After years of traveling for leisure or business, I can definitely suggest some things to do or to avoid, for you to have a relaxed exotic getaway. I often came back exhausted and nervous because I put too much pressure on me about seeing or doing or trying all the food. I wanted to live an entire life of others in 10 days, and you get the point.
So here we go:
1. Try to avoid flights with more than one transit airport, more than 6 hours transit or very late in the night at your way back. It doesn’t worth saving 50 euros. The best is coming back one day earlier than the first day of work, and one short transit.
2. The best is to travel off season if it is possible, especially if you are more of a lonely person, with agoraphobia. It is less crowded on the beach, you spend less time queuing at museums or top attractions, and it is way cheaper – everything starting from flights to accommodation and restaurants. You’ll get more comfort for the same money.
3. Don’t rent cars use public transport, especially if in a country with different driving rules or with language you do not understand. Public transport is cheap and very well developed, I think of Asia in particular, except India or Bangladesh. There, it is best to rent a car with a driver. In general, no car means less expenses and less hassle for parking and policemen.
4. Respect the local habits, the laws, or just be decent and polite. Don’t get yourself in trouble for nothing like I did once in Bangkok as I got a fine for throwing on the street my cigarette. In some countries there are still death penalties related to drugs so be aware of the new friends you make there. Also there are certain specific rules in Muslim countries and you need to know them before.
5. Don’t book hotels with breakfast or meal plans if in a city. You are there to enjoy local life, cafes and local restaurants. Go to local markets, it is the best experience. Even in Bali in Seminyak is best to go have a breakfast outside the hotel, food is better.
6. Don’t over-plan. If in a very touristic destination like Bangkok take into account to buy online your ticket with skip the line extra option. But in general you go to the beach in Asia or nature, temples.
7. Take some cash with you, have two debit/credit cards, have copies of your documents and leave at home your valuables. It is best to not cry over a watch than to have the pressure of fashion. They don’t know you so relax.
8. Don’t over-pack and be relaxed about forgetting things. I found everywhere everything I needed, from products of cosmetics to pharmaceuticals. Even in Dhaka in Bangladesh. Or at the beach in El Nido plastic empty bottles of Coca Cola show the extend of corporations.
9. Buy locally, avoid international chains, buy local design souvenirs. Or don’t buy at all. It is best to send an actual postcard. Think about it. In general you are not there to buy so avoid shopping.
10. Instead of shopping, buy immersive local experiences, like diving with dolphins or sculpture and drawing classes in Ubud.
11. Attend local festivals and local markets. This is the best experience you can have, better than museums or palaces, or top restaurants.
12. Have a travel insurance, it relaxes you. And hope you don’t need it.
13. Relax relax relax. Avoid any unnecessary hassle like taxis, or shopping in bazaars and night markets.
Wait for other tips in comments bellow. Enjoy.