As we are part-time travellers due to having full-time work commitments, it is important for us to use our annual leave days wisely. This is to ensure we fit in as many trips per year as possible. By utilising weekends and bank holidays we take at least one, quite often two trips per month. However, most of which are only 2 or 3 nights. Therefore we need to ensure we cram in as much as we can in that time in order to see as much of the place we are visiting as possible. The only way we can do that feasibly is by having a schedule and sticking to it.
I think working in the corporate world has given me a good grounding for producing schedules and sticking to timings. It is just something that I do now. When I have time to kill, I tend to panic and bit and find it hard to relax. That is why we very rarely opt for a beach holiday, as after a day or so of doing nothing, we get itchy feet and hunt down things to see or do nearby. Not having a schedule in place, leaves me a tad unsettled so even on our upcoming two-week ‘ beach’ holiday we have a rough plan in place.
So how do we do it and how do we stick to it? Here’s how.
Making Lists & Allocating Time
Therefore when planning a trip we always carry out loads of research, blogs, TripAdvisor, travel guides, forums etc make a list of the things that we want to do or see, often through a lot of discussion and compromise. Even though we love travelling together, we still have individual tastes and likes, so we want to ensure that we both get to do stuff we enjoy. We then allocate a set, yet adequate, amount of time to do or see each one. We then add up the time and if we have listed too much to do within our given time frame we simply bump the one or ones that we have the least interest in visiting or seeing. It sounds very restrictive, doesn’t it? But it works for us and we leave our destination feeling like we have seen as much as possible and without regret, something which we’ve vowed to live our lives without.
Wear A Watch To Stick To Schedule
Due to having a list of places to visit and set times to visit them, it’s imperative at least one of us wears a watch. I have to wear a watch, my brain doesn’t work well when I forget to put mine on in the morning and I continually try to check the time even though I know it’s not there. If we have tickets or reservations it’s important to keep an eye on the time to ensure we are not late (a major pet peeve) or even worse, miss them. I normally wear my iWatch. However, I do have a habit of forgetting to charge it. I also don’t like whipping my mobile phone out to check the time, as you don’t know what opportunists are looking. Therefore, when ADEXE London sent me a Meek – Grande Rosegold watch to roadtest, our recent trips to Oslo and The Hague seemed like the perfect places to try it out, especially as our itineraries were jam-packed for both.
Take Into Account Our Normal Routine
One thing we also do is base our travel schedule around our normal daily routine timing – i.e. wake up, lunch and dinner times and bed. Mr ESLT is an early bird and I am a night owl. Therefore, we need to get the mix right. The odd early morning or late night, we can handle, but not every day as it messes up one of our internal clocks. If we are taking only a short trip, we don’t want to knock our normal routine out of sync as it is super hard to get back into it once we return home. This proves to be a massive problem if we have to go straight back to work after our trip. In order to keep a happy balance, we normally start our schedule for the day’s activities around 10 am and finish around 6 pm barring dinner plans and evening shows, of course, we don’t hit the hay at 6 pm, well not often anyway!
Take Organised Tours
We find that organised tours are a great way of seeing the top things to do in a short space of time and we often book tours with local companies and more recently through TripAdvisor. We also check out ‘free’ walking tours, where you pay how much you think the tour was worth at the end of it. A lot of people like independent exploration and we do to a certain degree, however, we also like having a tour guide so we can ask questions if needed. There is normally a tour called something like ‘city highlights’ which means we can tick a lot of the biggies off our list in one day. Obviously, you don’t get much time at each sight or attraction, but often it is enough. We also love hop on hop off buses and have taken them all over the world. Most have bus stops at all the big attractions making getting to them very easy if a dedicated organised tour really isn’t your thing.
Include Some ‘Me’ Time
And of course, any schedule needs some ‘me’ time included in it. Whether it be a couple of hours per day just to do what you want at that moment in time. Or whether it is a couple of hours every afternoon to enjoy a cheeky cocktail (or five) or siesta (come on, who doesn’t love a nap?). After all, even though you only have a limited amount of time at your destination, you are in effect still on holiday (paid commissions and press trips aside of course) and self-care is super important.
If it all goes wrong, which it has previously, then so be it, that’s life and it leaves you with some great travel stories 🙂 What sort of traveller are you? Are you like us and like to plan everything to a tee and stick to a schedule? Or are you a suck it and see kind of person? Let us know!
- Watch provided by ADEXE London.