How do you travel? Do you just see where the road takes you? Or do you have every minute planned out?
Traveling is probably every young professional’s favorite thing to do. Whether or not they make it out to their dream destination as often as they like or not, they will tell you, when asked what they want to do, about their list of countries, cities, and islands they plan to visit much more readily than any other future plan.
But when you’re busy working full time (like a lot of us are doing, whether that be at the foot of a patient’s bed as a nurse or from the comfort of home in your PJs as a content creator), it’s pretty hard to squeeze in trips. There’s a lot you need to do and sometimes compromises must be made. Do you go all out and explore somewhere new, or take a blissful vacation on the beach? How can you a) get out your wanderlust and b) show up for work a few days later not totally depleted (either your emotional energy or bank account).
For a while, it seemed like you had to choose either one or the other. But since then, I’ve realized that you really can get a good vacation in on a busy work/life schedule, make new memories, have new experiences, visit friends, and yes, even get in some RNR.
Finding Your Groove
Traveling is actually a pretty challenging skill to master. I think it takes a bit of getting used to. Years, even. This is because most of us are not traveling 24/7. We have jobs, school, commitments –some of us are just dirt poor. For this reason, it can take quite some time to acquire the acumen it takes to really get the whole traveling thing down.
It probably has a lot to do with your own personal style. Because let’s face it, there’s as many different ways to travel are there are different kinds of people. But I think if we could make broad, sweeping generalization for the purpose of learning this travel tip, I would separate people who travel into a few distinct groups.
From what I’ve noticed, people who love to hyper plan their trips are usually very destination and attraction focused. They prioritize tourist locations and big name attractions first and foremost. They usually feel let down if they don’t make it to all of the destinations that any given place can yield. Therefore they make sure to have an entire schedule in place so that not any minute can go to waste.
This kind of traveler is all about the journey, not the destination. He/she shows up at any given place, bag in hand, and doesn’t worry so much about where they might stay any given night, or what they might eat or what they might do. The way there is the fun part, figuring it out is why they travel.
The Wanderer will be drawn more to the feelings and vibes of where they go –the feeling of the wide open desert, the feeling of being with the locals in the coffee shop. Whatever it is, the wanderer is all about good vibes, cool sites, and doesn’t really care about whatever monument is plastered on the post cards from the place they are headed to next.
For this traveler, everything exists to support the night life. The partier might choose a very centrally located place from which to launch their excursion of good times. Tourism and adventure does not matter nearly as much as the highs of a good night out, so they’ll be packing heavy loads (shoes, shirts, dresses, hats, swim suits) to make sure nothing gets in the way of them and that chilled mojito and sun.
All that matters to the visiter is that he/she has family or close friends to see at the location they are headed. For the visitor, it might not matter so much what sights they see or what night clubs they visit as it matters who they spend time with, and how that quality time is spent.
Tip 1: What Are Your Priorities?
If you can’t tell from the different kinds of travelers above, it’s pretty much impossible to fit EVERYTHING into your vacation. Inevitably, you will have to choose what matters most to you, and stick to those things first. Are you going to make time to visit friends at the expense of an all day trip to a theme park? Are you going for a night out but because of that missing the morning sunrise walk because you’re too hung over to get up at 6am?
Choose what matters most to you in advance and that will help you make your vacation more fulfilling.
Tip 2: Cut Out Chores
Now that we’ve gone over a few of the different kinds of people that like to travel, let’s dig into how to really get the most out of your vacation. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to ensure you make the most out of your vacation is to CUT OUT THE CHORES.
And I mean it. As many as possible.
Okay, I’m not saying you should stay at an all inclusive resort and have people waiting on you hand and foot. This costs a lot of money and will hamper the amount of traveling that you can do. You can stay in a condo you find online or Air BNB etc… where you make all your own food. But you still want to find a way to cut out any unnecessary work so you can focus on fun.
Choose somewhere centrally located
It may be cheaper to stay in the suburbs of the city you are visiting, but how much time will you waste getting in and out of the city? Unless your trip is itself a road trip, do not waste time commuting to and from destinations. Find somewhere somewhat affordable (even in the less nice part of town) as long as it is within a few minutes of everything you want to visit during your trip. Save the commute when you are back home for work.
You might find it hard to bring oodles and oodles of food with you if you are jet setting. But the first thing you should do is visit a grocery store. Get all the food you are going to need for impromptu brunches, snacks, dinners etc…You do not want to have nothing around so that instead of going to your desire location you are stuck looking for a diner you can hardly afford, or worse –eating at whatever overpriced tourist trap happens to be closest to you. If you are road tripping, get the food preparations done before you head out. If you are flying, get it done ASAP so you don’t have to worry about it down the road. Your tummy and your pocket book will thank you for it later.
Tip 3: Enable Spontaneity
You won’t like this is if you are the tourist type of traveler. But I think the best way to really spark your short trip is to ditch the busy schedule. Not that you can’t be busy. But schedules are for the work week –they have no place in your wanderlust. Plus, breaking from the routine for a weekend or a week can really reenergize you for when you get back to work, instead of leaving you drained upon returning.
Tip 4: Carve Out Time Alone
A lot of us twenty somethings will be going on regular trips with a plethora/gaggle/pack of friends. We love it. But just because you are on a friend vacation does not mean you some how lose your need for alone time. Fight the urge to spend every minute with your besties, even if it means missing out on one of your desire locations. Find a garden nearby, go for a walk by yourself, or stay behind and make use of the quiet space for a bit of reading or cooking.
The same is true if you are a couple. Find date time away from your friends to go out as a couple and reinforce your togetherness –or if going away as a couple without friends, maybe go for a walk by yourself or read a book. Alone time as a couple and as an individual will really help you avoid travel burnout when you get back home, and still let you get the most out of your vacation.
That’s it for now! Hope this travel tip helps, and reach out to me on social media for any questions you might have about making traveling work on a busy schedule as a young professional.