Vacations, the time when our brains recharge, and we have new, interesting adventures. However, if this is so, then why are we so reluctant to take them?

I remember being as young as 17 years old and turning down a beautiful vacation with a friend from school. Her mom was going to be there the whole time, so adult supervision wasn’t even the issue. I was rushing off to university across the country, so my entire summer was devoted to a grade 12 French course. I remember her mom begging my mom on the phone that I needed the vacation, and everyone does. But my parents were unrelenting. In the end, I should have taken the vacation. I ended up so burned out in my 20’s from overachieving for private and prep schools that I didn’t end up graduating with my degree until my early 30’s.

So take it from me, vacations are needed. Often too, they are once in a lifetime chances to bond with a friend. Those permanent connections are important for down the road when going out on the town mini excursions are needed. If you just try to plow through the year with no breaks, you will eventually give out and may end up staying those banked holiday days in the hospital.

The point of life is to have a balance of everything. Well, there are the deeper questions to, but you never have time to ponder them if you are always distracted. When you take time away, you open up to looking at where your life has become unbalanced. On vacation, you go out and talk to people you normally wouldn’t have the time to meet. You hear what they are doing in their lives, and then you brainstorm whether you could be doing those things too.

People who vacation understand how to seize life’s moments, and enjoy them for the sake of their sheer existence. You are not thinking about how much money you are making while doing a task or how to impress your boss and clients. You are just being, and that state of presence helps you hear your thoughts.

Vacations are also a great way to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Chances are, you don’t like being forced to spend 70% of your time in an environment, not of your choosing. Vacation time lets you choose where you would like to visit. And when you are working hard, it is nice to be able to afford to go somewhere you had been hoping to see.

When I didn’t go on that vacation with my friend, I was sad. What I didn’t know is that I would regret not going for the rest of my life. I see this girl on my Facebook now, and we have grown completely apart. She took my rejection of the trip to heart, and we completely lost our connection. And part of that was because I got into the mentality that only achievement mattered in life.

I would recommend and urge people to take time out to spend a vacation with people they love or getting to know new people to love. Work and school should not be one’s sole source of means by which to measure achievement in life. Friends’ trips and building family memories on regular vacations are necessary.

Right now, nothing may sound better than a lovely winter getaway. And if that is exactly what you are thinking, then you may already have a few options in mind. Since there are several such places to choose from that somehow seem to be equally attractive, you will need to narrow down on a few so that you can make the best choice. It is going be quite difficult to decide if you should go to a place with cool temperatures or rather just sunbathe the entire duration of your vacation. Whatever you may have in mind, here are a few of the top winter destinations that will help make your decision easier.

5. Las Vegas

Probably the only place that is on everyone’s list of Must-Visit-Places. Las Vegas is as exciting in reality if not more, than what is shown in movies and magazines. Las Vegas, of course, has more to offer than just its casinos (which are pretty impressive). If you love pampering yourself, the spas at Las Vegas will do just that. The clothing stores alone will make your trip worth it.

4. Sisters Oregon

If the sun isn’t your priority and you are in the mood for some serious winter fun, Sisters Oregon is the place to go. Snowboarding, skiing, and other fun sports await you. A visit to the snow park, living in the rustic cabins, trying out the coffee (it is good) and other stuff will get you falling in love with this cozy place.

3. Puerto Rico

One of the most fun places in America, Puerto Rico, will surely get your vacation mode on. If you love surfing, these waters are perfect for it. Or if you instead want to lay out your blanket and get the perfect tan, that’s cool too. For the adventurous, you could try snorkeling and may be lucky enough to bump into a humpback whale. But if you rather stay on land then remember to carry your dancing shoes as you salsa the night away.

2. San Diego

If you are looking for a perfect place to sunbathe all day and party all night, San Diego is the one for you. With awesome weather and beautiful beaches, you can finally actually relax while soaking in some sun. Later, the San Diego nightlife will enthrall you. This picturesque winter destination will be one to remember and may leave you coming back for more.

1. New Orleans

New Orleans may is not that famous as a destination spot, but those who have been there couldn’t help falling in love with it. With cool temperatures throughout the day, New Orleans is a perfect winter destination. The main reason for visiting New Orleans during winter is because of Mardi Gras. But even if you happen to miss it, don’t worry there are several other exciting things like the French Quarter, City Park, mouthwatering seafood etcetera to look forward to.

These top winter destinations will not disappoint, so you can be assured of a good winter vacation no matter which place you end up choosing. While there may exist other factors to consider like the hotel prices, activities in the area and the temperature of course; the destination you pick should mostly depend on what exactly you plan to do during your vacation.