Why a 'Lagom-Style Vacation' May Be Your Best Trip Yet

This Scandinavian concept brings hygge on the road.

<p>Farknot_Architect / Getty Images</p>

Farknot_Architect / Getty Images

If you often feel like you need a vacation right after your vacation, you may be doing it all wrong. As with many other aspects of living life, those ultra-happy Scandinavians may just have the cure for your go-until-you-drop vacation style that leaves you feeling less-than-refreshed: the lagom vacation. This travel philosophy gives you a little bit of everything for the perfectly balanced (and perfectly lovely) getaway.

Related: 7 Self-Care Getaway Ideas—Plus, How to Get the Most From Your Rejuvenating Vacation

Here's everything you need to know to plan the perfect lagom vacation—including some destinations that may be just the right spot to enjoy one.

What Is Lagom, Exactly?

The most basic translation of the Swedish word lagom is "moderate"—as in balanced with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It's been used to represent balance in pretty much everything in life—such as work-life balance, entertaining, and home design.

So why not apply the lagom concept to your next getaway? A truly lagom vacation doesn't feature a packed itinerary and several different stops along the way. Instead, it paces out your vacation, creating slower, more relaxing moments as a counterpoint to the hustle and bustle.

How to Incorporate Lagom into Your Vacation

Even if you're heading somewhere action-packed, like a theme park, a cruise, or a city, you can find ways to incorporate some balance into your vacation equation. That'll ensure that you come back to real life refreshed, and not in need of another break.

Slot in rest breaks

Take a deep breath, step away from the Instagram, and give your FOMO a rest. Clear a part of your itinerary every day for some much-needed downtime, whether you're looking for a nap, a lounge by the pool, or quiet time to indulge in a puzzle or game with the family.

Add some nature to your itinerary

Nothing will make you feel more relaxed than some fresh air. Even the most urban spots offer botanical gardens and parks that will give you a little greenery.

Make meal times more leisurely

Taking time to enjoy what you're eating (and the people you're eating it with) is an essential part of Scandinavian culture, and a perfect addition to your lagom vacation.

Related: How to Indulge in a Swedish Fika—And Why You Should

Rather than quickly scarfing breakfast on the way to your first itinerary stop, make time for a leisurely start to your day—perhaps with a little Swedish fika (that's coffee and pastries with a generous helping of conversation).

Head for the hammock (or rest in bed)

R&R is absolutely an essential part of a lagom vacation, so make sure that your schedule allows for sleep-in days, time to chill poolside or on a hammock—and perhaps a good summer read to enjoy.

Related: The Scandinavian Sleep Method Could Save Your Sleep (and Your Marriage)—Here's How It Works

Visit outside peak season

Crowds can be overwhelming and encourage you to try to squeeze in more amongst the hustle and bustle. The shoulder seasons—the time right outside peak season—will give you many of the benefits of peak season (like good weather), with a slower pace and fewer crowds.

Pare down your must-do list

No matter what destination you travel to, you'll find thousands of different things you can do and experience—and you will never find a way to get through even a small fraction of them. Think about your own hometown. Unless you're living in a very out-of-the-way locale, odds are you haven't scratched the surface of every restaurant and attraction nearby—even if you've lived there for years.

The point: You will still have an epic Paris vacation even if you don't climb the Eiffel Tower or visit the Mona Lisa. So pick a single "must-do" for every day of your vacation, and leave the rest of your itinerary blissfully clear for whatever you feel like doing on a given day.

Lagom Vacation Ideas

So, where's that Goldilocks-like not-too-busy, not-too-quiet spot for your getaway? While pretty much any spot (even uber-hectic destinations like Disney World or Tokyo) could be made lagom by adjusting it as suggested above, you may want to consider these locations that easily lend themselves to a lagom-style trip.

Related: These Are the Top Vacation Destinations for 2024


Yeah, it's a no-brainer, but the countries that brought us concepts like hygge and lagom also make pretty cozy spots for a getaway that lets you balance your R&R with more action-packed experiences.

National Parks

You'll get plenty of nature in your itinerary with a National Parks vacation. Just make sure you allow for plenty of chilling by the campfire or resting in the cabin to make up for energetic hikes and other activities.

Slower-paced beach towns

Beach towns are generally more relaxed, but we aren't talking about urban beach destinations like Los Angeles, Miami, or Honolulu. Think off-the-beaten path destinations like Chincoteague Island in Virginia, Cape May in New Jersey, or Nantucket in Massachusetts, or Lanai in Hawaii.

Related: 13 U.S. Beach Vacations That Aren't Budget-Busters

Charming small towns

Skip fast-paced urban centers for charming towns just outside, which often feature more picturesque scenery, along with a smattering of restaurants, arts events, and more. Think areas like the Hudson Valley in New York, Carmel-by-the-Sea in California, Mackinac Island in Michigan, or Marfa, Texas.

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