How To Get The Most Out Of Your Two-Week Vacation

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Traveler's Toolbox  

reading-on-beach

By Sofie Couwenbergh

You’ve only got two weeks to travel each year and you want to get the most out of them. Unfortunately this usually means that you come back from your trip more tired than you were before you left.

To you, getting the most out of those two weeks equals stuffing your planning in the hope that you’ll get to check off as much sights and activities as possible.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can come back from your trip rejuvenated, well rested and with an entire new shelve of great travel memories.

Want to know how?

It’s all in the preparation.

Plan to travel carefree

Planning a trip can take up some time, but if you do it properly it will actually save you a lot of headaches during your travels.

The following steps will help you set up an itinerary that will let you explore without getting exhausted.

1. Create your To-Do List

You know which destination you want to visit and you’ve booked your flights. The next logical step would be to book accommodation, right?

Well, only if you’re planning to spend two weeks on a white beach sipping on some cocktails. If you want to explore, however, you first need to create a to-do list.

Take a guide book or browse around on the FlightNetwork Let’s Roll blog to determine your must-sees and must-do’s for this trip.

Now write them all down. If you have an idea of where you want to stay during your trip, write that down too. This is your To-Do List.

2. Use Google Maps to set the geographical boundaries for your trip

The next step is to research if you’ll actually have time for all the things on your To-Do List:

Create a new Google Maps map and name it after your trip.

  • Put all the items from your To-Do List on it. Look at how far they are located from each other, which ones could be grouped together and which ones are located too far away from any other to-do’s. Make sure you look up how to get around if you don’t plan on getting a rental car.
  • Drop any to-do’s that require too much time on the road, unless they’re an absolute must for you. You’ve only got a certain amount of time and you don’t want to spend half of it traveling in between places.

 3. Book your hotel

With your to-do’s mapped out it’s easy to see where you should best book a place to stay.

Maybe you can find a hotel in the city you want to spend the most time in and use that as a starting point for your explorations.

However, if you have several clusters of to-do’s shattered over a larger area, it’s best to book a stay in the center of each or some of those clusters to avoid traveling long distances back and forth each day.

 4. Create a day-by-day planning, including all practicalities

Your flights are booked, you know what you want to do at your destination and you’ve got a place to stay. You could just leave it at that, but this last step is the key to getting the most out of your vacation without rushing.

  • List all the days of your trip. You can use a Word doc, an Excel sheet or a regular piece of paper.
  • If there are things that need to take place on a certain date or at a certain time, write those down first. Examples are museums that are only open in the afternoon, an event that only takes place on a certain day.
  • Take your To-Do List and fill up your planning, grouping together those To-Do’s that are located close to each other.
  • Leave one day open. That’s right, choose one day on which you plan absolutely nothing.

Now that your planning is ready, take a critical look at it: 

  • Did you make sure to not stuff your days too much?
  • Did you take into consideration travel times (driving, taking the bus, walking …) between each activity?
  • Have you taken into account local customs like the Spanish siesta or public holidays?

If so, then you’re all good to go!

How planning sets you free

If you’re still not sure how creating a daily planning this way will help you get the most out of your vacation without rushing, I’ll break it down for you.

During you trip you

  • Won’t lose time finding out how to get to your next Interest because you’ve looked it up beforehand;
  • Won’t lose time walking around needlessly or making detours because you know exactly which Interests are located close to each other;
  • Will be staying at a place that’s located near your Interests, so that there’s always something nice to do and you won’t lose time – again – just getting somewhere in the morning and getting back in the evening;
  • Will have the time to wander around a bit and explore things you stumble upon that are not on the list. You’ve got that extra open day, remember?
  • Will have the time to sit back and relax, sleep in a day or go out at night if you feel like it, because you have that extra day for ‘postponed’ activities

About the Author: Sofie  Couwenbergh

Sofie is a Belgian language lover and travel aficionada who combines a full-time job with freelance writing and blogging. She uses her weekends, vacation days and public holidays to travel the world and share her experiences with you on wonderfulwanderings.com. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook or connect with her on Google+.

 

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