Managing a heavy workload and a burning desire to see the world can be a tough balancing act. Not everyone can take a month or more off of work to travel. In fact, most of us are subject to work restrictions, busy schedules, and limited vacation days. Even so, it's painful to see everyone's beautiful vacation pictures posted on Facebook while you’re stuck at your desk.
With so much of the world to see, there’s no point in putting off your travel ambitions for a hypothetical future where you’ll have more time. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make the most of your limited time off and travel with a busy work schedule.
(Photo courtesy of wwarby)
Sometimes a weekend out of town can be enough to temporarily sate your travel lust. If you can take off Monday or Friday, you can enjoy a long weekend far away from your normal routine. The United States is full of interesting cities that can be explored in just a couple of days. Alternatively, a weekend spent in the country or camping in a national park can be very restorative.
The key to fully enjoying a weekend away is to aim for somewhere easy to get to—you don't want travel time to eat up your entire vacation. Keep an eye out for cheap flight specials or pick somewhere within driving distance. To make the most of your shortbreak, plan your activities ahead of time, but leave a little room for spontaneity.
Leverage Holiday Breaks
Even the busiest people usually get days off for major holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July. If you don't mind skipping out on your usual traditions, these are actually ideal times to go on vacation. Take advantage of this free time off by adding a few vacation days on either end. For example, it's easy to turn the Thanksgiving holiday into an entire week off without using a week's worth of vacation days.
To avoid the closures and flying nightmares that come with traveling domestically during the holidays, consider planning an international vacation. While everything in the United States may be closed on Thanksgiving Day, in every other part of the world it’s business as usual.
Build On Work Trips
Transportation costs can be a major travel deterrent. If you’re lucky enough to have a job that involves business trips, you can take advantage of the expensed flights. Most business trips leave little time for exploration; so, if you’re traveling to a new location, try to spend a few extra days there to truly experience the area. Talk to your company and see if it’s possible to postpone your flight home for a few days, then get ready to play tourist. If you're not interested in sightseeing in that particular location, find out what’s interesting within driving distance and rent a car.
Make Travel a Priority
The most important thing you can do to help incorporate travel into your busy life is to actually make it a priority. Sometimes the perfect trip drops into your lap, but more often finding the time, money, and energy to travel takes a bit of effort. Keep an eye out for gaps in your schedule and leverage your vacation days for maximum efficiency. With a little bit of effort and an eye for opportunity, you’ll be out of the office and under a beach umbrella in no time.
Editor-in-Chief and owner of Twenty-Something Travel, Stephanie Yoder, is a contributor for TripIt’s blog. In 2010, Stephanie left her office job to become a freelance writer and blogger. Stephanie has spent time living in China, Argentina and Mexico. Married to a fellow travel blogger, Stephanie’s life is full of adventure and new places. With a natural itch to be on the move, she had dedicated her life to traveling and sharing her adventures with the world.