10 Signs It’s Time to Take a Vacation

Whether it's to satisfy your wanderlust, expand your horizons or simply to save your sanity, there are hundreds of reasons to treat yourself to a holiday. These are the signs it's long overdue.

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Take a vacation - family on beach
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It’s time to take a vacation

Sometimes the writing really is on the wall: you need to escape! Consider it part of your health and wellness plan, says Esther Kane, a clinical counsellor based in Victoria, B.C.

“So many of us are overworked, overtired, and overstressed by all of our life obligations. A vacation can be a time to rest, relax, meditate, play, and recharge our physical and emotional batteries,” she says.

Wondering if you’re overdue? Here are 10 signs it’s time to take a vacation, along with our suggestions of where to go.

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Take a vacation - couple at spa retreat
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Working overtime is your life

All work and no play is the surest route to burnout. If long hours are part of your job and you’re not willing to find different work, book off some vacation days.

“Vacations give us something to look forward to when the daily drudgeries of life are weighing us down,” says Kane. Keeping your eye on the prize provides you with “a pleasant thing to focus on and feel positive about,” she says.

Where to take a vacation:

  • Rest up at a destination spa.
  • Recharge your batteries on an endorphin-filled whitewater rafting, surfing or skiing vacation.
  • Revive your creativity at an arts retreat.

Discover the world’s most romantic destinations.

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Take a vacation - Las Vegas
Photo: marchello74 / Shutterstock.com

You’re nursing a broken heart

Only time can mend a broken heart, but spending time with your best buds may speed things along. Plan a girlfriends’ getaway or guys’ weekend, stat!

Where to take a vacation:

  • Rest by the pool at a hot see-and-be-seen LA boutique hotel.
  • Recharge on a power-shopping trip or casino weekend.
  • Revive your mojo at a non-stop party hotspot.

Avoid making these mistakes when booking your next vacation online.

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Yoga on beach
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You’re in a health rut

While it’s possible to kick bad habits like smoking, over-eating or over-drinking at home, a trip abroad may make it a bit easier, says Kane. “On a vacation with healthy lifestyle habits at the centre, you’re literally forced to focus on self-care and self-improvement in a way which would prove impossible at home,” she explains.

That said, be prepared to maintain these new habits back home.

“It’s not enough to take care of your health on the rare occasion you can go on vacation: use vacations to kick-start a healthier lifestyle which is sustainable on a daily basis when you get back home,” says Kane.

Where to take a vacation:

  • Rest a harried mind at a yoga retreat.
  • Recharge energy levels by the sea.
  • Revive yourself with an Outward Bound-style challenge.
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Take a vacation - woman on a wilderness hike
Photo: Bogdan Sonjachnyj / Shutterstock.com

You’d give anything for a moment of silence

Chase what’s golden on a solo getaway—and turn off your phone.

Where to take a vacation:

  • Rest your mind on a silent retreat.
  • Recharge your soul hiking a provincial or national park. (Explore the world’s best hikes.)
  • Revive your other senses in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.
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Couple scuba diving
Photo: Olena Gaidarzhy / Shutterstock.com

You’ve been on auto-pilot for years

Same-old, same-old has a way of making us feel, well… Old. But it’s never too late to build the life you really want to live. Start with a vacation.

“Getting away gives you the wonderful gift of perspective, and the ability to see the bigger picture, allowing you to reassess your life and see what changes you’d like to make in order to be happier,” says Kane.

Where to take a vacation:

  • Rest a busy mind by doing something that requires 100% concentration, like learning stand-up paddle-boarding, or scuba diving.
  • Recharge by living in the moment, for five days in a tropical paradise. The sixth and seventh days, brainstorm about how you want to spend the rest of your life.
  • Revive your individuality by trying something out-there like a tour of the world’s spookiest vampire haunts.
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West Edmonton Mall water park
Photo: Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com

Your kids think a “vacation” is a trip to the mall

Break sedentary habits and short attention spans with a full-throttle, high-energy trip they’ll be talking about for years afterwards.

Where to take a vacation:

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Two old friends walking through cornfield
Photo: BalanceFormCreative / Shutterstock.com

It’s been 10 years since you’ve been home

Go back and see what’s new…and what hasn’t changed a bit!

Where to take a vacation:

  • Rest your head in your childhood home (or a nearby hotel).
  • Recharge your community: make a donation to a local library or school.
  • Revive old friendships by catching up with childhood friends.

Extend your homecoming by making it a pit stop on one of these great Canadian road trips.

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Take a vacation - couple on beach
Photo: KonstantinChristian / Shutterstock.com

Your skin tone never changes

Even with SPF, vacationers pick up colour. If it’s been years since anyone said, “Great tan!” consider yourself overdue for a getaway—SPF and sun-hat in tow, of course!

Where to take a vacation:

  • Rest on a lounger with a good gossip rag.
  • Recharge after siesta, with a late-afternoon snorkeling session.
  • Revive a tired complexion by going for the (healthy) glow at a healing detox retreat.

Here’s the best Caribbean beach for every type of traveller.

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Chef cooking demonstration
Photo: David Tadevosian / Shutterstock.com

You’ve got no skills left to improve

Challenging ourselves to tackle new tasks keeps our bodies and minds agile. If you’re an expert at everything and a newbie at nothing, it’s time to move outside your comfort zone. Travel is renowned for providing that opportunity for growth.

Where to take a vacation:

  • Rest your body while challenging your brain, by learning a new language abroad.
  • Recharge your physique with a full-immersion training retreat: surf camp, yoga retreat, or muy Thai, for example.
  • Revive yourself and others with a healing art: take on massage-therapy, or a cooking course, for example.

Discover the world’s best destinations for foodies.

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Mature couple playing golf
Photo: Aleksandar Malivuk / Shutterstock.com

You’ve made no time for quality-time

“Many couples are so busy getting the job of living done—work, running a household, childcare, etc.—that the health of the relationship often gets neglected. Every couple, whether parenting or not, needs ‘couple time.’ In this age of endless work and task-minding, couples need to consciously carve this out, on a regular and consistent basis,” says Kane.

Where to take a vacation:

Next, check out 50 London attractions you must see before you die.

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