Social media has spawned a whole new breed of adventure-loving, wanderlust-filled travelers who appear to be permanently on vacation. For those of us who love to travel but also have demanding schedules, finding time to travel can be difficult. So, how can we find a way to quench our thirsts for travel while balancing a busy schedule?
Over the last few years, I’ve found some tricks that make it easier to travel while having limited time to do so:
Learn to Love Redeye Flights
That’s right, redeye flights are your friend. Instead of taking the day or even half-day off of work for travel time, you can work a normal day and catch a flight after work. That way, you can take a nap after a long workday and wake up to your first morning of vacation!
Make the Most of Paid Holidays that Fall on Mondays & Fridays
When a holiday is on a Monday or Friday, take full advantage of the long weekend. Use those three days off of work to enjoy a vacation. If the company you work for allows it, you can also add on a vacation day to your already long weekend. That way, you can enjoy a four-day vacation while only using one day of leave time.
Start a New Tradition of Traveling Over the Thanksgiving Holiday
Many companies give their employees the Thursday of Thanksgiving off as well as the Friday after the holiday. Plus, many businesses close their offices over this holiday, which means it’s likely your clients are also taking breaks.
Find a Couple of Semi-local Vacation Spots
There are going to be weeks when you want to get away but can’t hop on a plane or take time off work. Why not take a quick road trip for a change of scenery? Explore some destinations within a couple hours drive from your home for an easy and stress-free vacation. Making time to get away and refresh your mind is so important, so when you need a break, take one. When I need a quick vacation, I enjoy heading over to St. Augustine or Naples, FL. The Ritz-Carlton in Naples (pictured above) is one of my favorite vacation spots in Florida.
Change Your Idea of How Long a Vacation Can Be
In college, we had a whole week off for Spring Break, nearly a month off for winter holidays, and could take full summers off. Those extended vacations conditioned us to think that breaks must be long to be enjoyed, which isn’t true at all. I learned this when I traveled to Iceland last December. I had been playing around with the idea of kicking off the winter holiday by visiting Reykjavík and exploring parts of Iceland. The only problem was that I didn’t have a lot of time off of work. I could only manage to get away for a Friday-Tuesday trip. I kept reassuring myself that while three days and one morning isn’t a long time to explore such an amazing country, it’s three days and one morning more I’d have to vacation in Iceland than if I didn’t go at all. So, we went. I’m so glad we did because it was one of the most incredible vacations I’ve ever been on, and it inspired an ongoing obsession I have with the country. Sure, I would have loved to spend more time there, but I could have been there for a month, and I still would have wanted to stay longer. Don’t be afraid of taking the vacation that fits in your schedule even if it seems rushed. You will still have a great time and leave with special memories.
Use Time Zones to Your Advantage
If you live in the Eastern Time Zone like I do, you can use the time change to help you during your jet-setting adventures. While you’ll lose hours upon entering Europe and have to rally through some jet lag, you’ll gain hours when you head home. This can be extremely helpful.
For example, say you want to visit Madrid. Your flight lands at 7:00 a.m. (although your body might feel like it’s around 1:00 a.m., as you haven’t acclimated to the time change), and you fight through the jet lag to fully enjoy your first day abroad. After an adventure-filled vacation in Madrid, it’s time to head home. Since you could only get away from the office for a short time, you booked a flight that lands you back at home around 1:00 a.m. to ensure you’ll get to work that day. Sounds rough, right? Because you gain six hours when arriving home, it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. You essentially are gaining more hours of sleep, which will help prepare you for your first day back at work.
I tested out this schedule when I headed home from Iceland, and it worked out great. I landed back in Tampa around midnight (we gained four hours) and was home, showered, and in bed around 1:00 a.m. Tampa time. I was able to get plenty of sleep before work that day and didn’t have to use any extra vacation time. That’s a win-win in my book!
These are just a few tips to help you make time for some travels throughout your busy workweeks. Are there any travel hacks you use to better balance vacation and work? If so, what are they? Comment below! Or, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.