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The Art of Doing Nothing - The Best Ways to Relax While on Vacation

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

"How are you doing?" said the older man.

"Great, it doesn't get much better than this," I replied.

"You got that right. I just had a friend call me and ask what I was doing, and I told him, 'Nothing!' Then he asked me, 'How can you do nothing?'"

He continued, "I mean, that's a dumb question; when you're here, you just lay on the beach, get a cold drink and enjoy the view!"

"Well, there is an art to doing nothing. Enjoy your day!" I said as he continued by.

This exchange took place on the beach at the Seven Stars Resort & Spa on Grace Bay in Providenciales (referred to as Provo by the locals), Turks & Caicos, on our recent trip celebrating our birthdays and anniversary. We planned a sunset cruise that evening but were content enjoying the pool and the beach for the day, in and out of the sun in perfect intervals. My wife and I have a lot of things we enjoy doing while on vacation, and downtime, or doing nothing, is usually one that has to get inserted into the schedule.

As with many couples, opposites attract, and we aren't an exception to this rule. My wife's vacation style as a travel advisor is to try and get in as much as possible when in a destination so she can adequately advise her clients. I agree with this methodology, but working six or seven days a week and putting in long hours usually, has me looking forward to relaxing and recharging on vacation vs. going from sun up to sun down. How do we accomplish this? Compromise and, at times, a plan to do nothing.

Travel, as great as it is, can come with many challenges, from missed flights, late transfers, weather issues, etc. You can hit your vacation with the best plans, but it's always good to bring patience and the ability to recover any canceled plans or excursions. One of the things we do to accomplish this is plan downtime. We've been implementing this practice on vacations since our kids were little, and we experienced how hard it can be to run full steam through Disneyworld; on them and us! Candius likes to tell me I can sleep when I die, but I'm sure to let her know I don't want to pass on vacation; after all, what fun would that be?

For us, travel days are usually ones that we refrain from planning extra activities, as the travel can be an excursion in and of itself. Depending on the destination and your accommodations, it's also a good practice to experience what your hotel or resort offers; you can only do that if you're there. Here are five things we do to plan on doing nothing:

  1. Plan a massage or spa treatment upon arrival at your destination, depending on availability and arrival time. Then don't do anything after to help jumpstart your relaxed state and get into the vacationing mindset.

  2. Plan blocks of pool, beach, or relaxation time to allow those in the party who needs the rest to feel like they have ample time to decompress. Just be sure to be present in your relaxation time and not on your phone, checking emails, or social media.

  3. Only plan one excursion or activity a day. If it's a full-day tour or excursion, arrange the next day as an in-resort day. Doing so allows for a good balance of uptime vs. downtime.

  4. If you live different schedules, allow the other person to enjoy their time for relaxation. For example, I like getting up early and grabbing the first morning light for sunrise photography, while my wife likes to sleep. I'm sure to pull everything I need aside the night before so I can quietly slip out of the door so as not to disturb her and allow us our quiet time.

  5. It's okay to plan things apart while on vacation together. If I want to photograph a particular sight or destination while Candius hits the spa, that's okay. We've done this several times, and it helps us feel like we're both getting the vacation we want.

I hope you're able to plan a trip or dream destination soon, and when you do, please remember to plan on doing nothing, at least for a short while.

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