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Vacation is something we all claim to want, yet often never take the time to actually plan and unplug from our everyday work lives (cue complaining). There has long been a stigma that being away from the office meant being away from work and being away from work meant you weren’t a “good employee” or a “hard worker.” However, what most people fail to realize is that taking time for yourself and exposure to different people, places, and cultures can make you more productive. After all, what’s the point in sitting in an office for 262 days for 8 hours a day if half of those hours you’re not really working because you’re tired of the same monotonous daily routine and end up bored and distracted by social media and surfing the web.

Not convinced? Check out the reasons below how/why your vacation will make you a better employee and/or boss!

Perspective: Experiences are what makes life memorable and worth living. They are also what influences our view of the world and how we internalize those views creates what we put out into the world. The ability to travel allows people to taste different food, interact with different people, and see how different cultures live. All of these things allow individuals to see the world differently.

Inspiration: Exploring different places and interacting with new people allows for maximum inspiration. Surrounding yourself in a new environment allows your brain to see, hear, feel, taste, and experience things it has yet to experience, so don’t be surprised if you come back from your travels with solutions to that problem you’ve been trying to fix for months, or a new business idea all together.

Opportunity: Travel, especially solo travel, can help you become a natural networker because traveling, especially alone, forces you to interact with other people. You can’t get to where you’re going in a foreign place without asking someone for directions at some point. You can’t order a meal to your liking in abroad without communicating with a waitress or street vendor without asking how the food was prepared. These are both natural ways for you to become comfortable with interacting with other people and different types of people, which boosts your natural capabilities to network.

Productivity: Trading in your office for a beach or somewhere new is great for productivity. Travel allows you to recharge your batter and renew your focus on work. If you’re on vacation because you’re beyond stressed and this is your last resort I need a break kind of trip, really try hard to block out work completely and immerse yourself in your new surroundings. Removing those stress triggers (email, I’m talking to you), are essential to complete re-energize your mindset so that when you do return to your “day job” you’ll be happy to be there.

So here’s the deal, take out those calendars, send the boss (or your team) an email, and dedicate time for that family (or solo) vacation that’s long overdue.

Not sure where to go? We tapped passported.com CEO/Co-founder, Henley Vazquez for a list of six destinations that are so special that even the most interesting Instagram feed won’t distract you:  

Where: Kennebunkport, Maine

Why: It’s classic Americana, a place where even the “fancy” parts are mellow, where no make-up is needed and there’s no scene to impress. Build sandcastles on broad beaches, chow on lobster rolls, fall asleep at 9 pm and wake up with an early morning hike or bike ride. It’s the antidote to busy city life.

Stay: Hidden Pond, a Kennebunkport resort with a collection of cute cottages that give guests the privacy of a house but with access to a resort. Local designers decorated each of the two-bedroom cottages, all of which are fun, funky, and perfect for families, or leave the kids with grandma and check into the studios, romantic tree houses tucked away in the forest.

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Where: Tuscany

Why: Duh, because Italy is awesome. But seriously, Tuscany has the history, the culture, the food and, of course, the wine that we all adore. Traipse around the streets of Siena, tour a winery, take a cooking class to learn some new recipes that you can incorporate as part of your family dinners at home.

Stay: Castiglion del Bosco or La Bandita, one a Ferragamo-owned resort with a kids’ club, vineyard and multiple restaurants, the other a boutique country home owned by an American music exec and his travel writer wife. Both are badass, and one will fit your budget, whether you’re ready to splurge or need to save your euros.

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Where: Nosara, Costa Rica

Why: Summer is Costa Rica’s rainy season, but it’s also when the swells are best, so if you’re a serious surfer, now’s the time to head south. Plus, a twenty-minute tropical downpour is the perfect excuse for an afternoon nap (you’ll be ready for one after hitting the breaks before breakfast), get a massage or kick back with a good book. This is the vacation to take sans kids so you can chill, big time.

Stay: Surf Simply blends surfing and science to create a one-week program that’s like camp for grown-ups. Twice daily sessions filmed by their in-house paparazzi crew gives you videos to bring home as well as an easy way to analyze your form (lookin’ good, girl), plus there’s an awesome chef, comfortable rooms and talks on tides and safety so you learn more than how to hang ten.

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Where: Aspen, Colorado

Why: The mountains are good for the soul. Hike, bike and see why plenty of people happily trade beach time for this Rocky Mountain town that blends the right about of chi-chi fun with great restaurants, A+ hotels and, of course, the great outdoors. The summer is also when the Aspen Ideas Festival lures luminaries to town, so you can edify your brain with lectures by some of the brightest minds in the world. Come back smarter and more fit.

Stay: Hotel Jerome, one of the town’s most historic hotels brought back to life by Auberge Resorts. The food rocks, the rooms feel like the inside of a Ralph Lauren dream, and everyone from John Wayne to Hunter S. Thompson has spent time here. It’s a classic.

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Where: Santa Monica, California

Why: LA may not sound like the place to unplug, but for ADD travelers who thrive on the action but still need some beach time, this is the place to be. Jog the coast in the morning, shop Abbot Kinney in the afternoon, throw in some culture with a visit to this summer’s Cindy Sherman exhibit at The Broad or a tour of the Getty. And if your kid has been hassling you for the Disney experience, celebrate that you can check it off in a one-day adventure versus dedicating an entire vacation to Florida.

Stay: Shutters on the Beach and its sister Casa del Mar are much beloved for good reason, but if you need a less pricey alternative, the Viceroy is just a block away, or check out the new bungalow suites at the Fairmont.

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Where: St. Barth’s, French West Indies

Why: St. Barth’s is the French Riviera for those who need an easier getaway and don’t want to fight the traffic into St. Tropez. Combine off-season prices with perfectly seasonal weather and some of the Caribbean’s best beaches, and you’ve got vacation gold. Pick up morning croissants at La Petite Colombe, float away work stress on Saline, collapse into a plate of the best ceviche at Bonito or dance the night away at Le Yacht Club. Whether you plan to spend your vacay splashing on the beach with the kids or snuggling with the hubby in a chic restaurant (or both!), there’s something here for everyone.

Stay: If traveling with kids, check into the Guanahani, whose kids’ club and spacious suites make it a perfect pick for families. Without kids, Eden Rock, Cheval Blanc and The Christopher are our favs.

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Feature image by Courtney Adamo, who is currently traveling the world with her five children. Follow her journey on Instagram @courtneyadamo

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