We’re right in the height of summer, which brings with it long holidays, family BBQs, trips to the beach (and you better bet wedding season is in full swing). What does this mean for most of us? Lots of travel on the weekends. You haven’t been saving up all of that paid time off for nothing, right? Whether this summer brings a plethora of trips away or a nice little staycation at home, it’s always nice to treat yourself to a little R & R as a reward for your hard work so far this year.

While taking a vacation is a great way to hit the reset button and let your mind float away from the office for a few days, it can sometimes feel equally stressful knowing you’ll be coming back to a crowded inbox and enough catch-up work to contemplate cancelling your flight home altogether… and starting a new life.

Vacations are meant to be fun, and you shouldn’t spend your entire trip checking emails and stressing over your to-dos. It’s important to enjoy your time off. Some super-successful people have even published books recently on the importance of sleep alone. But we all know relaxing is easier said than done. However, there are some simple steps you can proactively take before you board the plane and periodically throughout your trip to minimize the stress of being away. We’ve complied our list of the best ways to stay on top of your work to help you both A) enjoy your vacation, and B) not want to melt away when you get back to the office.

1. Get Ahead. More often than not, people find themselves putting off tasks that they can “do on the plane” or once they’re connected to the hotel wifi by the pool. Yes, technically you can get work done during those times, but why would you want to impose reports on that sunny day when you can likely get them done beforehand? Banking on wifi on the plane is a risk for two reasons: there is always the small chance the wifi might not be available due to technical reasons, and you may end up accidentally dozing off from takeoff to touchdown. If you get those items checked off your list before you hit the road, your bags will be lighter and so will your stress. (Also, clearing up that flight time allows you to sip on some bubbly and catch up on the newest Ryan Gosling flicks).

2. Inform Coworkers & Clients Ahead of Time of Availability. In addition to making sure you give your team advanced notice of the days you’ll be out of the office, make sure you let them know whether or not you’ll be available remotely, and to what extent. If you expect to keep your eye on emails throughout your travel days, but plan to unplug once you arrive, that’s useful information to pass along.

3. Come Prepared. No matter where your trip takes you, make sure you have all your bases covered. If you know you’ll need to connect at some point (to touch base or sort through emails), don’t forget your chargers. Call ahead to see what the internet situation is at your lodgings, because finding out you’ll have to hoof it over to Starbucks every time you want to log on is never welcome news. Make sure you pack hard copies of any notes you might need to work on presentations, project outlines, reports (etc.) in case a delayed flight or long layover forces you to work offline for a leg of your trip.

4. ENJOY. Even the most successful business (wo)men with the heaviest workloads will unplug, turn on their “Out of Office” notifications and tune out the work world for a few days. If you have successfully practiced each of the above steps, relax. Be present with the people and in the places your travels have taken you. Trust that you’ve done your due diligence to keep things running at home, and leave it there for awhile. If you’re even reading this far, you’re already an over-achieving professional, and you’ve earned your time off. Resting up and rejuvenating will actually make you more useful when you return home, and reconnecting with yourself / your loved ones can provide you the fresh inspiration to enhance everything on your plate. It’s about balance. The worst thing you can do on vacation is spend the entire trip working.

The truth is, you will likely come back home to extra work to do and probably a few more emails than you’re used to. But, if you’ve properly prepared yourself, it’s nothing you won’t be able to handle with your fresh tan and clear mind.

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