How to Find Time for Travel in Your Busy Schedule

Travel is my escape. A few years ago when I was really struggling with burnout, I would spend hours mindlessly scrolling through travel posts on my Instagram feed. I yearned to see crystal blue waters of secluded beaches with my own eyes and to feel the beat of a reggaeton song through my body while a boat seamlessly navigates the waves of the ocean. Much of this content came from creators who traveled full time, and I wanted to have that life too. In a career and job where my schedule is set months in advance and time is limited, that lifestyle is not realistic for me (yet). Do you relate?

Is time a limiting factor to living your best travel life? Me too! I unfortunately can’t help you create more time, but I can give you some insight into how I have found time to incorporate travel into my busy schedule. If I can do it, so can you!

  1. Reimagine your concept of time

    Many people imagine trips or vacations to last for at least a week or more. But who says you can’t have amazing experiences in a day or two, especially if that is all the time that you actually have? I challenge you to make the most of your time, even if it seems like it is not enough. Master the art of the day trip and the weekend trip. Depending on where you are located, a short drive or flight may take you to a whole different country and/or culture!
  1. Maximize your time off

    Does a federal holiday fall around a weekend? Take that opportunity to go somewhere without having to take any extra time off! If you’ve mastered tip #1, you already know that there is so much you can explore in 2 or 3 days!

    A few years ago, I surprisingly discovered that I had Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off and booked a last minute flight to Mexico City!
  1. Embrace the red eye flight

    Do you know those flights that depart either really late at night or really early in the morning? Those are my favorite when I am planning a trip with a busy schedule. I can work a full day and head straight to the airport or land at my destination mid morning with an entire day to explore without having to take time off just for traveling. Have your beauty rest on the plane! And a bonus? They are usually cheaper!
in my opinion, the best sunrise or sunset views are seen from the sky
  1. Optimize your work experiences

    Are you traveling for work? Choose to attend a conference or take a training in a place you would like to explore. Consider taking a few days off before or after the event to explore your destination. You will already be there, and your work may even have covered some of your expenses!

    In residency, I planned an elective rotation in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala to learn medical Spanish and spent a month taking classes and discovering the culture. A few years ago, I attended a medical conference in Oahu, Hawaii, and I took a few days before the conference to explore the nearby island of Maui.
  1. Leave the airport on a long layover

    Does your flight have a layover that lasts at least a few hours? Leave the airport to explore! Do some sightseeing or even just have a local meal. I promise it will be more fun than waiting in the airport terminal.

    I’ve had overnight layovers in London and Madrid.
  1. Take time off in between jobs or after training

    Many of my longer trips have been after finishing medical school/residency and in between jobs. The best time to travel is when you have no obligations to anyone and no need to request time off! Instead of starting that job right after grad school, take a few weeks (or a few months if you can afford it) off to backpack through Europe. Burnt out from your current job and need to leave it for your sanity? Take some time to rediscover yourself in southeast Asia before getting back to the grind.
  1. Reimagine your concept of travel

    All of the previous tips have been about physically going to a destination. What if I challenged you to think about travel as exploring the world outside of your own, even if it is within your own hometown? I learned how to cultivate the “spirit of travel” during the pandemic when I couldn’t hop on a plane to escape and had to find ways to create those experiences for myself. Watch a movie about traveling. Explore a new cuisine at a local restaurant or in your own kitchen. Take a Latin dance class. Listen to an Afrobeat playlist on Spotify. Learn a new language. If you can’t physically get away to have those experiences, why not bring them to you?

Hey, you! Stop scrolling and start planning! You deserve to have those experiences on your bucket list too, even with your busy schedule. The time to live your best travel life is now. Follow me for more tips on how to pencil in more memorable experiences into that calendar!

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