Sweetie and I are full-time employees and busy parents. However, as you have seen in our blog, we allot a considerable time enjoying lots of trips and adventures. Have you ever wondered how we were able to pull it off despite our hectic schedules and heavy responsibilities?
Many people ask the same question. Well, let us tell you. It’s all about strategy. Time strategy to be exact. Years of traveling and adventuring taught us some easy techniques that could buy us a lot of time without sacrificing our careers, moments with the family, and just-me sessions.
I’d love to travel but I don’t have time. It’s good that you have all the time in the world. We’re different because you’re not as busy as I am. You can do that because your child is already grown up. I’m a busy (fill in the blank), so I don’t have time for traveling.
Do these excuses sound familiar? For us, these are baloney, and we’re tired of hearing them. All of us have 24 hours in a day. Let us share 16 tips on how we manage to keep traveling and adventuring despite our full-time responsibilities.
Researching for flight and ship schedules, itineraries, activity details, and the like is your proverbial “first line of defense.” By knowing important information beforehand, you can properly plan out not just your schedule but also your budget and other essentials. You can acquire such information from websites, blogs, forums, travel guides, and tips from friends who had visited the place or experienced the activity. Many amazing, hassle-free, and memorable trips and adventures can be traced back to thorough and detailed research.
2. Strictly reserve weekends and rest days for adventure.
You did your best and worked hard for the entire week. Your weekends and rest days are your rewards; use those days to go adventuring. Do not be tempted to go to the office, or get tempted into rendering overtime. Make sure your colleagues and bosses know that weekends are your personal time; during our interviews, we made sure our interviewers understand that we are travelers. Remember that work will always be there—you have five or six days of it in a week—while you have a limited time for your sojourns.
If possible, switch off your phone, tablet, or laptop to avoid distractions; we don’t use our phones or gadgets (other than our cameras, of course) when we go traveling.
3. Look for adventures and destinations near you.
Just because you see photos and videos of people enjoying a faraway, exotic destination doesn’t mean that you need to go out of town. Merely traveling there already takes a huge chunk of your adventure time. Instead, look for activities and destinations that are near your home. You can enjoy an exciting adventure in the next village, town, or municipality. All it takes is just a tricycle, van, or bus ride that takes an hour or two. Heck, Sweetie and I are from Cebu, but we barely scratched the island’s seemingly endless retinue of natural attractions and amazing adventures in our 5-year relationship!
4. Join company outings and group trips.
Companies usually organize team outings, celebrations, and trips. Join these activities. Not only will you visit cool destinations or experience amazing adventures but you will also save money; in most cases, companies shoulder all or most of the expenses. Plus, you will have an opportunity to share the fun with your colleagues.
5. Take overnight trips or red-eye flights.
On out-of-town trips, we recommend you take overnight bus trips and red-eye flights. That’s because on the following day, you can allocate most of your time enjoying adventures and visiting attractions than traveling to the destination. Being able to save money on accommodation constitutes an added benefit.
Sweetie and I love overnight boat trips. We get to sleep in a real bed, wake up in the morning revitalized, and often have time to freshen up in the ship’s shower stalls before heading out to our adventure.
6. Take the last trip in going home.
By taking the last flight, float, or bus trip back home, you extend your adventure time for a few hours. You won’t have to cut off your sojourn just to catch an earlier trip.
In fact, Sweetie and I follow a formula: going out, earliest trip. Going home, last trip.
7. Take advantage of non-working holidays.
In a calendar year, there are usually several non-working holidays. Make use of these holidays to visit dream destinations and experience exciting activities. If your company observes local, national, and international non-working holidays, then you are indeed very lucky! Don’t waste these free days sulking in your home like a couch potato.
8. Take your vacation leaves.
Sadly, many employees fail to avail of their vacation leaves. Some choose not to take them and instead go to work so they can earn more money. Some do not take them with the expectation that they can be converted into cash at the end of the year. And some, especially high-level managers and executives, simply forego their vacation leaves altogether.
This should not be the case if you want to insert your passion for adventure in your life. As what we said earlier, work will always be there. Money can always be re-generated. Time, on the other hand, cannot. A minute lost is lost forever.
9. Strategically arrange your leaves.
You can enjoy longer adventure times if you sandwich non-working days between leaves. For example, for longer leaves, we position our vacation leaves before and after two weekends; that gives us four days of fun.
It becomes even better if there are non-working holidays before or after weekends. During Holy Week, for example, file a leave on Wednesday and another one on Monday after Easter Sunday. That gives you 6 days (Wednesday to Monday) of adventure time.
10. Do an exemplary job.
Wait, what does work have to do with getting time to go adventuring? A lot actually. Because we turn out honest, impressive, thorough, and detailed work, our bosses are more than happy to approve our leaves. In fact, on more than one occasion, they actually asked us to take one-week leaves to take advantage of a rare opportunity/invitation or to reward ourselves for our hard work. Exceeded the number of our paid vacation leaves? No problem. Our superiors simply tell us to take the leaves even if they are unpaid.
Thus, devote all your working hours to accomplish an exemplary job and wholeheartedly help your company achieve its goals. Finishing your work on time also lessens your chances of working overtime or on holidays and weekends. Thus, you can go adventuring on these days rather than pounding on your keyboard to finish a project.
11. Be healthy.
Health is wealth, and in our case, health means extra time for enjoying exciting sojourns. Traveling and engaging in adventures are physical activities, from riding in airplanes to walking dirt trails. If you are not in the best of health, you’ll probably spend more time in bed than on the summit of a mountain.
Exercise regularly, have a balanced diet, have a positive disposition, and live a healthy lifestyle so you’ll have more time for your passion.
12. Ask your loved ones to watch over your house, children, or pets.
One of the things that make us Filipinos very lucky is the fact that we have strong familial ties. Use this to your advantage. Ask your parents, siblings, or relatives to watch over your possessions while you are away. If you can’t bring your child with you (e.g. too young to travel, school days, etc.), have a trusted relative to take care of him or her. Not only will they temporarily free you of your responsibilities, but you won’t have to worry about the most special things and people in your life, knowing that they are in the hands of someone you trust.
Be sure though to leave enough money and provisions for those left behind before leaving the house. And it’s always a good gesture to bring your relatives some pasalubong when you return as an expression of gratitude.
13. Plan out your out-of-town trips yearly.
We are not advocates of impromptu plans on long trips or major adventures. Instead, we plan them out several months ahead; in fact, we often plan them a year in advance! That’s too much, you might think. But for us, it makes perfect sense. We can set up our itineraries, adjust them as necessary, make advanced bookings, and more with a huge margin of time for modifications. Because we have decided on our adventure schedules early, we have bigger chances to avail of promo fares, hotel discounts, rate lock-downs, and outfitter price cut-offs. In addition, we also have a longer time to save money for the adventures we planned.
One basic way to do year-long planning is to count the number of vacation leaves available to you. Then allot these leaves in your calendar, taking special consideration on Tips 7 and 9 in this blog post.
14. Be on time.
One of our pet peeves whenever we organize a trip is when invitees come late. This is not just annoying, but it can throw your entire schedule off track. Thus, if you plan to ride the first bus trip at 5 AM, for example, then you should be at the terminal at 4:30 AM so you can board that bus. Otherwise, you will waste a whole lot of time waiting for the next bus—time that you could have spent adventuring!
15. Do it while you’re still young and able.
It’s good to save for retirement but not if the price is to forego your passion for adventure. We’ve seen old folks who desperately want to trek, swim, climb, or travel; but they can’t do those things anymore due to their existing physical ailments and mental conditions. We watch them in silent pity as they struggle up pumpboat ladders, stay in the shade to avoid the sun, or ask for assistance in walking on trails. When we asked them about their most fervent wish, we receive virtually the same answer: to turn back the clock and do the things they wanted to do when they were still young.
As far as we observed, most of the money you save for retirement will mostly go to your medicines, your debts, living expenses, your grown-up children, or your grandchildren. Most likely, you won’t be able to truly enjoy your savings. Thus, while your body and mind can still handle it, go out and explore the world. Life is finite, so make the most of it by doing what you really love.
16. Commit to your schedule.
It doesn’t matter if you have all the money and time in the world. The 15 tips above won’t be any use to you if you don’t make the commitment to adhere to your schedule. This is one of the most pervasive dilemmas (and frankly, one of the most annoying excuses) of those who say they want to travel.
You have your scheduled trips and activities, but when the time comes or draws near, you suddenly rescind on your own plans for one reason or another! Why? You already planned for them, so what’s the problem? Supposedly, there should be no reason for you to back out unless there’s an earth-shaking emergency, a security issue in your destination, or a sudden bout of natural calamities/bad weather that can jeopardize your safety. Don’t back out of your trip or adventure other than the reasons above!
Each person in the world has 24 hours a day to spend. You do not have fewer or more hours than anyone else. How you spend them is all up to you. Thus, if you want to pursue your passion of adventure, then you need to dedicate some time for it; there is no other way.
We hope that the 16 tips above, all from first-hand experience, will help you set aside that much-needed time to satisfy your cravings for excitement, exploration, and discovery.