Many workers help make your vacation great
"Vacation, all I ever wanted. Vacation, had to get away." So said The Go-Go's, and who can't relate to their timeless song? It's funny how vacations are all about relaxing and escaping work, responsibility and the stresses of daily life. But think about how many people are employed to help you get to that Zenlike state of bliss.
At every stage of your vacation, from planning to the trip home, you come across many people who are working to keep you and your family or friends comfortable.
Planning the perfect escape
Today, many people book their own flights, find the best hotel deals and determine the best onsite transportation. But travel agents are still around and can help you save money. And if you are like me -- somewhat neurotic about the pressure of doing all that research -- it's nice to hand it over to someone else to do it for you. The burden of doing all that research and creating cost comparisons? No thanks.
Also, travel agents are usually in contact with onsite entertainment, so if you went on a tropical vacation, you could get information and deals on waterskiing, snorkeling and other nearby excursions.
Packing and takeoff
When you're getting ready for your vacation, you may need to buy some new gear or make some personal preparations. Whether it's visiting your favorite retail location for a new bathing suit or ski boots, going to the nail salon to get your toes in trim or calling up your trainer for a few last-minute workout sessions, gearing up for vacation can be manic.
Real Simple magazine provides a great packing checklist, regardless of whether you're traveling locally or internationally. Be mindful of what is easy to travel with and what you can wait to buy once you arrive. As you pack for your trip, also be aware of any relevant travel restrictions. Nothing is worse than a rocky start with the Transportation Security Administration officer over a can of aerosol hairspray in your carry-on luggage. Believe me.
While most of us consider the airport chaotic, think of all the people who work there and the customer-service skills they have -- or we hope they have. Whether you're talking food service, luggage assistance, gate agents, flight attendants or pilots, everyone is trying to make your experience as painless as possible.
Once you've arrived at your destination, chances are the first person who greets you is a cab driver, a hotel valet or the hotel concierge. One of the most confusing parts of a vacation is knowing whom and how much to tip. This quiz by SavvySugar.com can help you determine who should be getting the extra dollars and who is gainfully paid by his employer.
If you didn't book through a travel agent, you'll want to ask someone from the hotel about great nightlife, daytime excursions or pampering at local spas or salons.
Don't pass up the opportunity to chat with locals and ask them about their job, career path, career outlook, etc. If we all have one thing in common to talk about, it's work. I've met some of the friendliest and most genuinely good-natured people while on vacation who were tour guides, bartenders, waiters and retailers. These people will give you the inside scoop on where the locals hang out and the best places to eat, shop and more.
While you're on vacation, the people around you are working to make your vacation what it is. Be appreciative, courteous and gracious toward their efforts -- just as you would (or should) in any other situation.
Back to life, back to reality
Often when a vacation is coming to an end, you're ready to get back to life and -- sadly -- work. Well, maybe not all of us feel that way. But it's normal to miss your regular routine, the sense of productivity or purpose and -- for those who like their jobs -- your co-workers.
Don't overlook the graciousness of workers who are helping you return home, whether it's the bellhop, the airport barista or the cab driver delivering you from the airport to your doorstep.
Justin Thompson is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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