For some teens, a vacation designed to relieve stress can do the opposite

Tony Gutierrez, 9, can’t decide where he wants to go on vacation or what to do there.Photo illustration Valeria Ramirez Generation Next

From hotel check-ins to crowded beaches, vacations can sometimes be the opposite of a peaceful recharge.

Scheduling activities that everyone will enjoy, booking hotels, finding restaurants and, of course, the extensive packing and organizing that goes into even a simple trip can be daunting. And this load of stress may lead some to ask whether vacations are worth all the trouble.

According to one Travel Agent Central article, “51 percent of U.S. vacationers admit they’re more stressed today compared to a year ago, and it’s causing more than one in three to cancel or delay their trip,” according to a new survey by Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

Still, another Travel Agent Central article states “nearly 100 million Americans — four in 10 U.S. adults — are planning to take a family vacation in 2019.”

Yadira Ornelas, a Santa Fe High School junior, said her recent trip to Mexico with some friends was exactly what a tropical vacation is supposed to be: visiting family, swimming and sunning. Her only criticism? “We only went there for a week,” she said.

Josh Cortez, a junior at Santa Fe High School who has limited experience traveling, isn’t at all stressed about possibly visiting Mexico.

“I would like to go to Mexico; I have never been,” Cortez said. “I like the scenery, I like how the houses are set up over there and I like their culture.”

Cortez said if he does go to Mexico, he’ll plan it himself. Vacation planners, he said, are a waste of money, even if they cut some of the stress for you.

It is still quite common for some vacationgoers to hire trip planners. Karen Squires, a Spanish and AVID teacher at Capital High School, hired a tour group coordinator to assist in planning a trip with her students to Costa Rica in June 2020.

“The level of necessary details is daunting,” Squires said.

Squires said the trip is for service learning. There is scheduled volunteer work, as well as some time for the students to be outside and appreciate the culture and landscape of Costa Rica. By hiring someone to plan the vacation completely — including kayaking and zip-lining outings, all preorganized — Squires takes the load off of her shoulders. She said the tour group she is working with will “put guides with us because I can’t be expected to be a professional kayaker on top of being a teacher.”

Randy Randall, executive director of Tourism Santa Fe, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, said teens are usually looking for activities to engage them when they go on a trip.

“They’re looking more for experiences than they are for the scenery,” he said. (Incidentally, he only sees teens traveling to Santa Fe if they come with a family.)

According to a Google study done in 2017, 36 percent of U.S. travelers “would pay more for more tailored information and experiences.”

Randall said that could include a vacation with hands-on arts or crafts components so “not only could you go and see how it’s made, you could actually try to make it yourself.”

He said hiring a vacation planner could pay off for both young adults nad more experienced travelers.

“Does it cost more?” he said. “Yes. Do you get more out of it? Yes.”

For some, however, the additional cost can make traveling even more stressful when it comes to budgeting.

We all can do with a little less stress. The question for some remains: Does a vacation help?

Elizabeth Walker is a 2019 graduate of Capital High School. Contact her at Valeria Ramirez is a freshman at Santa Fe High School. Contact her at