Some of my trips are relatively last-minute, others are booked more than six months in advance. If you have the luxury of time, here are some of the things to consider when planning an itinerary.

I travel–a lot. This year I’ve spent more time out of the States than in. Through trial and error and advice from other travelers, I’ve picked up tips to make travel easier/more efficient/better. I look forward to sharing some of this advice with you each month.

How to Make Travel More Enjoyable.

1. Planning a trip contributes more to your happiness than taking it. Research tells us the biggest boost in our happiness comes from planning a vacation; after a vacation, happiness quickly drops back to baseline levels. Anticipation, to quote Carly Simon, is the key. What does this mean for you? Try to take more mini-breaks (three-day weekends, one week instead of two), rather than one big long trip every year.

2. Let your real life intrude. Stay connected to those at home. Do a little work on the road. A resulting drop in anxiety is the pay-off.

3. Know that traveling is stressful. We put pressure on ourselves to do a lot in a short amount of time. To the extent you can, try to take more trips, especially to the places you love. Even if you’re on a once-in-a-lifetime journey, don’t worry about making the trip perfect, seeing all of the Top-Ten sites. It’s better to return home longing for more. It might just motivate you to figure out how to make a visit to that place a twice-in-a-lifetime experience.

4. Plan a few unusual or intense experiences. Relaxing is nice, but you’ll get more lingering value out of the trip if you make a few indelible memories.

5. Start your vacation the minute you leave your house. Allow time to have a drink or meal at the airport. (There are some great restaurants in terminals; this app, among others, will help you find them.) Take photos on the plane. Bring a small gift for your traveling companion. And when you return home take a moment before emptying the dirty laundry to celebrate the trip. I always list (and relive a bit) my three favorite moments. Look at all that dirty laundry as talismans of a vacation well-enjoyed.

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