Just the other day, I was reading my Twitter feed when a picture of an ocean sunset caught my eye.  After taking a closer look, I realized that a friend from high school was in in the picture as well.  With the ocean behind her, she posed elegantly in a shimmering black evening gown that looked reminiscent of something worn at the Oscars.  I immediately wondered, “What in the world is going on here?”  But it didn’t take long to figure it out.  As I clicked jealously through a few additional pictures she had posted, it became increasingly apparent “what in the world was going on.”

They were on vacation.

Diagnosing Vacation Envy

It can happen to anyone this time of year.  If you’re in between trips or trying to save up for your next adventure, it can seem like forever until you’re able to travel again.  And if you’re only able to travel when school is out-of-session, spring break can feel like a lifetime away.  The wait can be torturous.

Since we usually don’t travel from August to February, I’m currently on vacation countdown mode.  Every single day, a friend we’re traveling with next year posts an updated count on social media (64 days and 11 hours to go!)  But even with the friendly reminders, I still start getting antsy.  It’s cold where I live, after all, and I get envious knowing that others are enjoying beautiful, even tropical, weather in locations across the globe.  Vacation envy sets in.  You know you have a problem when you start feeling resentful towards friends who take their kids on a Christmas trip to Disney, or others who innocently post pictures of their own winter getaway.  Like a frozen cucumber, I spend winters cold and green with envy.  Bah-humbug.

Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome vacation envy and its effect on your psyche.  Being jealous of others accomplishes nothing and it certainly won’t make winter move along any faster.  So, instead of cursing high school friends for enjoying a nice vacation with their family, I’ve recently adopted a Vacation Envy-Free Zone policy.  Want to join me?  Here are the rules:

  • Be happy for people: I know, I know.  This should be a given, right?  But, it’s easier said than done when you walk in from scraping the ice off your windshield with frozen hands to find that your friend texted you a selfie from Rio de Janeiro.  But, I digress.  It’s important to be happy for others when they travel because you would expect the same in return, am I right?
  • Learn about their trip:  Instead of becoming envious of your friend’s itineraries, use them as an educational experience.  Check out pictures of their travels.  Ask them questions.  Learn about where they went and search for businesses that offer travel to that particular location.  You could also save yourself a few bucks this way by learning why you might not want to visit a particular region.
  • Research your next vacation:  When I become overcome by the wintertime blues, I like to do a little research on my upcoming travel plans, even if they’re still months away.  We’re headed to Jamaica in February and keeping up-to-date on trip reviews and travel forums provides a great distraction from the fact that the sun hasn’t come out for an entire week.  Hey, you do what you gotta do, am I right?  Ya mon.
  • Take a mini-trip: If you’re super depressed by the thought of your friends going on vacation and having fun, you may just need to get out of the house.  Even a weekend in your favorite hotel can be highly therapeutic simply because it gives you time to get away.  And when you’re stressed out, a weekend away can provide major relief.

Vacation envy is a disease for which there is no cure.  On the other hand, you don’t have to let it suck you into the pits of despair.  Instead of letting vacation envy take hold, try being happy for your family and friends, even the ones that are wealthier, more attractive, and funnier than you are.  Take time to learn about their travels.  Do a little research on your upcoming vacation or take a weekend trip.  The best way to overcome vacation envy is to be proactive about it and focus on the positives in your life.  And before you know it, you’ll be the “checking in” at the airport on Facebook and loving every minute of it.

Have you ever suffered from vacation envy?  If so, how did you overcome it?