All entrepreneurs need to take breaks every now and then. Taking a vacation is psychologically beneficial and, for the most part, will relieve the stress you feel and help you come back to work more motivated and focused. It’s also good for your physical health, putting you in a healthier state of mind and affording you more time to take care of your body. Perhaps most importantly, taking a vacation mitigates your risk of career burnout, giving you a break from entrepreneurship—which, even if you love it, is highly demanding.
Ideas for Your Next Vacation
So where is the best place to take your vacation? For entrepreneurs who crave stimulation, excitement, and novelty, these are some of the best options:
- Food festivals. For the entrepreneur used to skipping breakfast and relying on fast food options for lunch, there’s nothing better than a high-quality food festival to satisfy an appetite and relax with friends and family members. Annual local festivals, like Taste of Tacoma (which has been going for 32 years straight) give you an opportunity to sample new cuisine from a multitude of different establishments, while cultural or national festivals could give you the opportunity to try food from a country or location you’ve never even heard of. Food festivals are also great places to meet new people, and if your startup is related to the food industry, you could meet prospective new partners.
- Hiking somewhere new. As an entrepreneur, you probably don’t have much time for exercise either, which is why hiking in a new location can be so invigorating. You’ll get the chance to stretch your legs and earn the cardiovascular benefits of hiking, and enjoy the fresh air that you can only get in the fresh outdoors. If you go somewhere new, whether that’s a national park an hour away or an entirely different country, you’ll give your eyes a break from your computer screen and fill your lungs with the smells of the countryside.
- Staying with locals in a foreign country. If you’re interested in getting out of the country, consider using a service like Couchsurfing to find locals in your destination who’d be willing to accommodate you as a guest. Airbnb is a paid option that may be able to offer you nicer, more professional accommodations, but with Couchsurfing, you’ll be engaging with a community, making new friends, and getting to know a family who probably knows some of the best spots in the area for dining and visiting. It’s a great way to broaden your perspectives on the world, make some international contacts, and get away from your traditional routine.
- Taking a cruise. If you’re tired of planning every detail of your day, or you just don’t have time in your work schedule to actively plan a vacation, consider taking a cruise. Cruises are often inexpensive, and afford you the opportunity to visit multiple locations in a single trip. On top of that, they generally come with all expenses—including room, board, and some entertainment—included. If you’re trying to stay as hands-off as possible and want to avoid the stress of ongoing planning, a cruise may be your best option.
- Staying at home with the family. If you don’t feel like going anywhere, or if money is tight, fear not—you can still get most of the benefits of a vacation by staying home with your friends and family members. The idea is to give yourself a mental break from work, not an entirely new set of work to do, so spend some time doing what you love most. There is, however, one rule you should follow if you take this route (and any of the above ideas, for that matter), turn off your phone. This is a vacation, and any work you do could interfere with your enjoyment of that vacation (not to mention the benefits).
How Often to Go?
Vacationing is clearly beneficial, and you have ample options to choose from, but just how often should you be taking a break from work? Vacation too often, and you’ll set a bad example for your team (and limit your company’s growth potential), but vacation too little, and you’ll drive yourself crazy, sabotaging your own performance.
There’s no clear answer here; it all depends on your personal circumstances. Some studies indicate that eight days, straight, once or twice a year is the ideal vacation length, but you may prefer more frequent, shorter breaks. What’s clear is that your performance and personal health depend on your ability to balance your work and your life, and regular breaks and vacations are vital if you want to succeed in this area.