I am a firm believer that you do not need to drain all of your vacation days to see the world. If all you have is a week to work with, you can absolutely put together an amazing and fulfilling adventure.
How far can you travel with just a week off? While my best friend was living in Sydney I had only five vacation days to spare. It might sound crazy, but rather than sit out the opportunity to visit her and a new continent, I took the plunge, and the 15+ hour flight, and went to Sydney for a week. We had an amazing time and I left feeling like I had seen all the highlights.
While a week may seem short, if you optimize the weekends on the front and back end of your days away from home, you can usually enjoy about 8 full days of exploring, which trust me, by the time you’re heading back on day 9 feels like a substantial amount of time. The truth is, some of my best trips have been short and sweet, leaving me wanting to return and continue exploring in the future.
If you’re looking to plan a trip abroad, but feel like time isn’t on your side, here are three tips I use when optimizing my travel time.
Leave on Friday Evening.
Get in a full work day and then head to the airport. You’ll be sipping champagne and resting the night away above the clouds before you know it. When you land, Saturday awaits, full of endless weekend possibilities. I love to start my trips with a walking tour of the city. I drop my bags at the hotel and immediately head out to explore. This little trick helps me beat jet lag and get my bearings right from the start.
Plan Ahead and Don’t Look Back.
The truth is, with only a week to work with you will have to make some important choices upfront. Venice vs. Florence. Museum vs. Architecture Tour. A set itinerary is vital to maximizing your time. While this may feel like a letdown at first, a week is plenty of time to properly enjoy a country or region, and leave you sufficiently exhausted and ready for the familiarity of home.
Don’t Over Plan.
It’s true you need an itinerary and must see list before setting off on a successful week abroad, however you’ll still want to leave room for flexibility. After all, the best moments are letting your adventures lead you somewhere new and unexpected.
I’ve been busy documenting my adventures to share with you! I will be posting all of the details from my recent week long trips to Italy, Portugal (Here!), Sydney, Japan and many more.
Are there any countries you’re looking to explore but can’t piece together the perfect itinerary? Let me know, I’m sure I can help!
Cover photo courtesy of Simonetta Vicino/Flickr