XPLOR’s Travel Tips for a Stress-Free Palm Springs Vacation

Indian Springs Resort


Your vacation should be non-stop recreation. You don’t want hiccups ruining your restorative getaway. This guide should help you avoid a few of the issues that plague travelers in general and a few that are unique to Our Little Valley. The goal of this guide is to help ensure that you get into the Palm Springs spirit.

Vacations can be stressful because there’s pressure to get it perfect. You want to have the perfect desert experience. At the same time, you will be doing new things and seeing new places. You won’t always know what to expect. How can you be sure it’s going to be perfect if you’ve never been there before?

And then there’s the frayed nerves of friends and family. We love them, but they can drive you crazy. They likely don’t mean it. But a long time in the car or plane can make anyone irritable. You’re also spending more time with them, likely the whole day. Small annoyances build up over these longs days. But it doesn’t have to be this way. And, we’ll show you how to beat the vacation blues. Read on to learn how.


If you’re reading this guide, you’re looking for a relaxing and easy vacation. That requires planning. But, not as much as you probably think. Plan just enough of the home stuff to be sure that plants get watered, pets get fed, and that nothing spoils in the fridge. But don’t overdo it. Coming home to one messy bed isn’t going to undo the fun you’ll have in our desert oasis.

Some people like to plan. Others don’t. But it’s key for a stress-free vacation. If you’re like most of Palm Springs’ visitors, you are two hours away or less from the desert. It’s easy to jump in your car and just go. Last minute vacations are awesome. There’s an exciting energy when you take life as it comes. But, last-minute trips require more in-the-minute planning, which adds pressure. You don’t want that added stress. While Palm Springs can provide all the on-the-go energy you could ever need, that’s not the kind of vacation we’re talking about in this guide. This guide is about the no-stress version of Palm Springs. Ahhhhh, Palm Springs.

Once you get into the relaxed Palm Springs spirit, I’m sure you’ll want to return regularly. Plan a break here every quarter. Palm Springs has so much to offer. One visit to the desert just isn’t enough. Lots of people visit Palm Springs several times per year. You’ll get to know the place and know what you like. And you won’t have one-shot vacation worries. If you don’t get everything done on the first trip of the year, there will be others. That will take off some of the pressure.

Plan to spend ten days in the desert if you can swing it. It’s long enough that you feel refreshed, be able to take a few day trips and still have time for the unexpected. Plus, if you take two weeks off from work, you can build in a few buffer days on each side of your trip. It takes a few days to get back into your routine. If you have a day or two free after you return, you won’t have to stress the night before leaving about cleaning everything up. Starting your vacation by stressing out about an unmade bed is no fun.

If you’re planning to fly into the area, we highly recommend flying directly into the Palm Springs airport. It’s an easy drive to most parts of the Valley. And it’s just a fun little airport to visit. It’s been voted one of the least stressful airports in the country. As a matter of fact, it is number three on a list of ten. For me flying is one of the most stressful parts of the trip. The long TSA lines, gate lines, crowds, loud overhead announcements. That’s not Palm Springs airport. Palm Springs airport has a courtyard where you can sit under the palms and relax. There’s even a place for the little ones and the pets to enjoy.

Family and Friends

I love my trips with family and friends. But, the added needs and wants can sometimes add stress to the trip. It takes longer to get a large group moving. People change their mind about activities or don’t show up. How do you get friends and family on the same page? Set guidelines with them before you go. The most important items to agree on are the big events that you will all attend. Where will we meet? What time will we meet? What should we bring? How will we get there? Making sure that everyone understands and agrees to these items will go a long way in reducing friction during the trip.

You can also provide resources so that the whole party has information about the trip at their fingertips. Use a map so that they know where to go. We have a great one. TripIt is a great travel itinerary app to use. You can share the main itinerary with every one on the trip. Even if there are changes, they will be reflected in the updated itinerary that everyone can see.

It’s also worth confirming the important details on at least the bigger events before you arrive. Call ahead to confirm important details such a reservation times, number of guests and any special requests or needs. Communication is key, so make information easy to find and provide as much as you can.

Be open to change and compromise. If someone has a new or better idea, don’t be afraid to move in a new direction. Unplanned discoveries can be the most rewarding part of the trip. Make room for delightful surprises in your trip. Plan to let go and let the spirit of Palm Springs guide you.

Getting your head into vacation mode

Keep that “Ahhh” feeling going. Don’t feel guilty about taking a vacation. You know that you’ll be more productive after you return from the desert than you would have been sitting at your desk thinking about how much you need a vacation.

No working while on vacation is ideal, but I understand that a complete and total work shutdown may not be realistic. So, I at least ask this compromise. Decide what hours you’re going to work in advance and stick to your plan. Make sure that you’re not too reachable too. It’s Ok to leave your phone in the other room while you sit by the pool. These steps will help keep work at an appropriate distance while you’re trying to relax.

But, what if there’s a work item on your mind and it’s keeping you from having fun? Deal with that item, and that item only. Don’t linger. Or better yet, just make a to-do list and determine when you’ll have time to do it when you’re back home. That buffer day you saved for yourself might be the best time.

Visiting Out of Season

Most travelers come to our little valley in the winter or spring to get away from snow elsewhere. But there are good reasons to visit in the summer and fall too. In fact, you’ll find that most hotels still sell out on weekends because it’s so much fun here in the off-season. Here are our thoughts about visiting outside of “season.”

  1. There are no crowds. Have you ever waited for hours to get into your favorite restaurant? Some of the most popular restaurants can run out of availability altogether. Don’t worry about that in summer and fall.
  2. Prices are cheaper for everything. Many restaurants offer prix fixe menu deals all summer long. Lodging prices are 40% – 60% less expensive.
  3. If you’re a morning person or a night owl, the off-season is a better time to visit. Go for a bike ride, hike or play a game of tennis in the early morning while it’s still cool. And warm desert nights are the best of the year. You can sit outside all night without fear of a shivering cool There are great night time shopping options as well.
  4. What do you do from 3 PM – 7 PM? How about taking a nap like they do in Spain. You’ll be refreshed for a reasonably priced, but yummy supper after you wake. Or take in an indoor happy hour at one of our iconic bars. But, there’s another option.

Did Someone Say Pool Hopping?  

The city Palm Springs has roughly 40,000 pools within the city limits alone, not to mention the other eight cities in the valley. So, it’s likely that you’ll get some pool time in no matter where you’re staying. But, don’t just stop with your pool. Pools at some of the trendiest resorts in the area are open to the public, including the Ace, Arrive, Omni Rancho Las Palmas, Rowan, Saguaro and Westin Mission Hills resorts. Most have a daily use fee. Others simply require you to make a food or drink purchase. Check out how your traveling peers are living!

Despite what you may think, you can sit by the pool all year long in Palm Springs. If it’s summer or fall, all you need is a bit of shade. Find a big umbrella or a nice mesquite tree. A mister also helps. If the place you’re staying doesn’t have misters, you can get a misting fan from the drugstore for just a few dollars. Some resorts also have cabanas for rent.

What to Wear

This is the place for hats and sunglasses. Be they functional, stylish or sporty; you will need shades here. So, why not bring a few pairs. They don’t take up much space.

Sunscreen is an absolute necessity. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than a sunburn. Wear sunscreen even if you don’t have fair skin. There’s not much moisture in the air to create a buffer between you and the sun’s rays. So, you’ll tan more quickly here. At the same time, you’ll want to be outside more because it’s just so dang beautiful. Our suggestion is to opt for an all-in-one moisturizer and sunscreen to protect from the sun’s rays and the dry air.

This town is all about crazy colors and patterns. Ditch your New York blacks, Puget Sound flannel, your Minneapolis plaid. Think bold when packing. It’s the one time of year to wear that piece you almost didn’t buy because you didn’t know where to wear it. Palm Springs is the place for it. You don’t want to stress yourself out because you don’t look the part, do you? Easy breezy fabrics in jewel tones or bold patterns will fit the bill. Oh, and there’s Shopping galore here in case you find yourself needing more attire.

You won’t really need pants or long sleeves except on a rare chilly winter night. I wear a sweater about four times a year. So, flowing dresses and tops, shorts, rompers and sandals will work most days. There are lots of fashionable dining and nightlife options. So be sure that you can “dress up” if needed. But, lean more towards trendy than formal with your nighttime looks.  

Still need more recommendations. We’ve got plenty. Tweet us @XPLORzine, and we’ll get back to you. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest @XPLORzine

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