Not enough time. The words that are uttered relentlessly from just about everyone when asked why they haven’t been on a vacation. For those of us that travel frequently, believe it or not, those words are uttered just as much. Like an addictive drug, we spend days pouring over the possibilities of getting away from it all. Unfortunately, if you are one of the many peons that slug it out all day in a 9-5, finding time for vacations can be even more difficult. But there are ways to achieve all the demands on your time and add to your destination list. The theory of “kill two birds with one stone” can apply more than you think. If you are creative enough and don’t mind the possible rush that you could put yourself in by loading up your schedule, you can feed your addiction quite easily.
Travel on the Dime of Another
Of course there’s an inexpensive way to see new places if your career entails traveling. Sure, some of the places may not be as exciting or sexy as others, but if you’re looking to fill that void, well anyplace may do. I’d rather not go into some of the places I’ve explored due to incredulous looks and maybe a few hurt feelings from those who may reside or visit often. Obviously, everyone’s tastes differ but if you look hard enough and map out your trip correctly, you never know what travel treasures you may unearth. For business road trips, you may have the luxury of defining your own time which can open up places that are maybe within a short drive.
The conference, on the other hand, is where you may be able to cash in on the experiences you are looking to fulfill your desire for travel. For those who attend these regularly, you may find yourself on the “conference circuit”. Vegas, Orlando, San Diego, Denver, Chicago and Seattle come to mind. Depending on the career path you choose, you may find yourself visiting these places multiple times over the course of your work life.
Don’t Be A Recluse
Coming across conference attendees who opt to stay in their rooms after their work obligations are met isn’t anything new. It’s easy enough to suggest to yourself that you’ve done everything there is to do in a particular city. But, if you set your sights just a bit further, surprises could be around every corner. Probably the worst excuse I hear from conference attendees is that they don’t know anyone so it’s simpler just to head to the room than explore. Believe me, as a closet introvert I know that feeling but there are way too many options that would not entail getting into drawn out conversations. Maybe its a hop-on hop-off tour, or just a simple visit to an art museum or a park. Most people just need to step out of the hotel and get a little lost…with your smartphone of course.
Take a city like Las Vegas for instance. If you’ve been to Vegas, you’ve done Vegas. Unless you are of the gambling sort, you may even groan when the Vegas location announcement is made. But did you know that within several hours though you could find yourself hiking a snow-capped mountain in Mt. Charleston to the north, a day trip to Death Valley to the west and multiple options with the Grand Canyon to the east. Heck, Hoover Dam is a great place to get some dam bait! Just this one location offers countless opportunities by carving out a few hours or even a couple of days to really make it feel like more of a vacation than a work obligation. And yes, Vegas can be family made if you plan accordingly. In recounting my trips each year, I rarely look at them in terms of work obligations if I can spice them up a bit. Below are just a few trips off the beaten path from a conference we have taken.
When Cheap is Good!
The ideal reason for adding personal travel to a work trip is obvious, the cost savings. By adding an adventure to your agenda, you could conceivably save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars depending on the location. A perfect example for me was a trip this past year to Seattle. Being the carrier of the coveted Southwest Companion pass for my wife, I was able to book my trip to Seattle and add my wife to the ticket for free. On top of that, I expensed my employer the money for my paid ticket which enabled me to purchase airline tickets for my two kids. What would typically cost all of us hundreds of dollars equaled out to some airport taxes. Add the hotel that was paid for by my employment and my food expense, and we had a full-fledged summer vacation for minimal dollars instead of thousands of dollars! It may all sound confusing but it’s actually quite simple.
Make Excuses to Travel
When planning college visits for our daughter over the last few years, we managed to make mini vacations out of all of the trips. Being that the schools were in New England allowed us to get to new places in a relatively short amount of time. It also helps that the scenery on the campuses were a beautiful view in of itself. I even managed the triple shot which was a short business trip that I added a college visit and did some sightseeing. They don’t always work out as neatly as this, but if you plan well enough, even the most difficult trips can be made into wonderful experiences.
The reality is this when it comes to traveling, there’s really no good excuse for not getting out and seeing what adventure is waiting for you. People who know me believe me to be crazy as I look for every scenario to plan a trip when there is no trip. Work is only an obligation if you make it out to be one. For those who travel for a living and get paid? Kudos to you! But for the rest of the audience that must trudge through the daily grind to receive a paycheck, you take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. In a word, you improvise. Do the research and make the schedules work in your favor and you will find solace that you are still making your dreams a reality. And maybe you will be lucky enough to enjoy wanderlust on someone else’s dime. Isn’t that what we all want anyways? A free ride?
“Live within your means, Travel Beyond Them”