One thing I hear a lot of people complain about a lot is their vacation time, and as a travel agent, I hear people complain a lot. I have a friend who deals with a crazy commute every day, but she says she’d deal with the commute because she also gets five weeks’ vacation each year. Five weeks! We all can’t be that lucky though.
Me, the travel agent, gets a measly two weeks of vacation time a year, and being in my early 30s, most of that time is built around weddings, bachelorettes, and celebrating those milestones with friends. But I don’t let that get in my way. In the past five years, I have really made the most of my vacation time. There are a few little secrets that I have to make sure you get the most of your vacation.
Schedule your trip right
Take advantage of long weekends as much as you can. All of the trips I took in 2017 were based around a long weekend. When I moved across country, I lost all of my vacation time and had to start over earning when I started at my new company. I didn’t let not having vacation time keep me from exploring. You can visit a lot of new places over a weekend, and especially a long weekend.
Spend money on convenience
If you only have a short amount of time, now is not the time to pinch your pennies. Pay for a guided tour if that means you can see more in a shorter amount of time. Take that Uber rather than walking. Only have one night in Paris? Don’t wait in line at the Louvre, take a tour where you can skip the line and get to the front to see all of the must-see pieces of art. Spend the night at dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel or the Champagne Bar. Eating dinner and experiencing the tower kills two birds with one stone.
Make reservations or do quick food options
Don’t waste time sitting at an ok restaurant waiting to be sat. If there is a restaurant at the top of your to-do list, make reservations. Don’t really care where you eat, grab something on the go. You can still east local food quick, without wasting time. When I was in London, we wanted to try a falafel house that everyone was raving about. But we were in a rush the night we were near the restaurant so we ordered them to go and eat them as we walked. Got my falafel and went on my way.
Don’t cram in too much
Last summer I had to talk a client out of visiting 8 European countries in 15 days. She would have been spending more time going to airports and train stations then actually seeing anything. You’d be surprised how many people want to cram so much into a quick trip. Trust me, it will not be enjoyable.
Instead of trying to see a bunch of new places, dive into one city that you’ve never been to and explore. Before I go to a new city I always make a list of what I want to see and then I star a few things that I need to do. While I’m there I live like a local. Don’t rush through it. And then when you’re leaving, make a list of what you want to see next time you’re in town.
Take a red eye
When I was traveling from the west coast to east coast a few times a year, I had one of two options. Take a day flight which meant waste a whole day in the air, at an airport, and driving to and from the airport. But instead I always opted to drive to the airport after work, hop on a red eye and wake up in New York. Red eyes save you so much time. They aren’t always ideal, but get as comfortable as you can on board and sleep.
Do your research
Don’t waste time being indecisive or not knowing when attractions are open. Know your shit! It will help you save time. Now still be spontaneous, spontaneous and indecisive are very different. But if you have a restaurant you need to eat at, make sure you know when they’re open and make a reservation.