It’s 2011. People today are multi-taskers: always on the go, with little time to spare. We don’t just have careers, but second jobs and an array of extracurriculars in which we paricipate. We sit on organizational boards, train for and participate in marathons and triathlons, run blogs, promote and host events, and dabble in the arts. All of this while in school earning that coveted Masters or PhD. Some even have families. Suffice it to say, not everyone has the flexibility in their daily lives to just get up and go, to be a drifter. However, it is possible to incorporate travel into a busy schedule… and necessary, as too much work with no time to play can lead to a loss of creativity, morale and productivity, and eventually become a stress inducer.
Take advantage of ALL down time. There is bound to be a time when nothing is going on— jump on it! Use that time to go away, even for a short period. Utilize bank holidays like Independence, Memorial and Labor Day. This generally means “long weekend”— the perfect opportunity to catch a flight and escape for a bit. These holidays also give the flexibility to take an extra day or two for going and returning.
Have a concrete plan. When short on time, knowing what’s to come is of the utmost importance. Have a purpose for the trip (research will have to be done). Leave as little room for error as possible. Get to the airport early. Have accomodations booked in advance. If possible, have other necessary forms of transportation pre-booked. In other words, in this situation, “winging it” is inadvisable.
Travel for a cause. If interested in marathons, why not register for one in Spain and make a trip out of it? If charity is your thing, how about traveling to volunteer? If in school, find a way to make the trip about research. The point is to get away from your current situation and experience a new environment (**even if work has to be brought along— at least it’s being done on some remote beach instead of the office).
Don’t try going too far. If short on time, why try and go somewhere where spending an asinine amount of time on a plane is inevitable? Instead, opt for places that are easily within reach. This reduces the risk of those pesky, unwanted, prolonged layovers, and essentially cuts down on travel time overall, as well as any time spent recovering from jet lag.
Set a date in advance and stick with it. This is important: Make the time! Having those dates marked off makes it an absolute, and less likely to be ‘double booked’ or deemed any less important than work, school or an extracurricular. Think of it as therapy— something that needs to be done to remain sane.
There is no reason a person with a busier schedule can’t get away. Taking a break is ultimately good for our bodies and souls. Remember, it’s not always about the legnth of the trip, but how the time spent is relegated. As the old adage goes, “Quality over Quantity.” The idea is to come back refreshed and smiling. Happy travels! -VJ