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How To Maximize Time On A Short Vacation

How To Maximize Time On A Short Vacation

With all the hustle, stress, struggles, and the sacrifices we have to go through in order to make a living, I won’t blame you if every now and then you plan a short vacation for the next weekend just to get away from it all!

After a few short months, I have a strong feeling your feet will feel the itch again for another one. This is the story of young working professionals across the globe today. Even if this is the case, they still open communication lines and bring some work along while travelling. (Especially, Millennials; they insert small pockets of time for work while vacationing just to make sure they don’t lag behind on projects upon getting back to work). Who can blame them? All of us deserve to take breathers every once in a while. In fact, many of the people I have interviewed expressed a revelation. To them: travel is not luxury, it’s necessity.

In light of this, I’ve compiled a list of tips from travel experts to make the most of your time while disappearing this weekend.

Time-maximizing tips you can pocket before flying

Plan ahead.

As soon as you have decided where you want to go, ask in advance for time off from work, and inform your boss exactly when you want to take the trip. That way, you’ll know in advance if you’ll get the schedule you’ve chosen or not. Either way, you can prepare much sooner. This will ensure that once you leave the office on the prearranged date, you’ll just need a quick bath, carry your luggage, and be on your way. You will not waste time packing and preparing since you’ve done that earlier.

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Extend your weekend getaway.

Don’t settle for a 2-day weekend. You can target a schedule where you can have a 3-day weekend, or, better yet, go for a schedule where Monday is a holiday, and then ask for a day off on a Friday before that particular holiday-Monday so you can assemble a 4-day weekend. This will give you additional two days to sightsee and enjoy your destination.

Prioritize.

Create a list of your must-sees and must-dos during your planning period. Answer the question: What is important to you? Think of something you can’t afford not seeing or doing. Mark that as your priority and plan to do it before anything else. Schedule it. Make the necessary reservations. Do everything you need to do to prepare for that item on your list.

One of my friends said, “when my family went to Florence, I knew my wife wanted to behold the city as the sun sets. The statue of David wasn’t that important to her, so it was positioned last in our list.” Their vacation ended without visiting the statue, but they don’t feel bad. They are happy they had the opportunity to see and experience the items on top of their list.

Get some shut- eye.

If your trip is overnight, make the most of it by getting a good night sleep. Even if (yeah, it’s a given) the quality of sleep you’ll get on a bus or a plane is way poorer than your sleep in your own bed, you can do something to improve your chances of getting a good one by bringing shut-eye paraphernalia: an eye mask, Ostrich Pillow, and SleepPhones to create your own little doze sanctuary on the plane or bus.

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Factor in your destination time zone.

Travel expert  says, if you live in Chicago– and as much as you love to go to Asia or Europe– when it comes to traveling over a limited time (e.g. the 4-day weekend I suggested above), it is much wiser to fly south.

Why? Let me explain. First, time zones are close. The time difference between Chicago, Central and South America is just a few hours apart; the best part is in Central, there’s no time difference. As a consequence, your body won’t need to adjust and abruptly shift to a seven-hour time change. Surely, you wouldn’t want that! It may leave you sluggish for many hours which can spell a disaster. Remember, your trip is ultra short already.

Second, overnight flights are a better option; with them, time can be used more cleverly. Lots of flights going to South American countries like Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil have red-eyes that depart from Miami, Houston, or Fort Lauderdale around midnight and arrive in the morning. If, like my friend, you can drink a glass of wine and after a few minutes be ready to doze off anywhere (in this case) on the plane, it would be easy to decide and take this trip, because, you can fall asleep in Miami and wake up in Rio. Simple.

Stay in a hostel.

OK, hostels are cheap, but that’s not the only reason they’re a great place to stay. Being billeted in a hostel makes it easy to meet people and explore parts of the city that tourists may usually miss. I suggest you hang out in the common areas. They are commonly full of fun-seeking travelers like you, local guides looking for gigs, and bulletin boards filled with posters and flyers promoting local activities and festivals.

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Rent a bike instead of a car.

Biking around with the aim of having an adventure is one of the most effective ways of getting to know a new place. It’s obviously faster than walking, but slow enough to let you stop and visit a house museum or a quirky shop if that’s your fancy. And since you’re the navigator (and not a taxi driver) you’ll get acquainted to the town more quickly. Besides, you can hit the breaks and snap photos of hidden scenic spots whenever your inner artist prompts you to.

Book a hostel near the action.

This is self explanatory. If you stay near the places you want to see and want to be in close proximity to the activities you want to do, you’ll be quicker getting to them, and, for sure, you’ll be able to allot more time exploring the place.

Make an itinerary.

After you have set your priorities, start reserving spots and buying tickets for unique experiences your destination can offer, and schedule the rest of your vacation days around the top priorities in your list.

Do your assignment; find out the length of time it takes to get from activity A to activity B. It’s as easy as breathing to make your weekend’s itinerary with minimal wasted time. Creating an itinerary may even help you make more time to fit in additional precious experiences at your chosen destination!

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Do you have other ideas? Don’t hesitate to share them.

Featured photo credit: Plane above the head/Deniz Altindas via unsplash.com

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Anthony Dejolde

TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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