We are all so busy these days…between work, kids, family/friend obligations and day-to-day projects, sometimes it seems that finding time for travel takes a back burner to everything. Leaving many of us to ask, “How do I find the time to travel?”
I feel your pain.
Even though travel has ALWAYS been a priority for me, I do have a full-time job and other interests…so I have had to get very creative over the years when trying to plan the next adventure. It hasn’t always been easy, but then is anything worthwhile easy? Over time, I’ve learned some strategies, and some valuable lessons…I’d like to share some of these in the hopes that I can help you plan your dream getaway.
Invariably one has to make sacrifices…do you want to take x number of days off for a big trip, or a bunch of little 2-3 day sojourns to head to a nearby destination? Make a list of places you want to go, and set a 2-5 year plan on when to take them. As time goes on, adjust accordingly. Your wish list of destinations will surely evolve.
Ask yourself, is the desire to go to a certain destination equal to the sacrifices (however big or small) I have to make to take the trip? Desire is the key to getting just about anything accomplished.
I mean…really…let’s set Priorities here, people!
Do you want to take those 3-4 work days off between Xmas and New Years to stay at home, or do you want use that time elsewhere in the year to go somewhere fabulous? Do you want to help Aunt Vera paint her entire downstairs, or do you want to take that Alaskan cruise? Sometimes these are the choices we have to make (Aunt Vera can find someone else to help her.) It’s up to you to decide what is more important to you. If you really do want to help Aunt Vera out, save the cruise for next year.
Don’t be afraid to go it alone.
Let’s suppose you and your travel companion(s) just can’t seem to sync up your schedules to find the right time to go. If you REALLY want to go, go BY YOURSELF! Solo travel is just starting to catch fire, and it’s not going away anytime soon. There are dozens of tour companies specializing in solo travel. It’s fantastic way to meet new people, even if you’re an introvert. You will surely run into solo kindred spirit introverts.
If you’re an extrovert there will be so many opportunities to meet new people. And if you’re a mix of both, I don’t have to tell you you’re gonna have a BLAST either way. It’s really quite refreshing to not have to compromise with others on the where’s and when’s of your trip. Here you are the captain of your own ship. Steer it!
Don’t underestimate the power of a long weekend trip.
Take off as soon as you finish work on Thursday. That way you’ll have 3 or 4 whole days for vaca, and only take two days off! It almost feels like you’re taking a whole week! If it’s just about finding down-time out of the house, consider a short staycation at a local hotel, or better yet a B&B or Air BnB. The very definition of “vacation” is to recharge our batteries, and to do that we often need to look at things from a different perspective. Simply getting out of the house and in a different environment is the best way to do that.
Want to take that dream trip to visit several countries overseas, but don’t think you can take more than a week? Think again.
Case in point: Many years ago (I won’t say how many, that wouldn’t be very ladylike) I worked for a clothing company where the employee handbook said employees could only take one week at a time. That’s even if you had more than a week’s vacation time saved up. I wanted to take a solo trip around Europe for two weeks. So what did I do?
I simply asked my boss for two weeks off, fully expecting that my request would be denied. Guess what? That’s right, he approved it. (I did tell him what I would be doing during that time.)
Never hurts to ask!
These days most employers know the value of giving an employee more than the standard week vacation time when they ask for it. After a longer period of down-time, people tend to come back into the office better workers, and more productive. Some companies will even give you up to a month if you negotiate it properly. And if you can afford to take a few extra days without pay, go for it!
Want to go BIGGER (a lot bigger)?
Take a career break. Again, more businesses are warming up to this idea, by letting their employees take months (or even up to a year) away to take that coveted round-the-world trip, or sabbatical. Unpaid, of course. There are multitudes of people, whether just graduating from university, or those who need a mid-career break, that take steps financially to be able to do this. Here are a couple of resources, should you be considering a longer travel break.
So if you really want to travel, you have no excuses. Asking for what you want and getting creative with your time will do wonders for your travel plans. You just have to WANT it! This is by no means an exhaustive list. I know there are other creative ways to make time for travel. I’m eager to hear what YOU do to make the time for your travel plans!
Whether traveling across town or across the world, travel opens our minds, recharges our batteries, and allows us to spend quality time with others, or ourselves!