Cramming so much into a short time can leave us feeling drained. It happens to everyone.
With that said, returning from an amazing trip can result in that “I need a vacation from my vacation” feeling. Which is why we often choose to have a buffer day–or more if you’re like Katie and I–to recover after getting home. This works out most of the time.
However, what if your flights are more affordable on a Sunday and you can’t take Monday off work to recover? Do you pay the extra $100 or so to return on Saturday or do you start your Monday at work feeling miserable? Or have the alternative be to do less on your trip?
You can slow down your trip and still maximize your days.
Here are some of our tips to manage that time and avoid that end-of-trip energy drain:
Lists, lists, LISTS. They. Are. Necessary. I know this goes without saying, but most overlook this and try to fly off the seat of their pants. But when time is as limited as your funds, it pays off both chronically and financially.
Make a list of sites to see, from most to least important. Make sure your travel companion(s) do the same. Determine where your lists match up and list the sites you both/all have listed. Then, prioritize those items together.
Map It Out
Take that city map and mark where you will be staying. Then, mark all the sites you prioritized. Sectioning off that map into quadrants or into areas for each day, will allow you to avoid running from one side to another for sightseeing.
Some apps provide assistance and access to the free attractions too. GPSmyCity is a great app to organize your daily plans for a variety of popular cities. If you’re more visually traditional, you can go to your local Barnes & Noble or online and find a MapEasy or Popout folded map to lay out your itinerary too.
Plan Each Day
Doing less often means doing little bit more before you go. And that’s okay.
Choose an area or, if you’re exploring a country, a specific region/city for each day.
Then decide if you want to get up early or not. Ready to head out, with some fuel, around 9 or 10 am allows some rest yet enough time in your day for a leisurely pace.
Select 2 or 3 Things Per Location
Plan a lunch or coffee at a fun cafe, and end your day with a little souvenir shopping. Keep it unstructured as much as you can, don’t over schedule the day. If you spend 3 hours in one museum and an hour in a bookshop, then you may not want to try to rush to make a scheduled tour. Instead, if you plan any tours earlier in your day, then the rest of the day you can just explore the area and not feel rushed.
Rest (Or Open) Days
Make sure you allow yourself a least one day that has nothing scheduled. And if you’re like Katie and I–and can spare it–utilize the first day as another. Whether you go overseas or not, flights can be exhausting and leave you inflated.
Jet lag can be rough. So take the arrival day to settle into your hotel or hostel, get your bearings and an extended nap with a meal. Believe me, we learned that quickly.
Rest days can also be good in the middle or at the end of your trip too. You can have these days to see what you missed, due to trying time or a few sites tallied that you’ve yet to see. Or you can have these free days to ease into the departure process. You will feel less rushed, more relaxed and without energy drainage by the final day.
Do What Works (for you)
If you want to hit the ground running on day one with that hurried and jam-packed pace until the middle of your trip, with an unscheduled day to slow down, then do that!
Cram the first couple days of your week with tours and shows. See as much as you can in two or three map sections. Then slow things down for the last half of your trip. It doesn’t have to be a race. It’s true when Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Vacations are no exception to this philosophy.
As for the alternative, if you’d rather have one planned event and the rest be coming as you go, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that too. A vacation is to be enjoyed and treasured, not constrained by stress and over-thinking time you think you do or don’t have. Just be prepared.
It can be tempting to try to see everything in one trip. Oftentimes, we don’t know when we will get an opportunity to return to as city, so it can feel like the once-in-a-lifetime chance to do it all. However, if this leaves you feeling fatigued, stressing over every detail instead of enjoying your time, and then inevitably needing a vacation from your vacation, maybe doing less will ease that.
“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed and wonder often for the world is wide and adventure awaits.” – Emylee