the scheduling functionality before a long vacation was a godsend,” says talent executive Mr James Hudson. “I then got into the habit of ‘batch’ producing content when I was at my most creative, and then scheduling the content to go live up to two weeks in advance. This way, I’m still ‘part of the conversation’, even when I am absent from the apps and nurturing my own mental health.”


Eat better

“Away from the UK, you’re immersed in a traditionally healthier food culture, and often by a coast, where you consume more fresh fruit and vegetables, unsaturated fats, seafood,” says Mr Jamie Millar, a health and fitness writer. “All of these things are available (most of the time) in the UK, albeit not as fresh. We recently came back from a holiday in Greece, which last weekend inspired me to make a big fat Greek salad: tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, olives and feta, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and dusted with oregano.”


Do one thing at a time

“We maintain the illusion of multitasking by switching attention rapidly between tasks, making us less efficient,” Burkeman says. “The sense of time abundance on holiday makes it easier to, for example, enjoy a meal and then read something interesting, or spend time playing with the kids then go for a swim, because you’re confident there’ll be time. In daily life, it feels like you can’t afford to live in sequence like this. But you can, and you’ll get more things done.”


Understand cultures through food

“Do your best to research any dining etiquette to avoid any faux pas when dining out with others on a trip,” Hui says. “For example, in Chinese culture, you never stab chopsticks vertically into your bowl (it signifies death),” she says. “Carry this on back home. Call out people, stand up for others who don’t have the voice or platform to, and respectfully educate others.”


Walk it out

“If your habit was to go for a half-hour walk every evening on holiday, then this is something you can commit to doing at home,” Vahrmeyer says. “Use the time to both remember your experiences on holiday, as well as get curious about planning your next holiday where walking is perhaps a more significant feature.”


Maintain your comfort

“Holiday clothes tend to be more comfortable than our regular daily wear,” Forbes-Bell says. “We should absolutely maintain this style when our holidays end. Comfortable styles have been found to positively impact our cognition, helping us to think clearly and perform better.”


Make a plan

“Planning how you can ‘transfer’ your new habit into your regular life can be very beneficial,” Vahrmeyer says. “If a morning swim in the sea is what has brought about the change that you wish to hold onto, then consider how you may incorporate a regular swim into your routine at home. Sure, the local leisure centre pool is not as appealing as the warm Aegean. However, you can still emerge from that pool with similar mental and physical benefits. A habit can be reinforced by the positive memories of the holiday that inspired it.”


Notice (and note down) more

“I have scores of notepads,” Roberts says. “Journals of my travels, which are much more than a journalistic record of quotes and interviews, but puzzling details I pick up on the road. It’s advice that originally came from Doctor Dolittle. The doctor tells the parrot, Polynesia, that it’s important to be ‘a good noticer’ of things. Only a good noticer will make the account of his voyage interesting. That goes for everyday life, too.”

“It’s important to be ‘a good noticer’ of things. Only a good noticer will make the account of his voyage interesting. That goes for everyday life, too”


Do nothing

“It’s been ingrained into me to constantly be busy, and it’s taken a lot to break those behaviours,” Hudson says. “I’ll often spend hours staring into the middle distance on the beach doing nothing at all, and it’s so good for the soul. At home, I try really hard to not feel guilty when my downtime isn’t ‘productive’ – sometimes, the best weekends are spent almost entirely on the sofa.”


Keep accessorising

“Our accessories tend to take centre stage on holiday,” Forbes-Bell says. “Especially our sunglasses and jewellery. Accessories tend to be more personal and symbolic and are an excellent way for us to inject more personality into our everyday outfits.”


Remain playful

“On holiday, we play games instead of watching television, and really we’re perfectly capable of doing this any evening,” Atherton says. “My favourite is Bananagrams. The way to win is to constantly rearrange and start again; for an author who is all about the rewrites, it actually feels like intellectual muscle-building. And I do enjoy this with an aperitivo.”


Streamline your grooming products

“Nothing focusses a man’s mind on what grooming gear he needs like holiday packing,” Kynaston says. “If you can survive two weeks without something, you can survive without it full stop. Eliminating unnecessary products won’t just save space in your bathroom, it’ll reduce your plastic usage as well. Opt for multifunctional products where possible.”

“If you can survive two weeks without something, you can survive without it full stop”


Holiday boundaries forever

“I’ve been in California so long that ‘setting a boundary’ no longer sounds strange to me, and I fully embrace it,” Hudson says. “My teams and stakeholders are all super clear that when I am on vacation, I don’t check email. If they urgently need my advice, they flag an email and send me a text telling me to look for it. Same goes for weekends when I’m home.”


Open your eyes

“When you’re on a trip, you see the world differently,” Murphy says. “Take some of that back – look at things differently. See those things with a fresh eye. Keep that fresh open mind you get from travel. Open up possibilities, new ways of seeing, hearing, tasting things.”


Ditch the phone

“My wife and I used to go on holiday every year to the same villa in Spain, where I got in the habit of putting my phone in a bedside drawer after my alarm went off and only taking it out if I came back into the room,” Millar says. “That helped me to relax and read books – both things that I otherwise struggled to do in the course of everyday life. Now I try to leave my phone in another room when I’m working or hanging out with my kids.”


Take it easy

“Siesta!” says Atherton. “A holiday treat – but also the prerogative of the work-from-homer. I do it guilt-free.”


Think on your feet

“A lot of guys I know only ever think about footcare when a holiday’s imminent and they know their toes will be on show,” Kynaston says. “Feet benefit from regular maintenance. Continue your footcare post-vacation by using an exfoliator on your feet twice a week to help keep dead skin at bay. A face or body scrub is perfect for this. Follow up with a little face or body moisturiser.”


Tune into the free-spirit you

“Minus the stress cues of ordinary life, it’s easier to get out of your head and dial down,” Thompson says. “Even if what you’re actually doing is quite challenging, like canyoning down a remote riverbed valley. But that division of ‘work = stress’ and ‘holiday = fun’ isn’t necessary. Try rebranding normal life challenges as adventures while ensuring your work life is sustainable enough – with plenty of breaks, finishing on time, etc.”

“The most important learning comes from experiencing the world at a different pace. It gives space for reverence, for mutual understanding”


Bring mealtime etiquette home with you

“On holiday, you can carve out time for magical, candlelit dinners,” Thompson says. “Or you get to really savour local flavours – whether that’s Turkish vine leaves with lokma honey balls or fresh Sri Lankan calamari. It encourages you to slow down and focus on conversations. At home, try eating outdoors a few evenings a week, swap the TV glow for a handful of tea lights or have a whirl at a few new recipes you discovered abroad.”


Change your pace

“The most important learning comes from experiencing the world at a different pace,” Roberts says. “That gentle art of getting to know what’s unfamiliar gives space for reverence, for mutual understanding. It reminds us of what is precious – in the natural world, too. We should remember this in the heat of getting through a day where the deluge overwhelms us.”


Carry on manscaping

“If you only trimmed back the body hair and tidied up your trunkline in readiness for the beach, keep going,” Kynaston says. “Trimming armpits, etc, robs odour-causing bacteria of a home – it will also allow your deodorant to reach skin where it can do the most good. Meanwhile, a hair-free chest will help T-shirts sit against the skin properly, creating a smoother line.”


Mix up your exercise

“Holiday is an excuse to mix up your exercise routine in a way that you should probably maintain at home,” Millar says. “Maybe you don’t have access to weights, so you do bodyweight exercises with more emphasis on mobility and motor control. The human body fares best with a variety of movement. But in the quest to hit our goals, or avoid what we don’t like, a lot of us overly repeat certain patterns and completely neglect others, which isn’t healthy.”

Holiday mode