Most of us have a travel bucket list – places we definitely want to see in our lives. Most of these lists, however, turn into just nice dreams that we eventually tell ourselves will never really come true. There are lots of excuses for not hitting the bucket list “full blast” and checking off some of those places. Sometimes it is the cost; but most often, the excuse is “never enough time.” If that is your excuse, then you might want to consider these 7 tips that can get you some of that time.
1. Visit Multiple Countries per Vacation
This will take some artful planning, but it can be done, even if you only have two weeks. The first step will be looking at your list and grouping countries together that are in close proximity with one another. For example, if you have Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand on your list, this is fully doable in two weeks – if you plan. The same can be said for Switzerland, France and Austria, or for Peru, Chili, and Argentina.
Once you have those countries identified, you are ready to make your next list. What are the “must-sees” in each country? Get out those maps, mark them all, and plan your itinerary accordingly. Getting the right sequence of stops will be a huge time saving. Once you have the most time-effective sequence, then you make your arrangements.
Remember, a two-week vacation has 3 weekends too, so you really have a full 16 days for your trip.
Now, are there places that must be single destinations? Of course. If you are traveling to China or Australia, for example, you may want to make those single trips. The same would go for a safari in Kenya (although you might be able to squeeze in one other country in Africa).
2. Make the Most of 3-Day Weekends
There is 4 Monday holidays ever year – Labor Day President’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, and Memorial Day. These allow a 3-day weekend that can be utilized for travel to closer places. Now that tourist travel is coming to Cuba, for example, you might have that on your bucket list. A three-day weekend is perfect if you can get a flight out on Thursday night and return on Sunday night. And because there is no “jet lag,” The entire weekend can be spent touring. Perhaps you want a long-weekend in New York to see the sights and a Broadway play – perfect!
3. Tips for the Self-Employed
You are often the people who complain most about not having the time to travel. You feel the burden of meeting deadlines for clients or customers; you have projects that must be completed. You complain that you can never really plan time away because, as soon as you plan that vacation, something comes up that can’t wait. Again, you can find the time with some definite planning.
First, if you really want two-weeks a year to get away and see those places you dream about, look at your regular mundane paperwork and housekeeping tasks that require attention all the time. It’s hard to get away with those types of task responsibilities. Consider outsourcing some of the paperwork if only temporarily. One business owner found a contract freelancer for bookkeeping and accounting. She agreed to take on his tasks two weeks each year. Given the digital nature of these tasks, moreover, this is a much more feasible option than it was years ago. And if you have a partnership? No excuse whatsoever!
4. Buy Vacation Time
That’s right – buy it. Many organizations, in attempting to satisfy some of the demands of millennials for more work flexibility are now allowing employees to “buy” extra vacation time. This used to be termed “time off without pay,” and it kicked in only when an employee had used up all of his/her vacation and sick leave but still took days off. Now, this is negotiated in advance and planned for.
5. Leverage for Business Travel
If you travel for work, or if you are attending a conference somewhere close to a place on your list, you have great opportunity to use nights for sightseeing; you also can use a couple of days on either side of that trip for your personal travel goals. Suppose, for example, that you attend a conference in Michigan for a week. You have always wanted to visit Mackinac Island and/or the Upper Peninsula. Take two days of vacation on the following Monday and Tuesday, and, adding in the weekend, you have 4 days for yourself.
6. Use the Days Between Christmas and New Years
Think about this. Christmas and New Year’s both fall on a Thursday. And Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are half days at work. Take the ½ day of Christmas Eve and the Friday after Christmas. Then take the following Monday and Tuesday, 1/2 of New Year’s Eve, and the Friday after New Year’s Day. You have taken a total of 5 vacation days and have 12 straight days off. Christmas in Belize is delightful!
7. Consider Work in a Foreign Country
Even if your current job does not provide any opportunity to work in a foreign country, you can get creative if you are willing to take a few risks for the sake of travel. Build a freelance business on the side that will ultimately allow you to live anywhere. When it becomes profitable, quit your job, go full time and move where you wish. Or take a new job that will provide opportunities in places that are on your list. Teach English in another country; join a cruise ship line; locate foreign companies that need the skills you have.
That bucket list can get whittled down. It takes planning, some creative thinking, and determination. You can find the time.
Norman Arvidsson is a freelance web developer with more than two years of experience behind him and also a contributing blogger. Interest in such areas as web-design, web development, motivation, online education, and personal growth. Also, have a passion for traveling. You can contact him through his Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.