13 Things You Only Do When You’re On Vacation

See recent posts by Toby Orton

Guests relaxing at the pool at the W South Beach.
Guests relaxing at the pool at the W South Beach.

Most of us don’t get to take a whole lot of
time off during the year. (In fact, you can check out the best and worst places to live
as far as vacation days goes at The Guardian.) So we all have an excuse for why things
tend to get a little crazy on vacation. As the tension drains, we’re still
ourselves, just...different. The holiday "you" will do all kinds of things that
the regular, nine-to-five, workaday you would not -- which is okay, because
you’re on vacation! When you’re on vacation it’s time to get out your comfort
zone, fly your freak flag and live a little -- and if that means donning socks
with sandals, making new "vacation" buddies, and taking a zillion photos -- then so be
it. Accept that there are some things you only do when you’re on vacation, like these 13.

Hotels in this story

1. Make New Best Friends

It’s nice to make new friends and it seems
like finding a new BFF is never easier than when you’re on vacation. All it
takes is sharing the same elevator and then bumping into each other at breakfast; next thing you know, you’re already making plans to meet up after vacation. Sadly,
only six percent of holiday friendships last longer than a month.

2. Lose All Understanding of the Value of Your Currency

Whether or not you’re a frequent traveler,
getting to grips with foreign currency never gets any easier it seems. And when we say
‘”getting to grips,” we mean remembering that you’ve traded your real, hard-earned cash for fake-looking, vacation “play money” in a foreign currency that seems to run out
quicker than it should.    

3. Use the Restroom All the Time (Or Not At All)

Leave your regular daily routine behind and
even those with the most reliable bladders include structured bathroom breaks as part of the itinerary. This applies particularly to family vacations or urban getaways, where walking through a foreign metropolis seems to have the power
to shift a person’s internal waterworks way off kilter. 

Or the reverse can happen: see #4.

4. Fear Being Robbed

Even those of us who live in the world’s
biggest and busiest (and most dangerous) cities tend to change up our security routine when on
vacation. We like to believe that as soon as we leave our own town, the
likelihood of being targeted by pickpockets grows exponentially
. One day you’re
strolling through Manhattan with your wallet casually tucked into your back
pocket, the next you’re smuggling your money on a body belt beneath two layers
on the Paris Metro. Paranoid? Possibly. But, better to be safe than sorry. 

5. Tip…and Enjoy It

In Europe, tipping is primarily reserved for restaurants and taxis and
even then, it’s not a particularly common practice. Which is just one more glorious quirk about a
trip to the U.S. for some foreign tourists. Leaving a dollar per drink at the bar or
slapping a five into the hand of the doorman who waved down your cab is a genuine
holiday buzz. Giving away money never felt as fun as it does when you’re on a getaway, and the same goes for U.S. travelers, too. And while we’re on the subject, here’s how to tip like a boss on vacation.

6. Photograph Everything

While you’re attempting to capture the
magic of the Bean in Chicago from every imaginable angle, your vacation time is
slipping away. But while we’d love to tell you to put that camera away and let
your eyes capture the wonders of wherever you are (Jamaica, perhaps?), we
can’t — because who doesn’t love overdoing it on the getaway snaps? Besides, the
more you take, the longer your post-vacation slideshow will last. 

7. Drink All Day

The great thing about being on vacation is
that you can tell yourself “it’s five o’ clock somewhere” and potentially be
referring to the home you just left behind. Which is as good an excuse as any
for drinking with breakfast. And lunch. And dinner…And in between.  

8. Go Instagram Crazy

You may generally live by your own personal
Instagram maxim of two posts per day but as soon as you touch down in paradise — we’re dreaming about Sydney, Australia this time — that carefully curated account is about to
be flooded in a flurry of photos. Don’t panic, keep posting — you’re on

9. Dress Like a Tourist

Thought you’d never rock the tourist look on vacation? Think again. However stylish you may be, sometimes
functionality has to come first. If that means slipping socks under those
sandals to keep them from rubbing, backpacks to stow your spare rain jacket, “sensible” (read: unfashionable) fleeces, fanny packs, and questionable headwear, then, hey, embrace
the look. If it feels good, it looks good, right? Right?!

10. Buy Absurdly Indulgent Local Goods and Souvenirs

Fridge magnets from Cancun, handmade silk kimonos
from Tokyo, gondolier’s hats from Venice, 100% alpaca wool blankets from
Santiago…whether it’s useless knick-knacks or absurdly expensive luxury, when we’re on
vacation, we’ll probably buy it. And there’s nothing we can do to change that.

11. Make Breakfast the Biggest Meal of the Day

When breakfast is included with your hotel
room, the unwritten rule of vacationing says you must make it count. As you
pile up your plate, you tell yourself that this early morning force-feeding
means saving money on lunch. Here’s a look at some of our favorite hotel breakfasts.

12. Spend Way Too Much Money

While we always seem to spend way more
money on vacation than we intend to, there is a case to be made for it not being such a bad thing. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic argues that spending money memories and “buying brief experiences on
vacation” makes us much happier in the long run than surrounding ourselves with stuff. 

13. Enjoy the Sound of Your Alarm

Is there any other sustained period of time
in life when you can truly enjoy the sound of your alarm going off quite as
much as when you’re on vacation? Didn’t think so.   

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