College Student Life | Texas A&M University

13 Ways to Redo Your Vacation To Do List

Everyone knows busy. Many of us live by our planners and to do lists. Between chem homework, English papers, career fairs, part time jobs, and student organizations, what really needs to be scheduled in is time to breathe. Sometimes that busy mentality transfers to vacation time, but it shouldn’t. So here’s your new and improved vacation to do list:

1. Snap a pic of your drink to fit the scenery.

sangria-ct-2 image

Photo by Denisse Rodriguez

Looks good. Tastes good. Yep, its instaworthy.

2. Don’t be content to be comfortable.

elephant-ct-2 image

Photo by Jordan Denniston

Try something new. You didn’t travel to a new location so you could do the same old things. Try the exotic dish. Learn the local dance. Challenge yourself to get outside of your comfort zone, especially if it scares you.

3. Give yourself a break.

So you had a gelato for breakfast. And lunch. And dessert… and you didn’t work out today. Whatever. Worry about it next week in the real world, right now you’re on vacation.


(Image credit to Roslyn Kent)

4. Learn something about the city you’re staying in.


Don’t be content to drink your piña colada and bask in the sun. Take a small portion of your day to learn a word in the local language or read the local news. Have a conversation with a native. You’ll come back a tanner, more well-rounded person and your piña colada will taste all the sweeter for it

5. Laugh at the missed train.


Or bus. Or cab. Hopefully not your plane. Mishaps are inevitable when it comes to transportation in a new city, so don’t let it get to you! The best response is to laugh it off and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

6. Take the touristy photo.


Photo by Alex Brookhart

Maybe you’re still under the impression that you won’t be spotted as a tourist. Odds are, you’re not fooling anybody. But when it comes to looking back on your trip, are you going to care about getting the side-eye or be glad you got the Insta perfect photo?

More:  A College Tourist’s Guide to Open Air Markets

7. Try to fit in.


Accepting the role of a tourist is freeing, but don’t miss out on the opportunities around you to embrace a culture or a language. Ride the subway like a New Yorker. Eat your sushi with chopsticks. If you make an effort with the locals it will enrich the experience for everyone.

8. Make friends with the people around you.


Some of the best memories come from people you meet along the way; it could be the random New Yorker in your train compartment that makes the 10 hour ride bearable. Or the friendly wait staff at a restaurant you frequent 3 times in your 2 day stay. Sometimes it’s the most unlikely of friendships that become the most treasured. So even if you love your traveling companions, don’t close yourself off to the people around you.

9. Go out and experience the nightlife.


Photo by Brooke Stafford

Each city has a night scene uniquely its own. Maybe it’s not your thing and maybe you already walked a dozen miles that day, but no stay in a city would be complete without going out at least once.  

10. But don’t feel bad about staying in.


(Image credit Julia Capano)

You tried the local nightlife scene, and now you’re done. That’s fine! Don’t feel like your vacation has to consist of dancing until sunrise if you’re not into that. Grab a glass of wine or a cup of tea in a cozy location and relive the day’s adventures. Then go to bed early so you can be ready to walk another dozen miles tomorrow.

11. Don’t be afraid to change your plans.


It doesn’t matter that you had your schedule mapped out down to the last second, if you come across a free concert in the plaza stay and check it out. Be open to suggestions from hostels and tour guides, but most importantly don’t be so set on the way you think your vacation has to go that you miss what it could be.

12. Keep a journal.

You’ll want to remember what you had for dinner in that Parisian cafe and how you butchered French with the waiter. And the way it felt to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle for the first time. It’s inevitable that some of the details of your trip will slip away; journaling makes sure to save those details while giving you an opportunity to process everything that you’ve experienced.

13. Finally, enjoy yourself.


The most obvious task is also the most important: HAVE FUN.

13 Ways to Redo Your Vacation To Do List

Kelli Meyer

Texas A&M University | 8 stories

Howdy, I'm a junior international politics major at Texas A&M University. I have loved traveling since I first went to Africa for a mission trip when I was 15. I spent this past summer interning with a nonprofit in the south of Spain, and this coming spring I will be spending my semester in China. I'm psyched to share some of my adventures and perspectives through College Tourist.

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