Don’t know how to make time to travel? Life too busy? Or just excuses to put things off? Emily Zemler tells us how to make more room for travelling, no matter how hectic our lives.
There’s always an excuse for not travelling as often as you’d like.
Maybe your job is too demanding and you can’t get time off, or maybe free time is scarce because you’re just busy. But anyone can schedule time for a vacation, even if it’s just for a few days.
It takes some planning and some purpose, but with the right attitude and the right time management steps, your next holiday is on the horizon.
Life is demanding, often pulling you in many different directions. But the first step to making more time to travel is to literally put it on the top of your to-do list.
“To make more time for travel in your life, you have to make it a priority,” says Dr Cacinda Maloney of PointsandTravel.com. “If it’s a priority, then it will happen, otherwise, you get caught up in other things to spend your time and money on.”
She adds, “I believe making travelling a priority, using your money and time off wisely, plus being mindful while on the trip can enrich your life in so many ways. Culturally, it allows you to see and experience the world differently. It also expands your mind and tolerance of others from different backgrounds.”
Stay close to home
While it would be amazing to jet off to Tahiti or Kyoto, travelling can be just as fulfilling and fun close to home.
If you live in a big city, consider venturing into the countryside or mountains nearby, or look for a cheap flight to a nearby city. Look for group tours or activities that can help you engage with the local culture and treat even the most familiar vacation destination like a new place to discover.
For example, if you live in London, fly to Scotland or Ireland for a few days; if you live in the Midwest of the United States, jet off to Chicago or St. Louis for a weekend. Even a staycation can be worthwhile for those who can only spare a night or two.
And keep it simple: “I suggest if you are going to a major city that you only do one city at a time,” Maloney notes. “Any major city can be basically seen in three days or less, plus travel time to get there and back.”
In the digital age, it’s getting easier and easier to work from anywhere.
If you have a flexible employer or you’re a freelance worker consider taking your office on the road. Wi-Fi can be found across the globe, so it’s totally possible to get emails returned in Peru or while trekking across Europe.
It might take some forethought and a few late nights (or early mornings), but finding time is possible—where there’s a will there’s a way. The best part is that you can use the time difference to your advantage and sightsee while the rest of your coworkers are sleeping.
Keep it short
A vacation doesn’t necessarily require two weeks off from work. Instead, look for small pockets of time that are less stressful and don’t keep you away for so long.
“Long weekends are a traveller’s best friend,” says travel writer and photographer J.Q. Louise, who runs travel blog JQLouise.com. “Instead of taking off five full business days for a trip, turn a national holiday into a four-day weekend. Take off Friday and all of a sudden you have Friday to Monday for a nice little trip. I would rather do that a few times a year to different locations that taking a one-week trip to a single destination.”
For an even better time hack, book night flights. “If you can travel the night before, you can extend your trip even a little more, i.e. leave home on Thursday night to arrive at your destination Friday morning for a full day of exploring,” Louise adds. “If you plan ahead you can usually make long weekends work in your favour.”
One way to make time to travel is to remind yourself of all the places you want to go.
Follow the travel bloggers and travel sites on Instagram, and browse the web for information on the latest hot spots. If you surround yourself with potential destinations and ideas for trips you’ll be more likely to take the leap and finally book that vacation to Thailand.
Shorter trips mean there is less time to explore and experience a destination. But that shouldn’t deter you from trying to pack in tons of cool activities and meals. Research ahead of time and look for ways to maximise your days.
“Planning is key when taking a short trip,” Louise says. “You don’t want to get to your destination and have to waste time figuring out the public transportation system or where to eat your first meal. Plan out logistics like how you are going to get into town from the airport or train station and where you are going to have your first meal so your trip gets off on the right foot and you are energised for a few days of exploring.”
She adds, “I travel to Europe from Boston quite frequently for long weekends and after flying all night, it’s important to be able to get up and go as soon as we land, so I like to have at least the first few hours all planned out so we can get settled into the new city quickly and effortlessly.”
Remember the benefits of travel
Travelling isn’t just about seeing new places. Time spent away has so many benefits, from relaxation to opening yourself up to unfamiliar experiences.
You can make new friends, try new foods and even come away a different person. When deciding how to prioritise your days off, try to remember how important travelling can be and how it can allow you to come back a new person.
“I always feel so refreshed when I get back to work after a trip,” Louise says. “Traveling really clears my mind and allows me to unplug. Even after just a weekend away, I am so much more excited to tackle all the tasks of daily life.”