Whether you realize it or not, vacation can play a big role in your overall well-being. Research increasingly shows people who take vacation are healthier and happier than those who do not. It can help recharge your creativity, problem solving skills and stamina at work. Up to 75 percent of Americans do not use all their vacation time; most use only half. If you’re in that 75 percent, commit to taking your vacation time this year and then take a look at these tips to help you get the most out of your time away.

Make Quantity A Priority
The euphoria we experience around vacationing is relatively short-lived. Making time for shorter breaks on a regular basis gives you more opportunities to experience vacation bliss. According to recent studies, the length of vacation has little to do with happiness during or after the time away. Happiness related to vacation is more dependent upon the anticipation and activities you choose. This being said, don’t second guess the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime amazing month in Tuscany, but keep in mind much smaller vacations are beneficial and can be just as joyful

Choose Your Vacation For You
As you think about taking a vacation, be committed to selecting a location that reflects your desires. It’s not uncommon for our work lives to consist of fulfilling challenging obligations that are sometimes not enjoyable. Your vacation should be an opportunity to recharge by doing things you enjoy. Too often vacation choices can be subject to social pressures. There is nothing wrong with compromise, but don’t lose sight of your needs and desires.

Make A Plan
Your location is set, now you need a plan. Having a plan is twofold; anticipation of good things brings us happiness and having an agenda means you can sit back and enjoy your holiday as it unfolds around you. In fact, 90 percent of people say the happiest vacations are planned at least a month in advance. Spend some time cruising web sites related to your destination. You’ll have the excitement of looking forward to an adventure and the comfort of knowing you’ve set aside time to enjoy it.

Enjoy the Journey
Getting to your destination is often an event in and of itself. Instead of viewing your travel plan as a hurdle to leap before then fun can begin, try incorporating the travel into your vacation mentality. Load content onto your devices you have been looking forward to reading or watching. Consider enjoying time at a restaurant while awaiting departure. Mentally prepare yourself for potential delays. If they actually occur, you’ll be ready. Regardless, make a plan to have some joy in your journey.

Disconnect Your Digital
We live in an increasingly busy world. Vacation is an opportunity to step away from daily commitments and connect with people. Whether it’s family, friends or locals, these connections improve our sense of well-being.

Even though we recognize the value in stepping away, it can be hard to do so.

Sometimes leaving work completely behind isn’t an option and you end up feeling more stressed trying to be unavailable. If this is the case, consider setting firm boundaries on when you are available and for how long. If possible, choose a consistent time of day, get what you need to do done and then stay away until the next day. Not only will this give you time to really focus on people and experiences, but time away can also give you perspective.

Try New Things
Vacation can be a great time to shake up your routine a little. New experiences make your trip more memorable and can even give the perception of time slowing down. Getting away from your routine means your brain must engage to process new information. Whether you’re into high adventure like ziplining through the jungle, something more intellectual like cheese making or really relaxing at a spa, the outcome is the same. Websites like Trip Advisor can help bring out your inner explorer.

Savor Downtime
If you spend your vacation racing from activity to activity you may find you need a vacation from your vacation. Overbooking yourself on vacation can easily morph into the same stress you experience in overbooked everyday life. Studies show, people who have more relaxed vacations enjoy a longer period of post-vacation happiness. Sleep in a little (or a lot), have a relaxing meal at a local gem or read a book while sitting on the beach. Periods of relaxation will help you enjoy your periods of adventure.

End On A High Note
People tend to focus on the final event in a series. If your final memory of vacation is unpleasant there’s a good chance it will overshadow the pleasant events. Consciously end your vacation on a high note. Plan something for the final day you will truly enjoy. Whether it’s an adventure or a day of relaxation followed by a great meal, make it special.

There is no question, vacation is good for the body and soul; regardless of whether you visit a new country or choose to explore locally on a staycation. Stepping away from our everyday lives recharges us mentally and physically. Consider implementing some of these tips on your next vacation and enjoy the benefits of getting away.

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