Long Weekends Are Your Friend
Who doesn’t love a nice weekend getaway? Weekend trips are nicest when you’re able to extend them by taking an extra workday or two off. By taking either a Friday or Monday off, you’re getting some bonus time on your trip without having to carve into your time off too much. Sometimes, taking an extra two days is appropriate, depending on how much you want to accomplish at your destination. Holiday weekend? Even better!
Travel During Off-Peak Times
When choosing your destination, it’s important to take into account its busy seasons. Consider traveling during off-peak times – here in Orlando, that’d be January through April. Avoiding huge crowds is key for time-saving (and stress prevention). You might be pleasantly surprised with how special off-peak times can be. Recently, I traveled to Costa Rica during “rainy season” and although it rained in the afternoons, the vegetation and landscapes were stunning – my favorite were the hydrangeas that seemed to be everywhere.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
Is it walkable? Is it centralized or will you transportation take a while/require a rental car? Some of my favorite walkable cities are New York City, Munich and San Francisco. There is nothing like just walking out the door and going about your day without having to get behind the wheel of a car. Walkable cities also save you time as opposed to cities where you have to rent a car and spend time stopping for fuel and dealing with the hassles of traffic and parking.
The last five times I traveled, I did so with only a backpack, and I can’t tell you how liberating it was. I didn’t have to worry about a number of things, including whether there would be enough overhead space for my carry-on or whether my luggage would get lost or damaged. Not to mention, you don’t have to wait at baggage claim (!!!). Not only do you spend less time at the airport, but you also spend less time packing. No, you don’t need all that “just in case” clothes! I usually wear my biggest shoes (my running shoes) and wear a jacket/hoodie with pockets on the plane to optimize backpack space.
Don’t Fear a Red-Eye
Late/overnight flights allow you to experience an extra full day at your destination without a) paying for another night of accommodations and b) without having to take additional vacation time. Since you’ll likely be losing sleep or the flight will be your only time to sleep, you’ll want to make sure your sleep game is all the way up. Earplugs and eye masks are your friends! Having your favorite travel pillow and blanket will help ensure that you sleep as soundly as possible on your flight. If you’re still not sure you’ll be able to sleep while in flight, consider paying to upgrade to more comfortable seats with more leg room. If you definitely don’t want to take chances on losing sleep, find a sleep aid that will work for you (I prefer melatonin).
How do you make the most of your vacation time? Let me know in the comments below!