Feature Travel Tips

Schedule Downtime When You Travel

Downtime by the swimming pool

Have you ever returned home after taking some time off and travelling, only to feel like you need another holiday? While travelling can be one of the most amazing adventures, it can also be one of the most draining. A way to help overcome this can be to add a little downtime to your travels.

You will be faced with tours, attractions, airports, markets, parks, museums, shopping and who knows what else. Which could see you spending your time walking, hiking, biking or even kayaking. At some point, you know it can be worth taking a moment just to slow down and relax and recharge.

More and more I find that people forget a holiday is for taking time to relax. They are trying to pack so much into the time that they are travelling they get back more worn out. Like when we are at home maybe we need to just take a moment and schedule some downtime into our holiday.

Make Your Choice

Of course, before getting into anything too much, I need to say that it is everyone’s individual choice. I would never seek to say that you must take one approach over another. If you want to fill every single minute of your trip with activities that is fine. But if you’re going to get home feeling rested and ready to get back to regular life some of the following might be beneficial.

Schedule Downtime

Depending on how long your trip is there are numerous ways that you can approach scheduling downtime. Three of the options I have used or thought about include daily, weekly or end of trip time. Each does have a plus and minus side but could work for your trip.

Daily Downtime

I cannot recall how many times I have spent the entire day out of the hotel room. Leaving the room before 7 am and not returning until after 8 pm. Spending the whole day out and about walking a city and sightseeing. I can tell you it is far from an ideal way to travel, but only sustainable over a shorter period.

It can be a great idea to look at ways to integrate daily downtime into your travel. There are a couple of ways that I try and make this happen.

  • Sit down for a meal at lunchtime.
  • Visit a cafe and sit for coffee or tea.
  • Set a cut off time to be back at the hotel.
  • Make use of public transport more. As opposed to walking everywhere.
  • Set some chill out time each day, where you just find somewhere to sit and enjoy the location.

These are just a few options but a number that I have found quite successful to help me break up my day.

Downtime - Stop for a coffee

Weekly Downtime

Sometimes there is just too much going on that we just cannot see ourselves cutting time out of each day. Also sometimes travelling for extended periods just might see you wanting a little more time out sometimes.

The idea of weekly downtime is to set aside a half or even a whole day once a week to help yourself rejuvenate. The way you approach this will be entirely around what works best for you and can be incorporated into something else as well.

There is the option just to spend one morning sleeping in and being lazy around the hotel room. If you have the option, it might be spending some time at a beach or around the hotel pool. You could find a local spot to visit for a massage or some pampering. But what this time would be mostly about is having no fixed thing that you have to do including minimal getting around.

Downtime by the swimming pool

End of Trip Downtime

I am a firm believer that there is always another option. But if you feel that you just cannot find any way to fit some downtime into your trip, make sure you have some at the end. The worst thing when travelling and heading back to work is arriving home one evening and heading to work the next morning.

I have tried this in the past and find it can be an excellent compliment to the other two options above. The approach I have used is to add in a destination as part of your return home. Even though I might get back one day and go to work the next, I have had a few days to recover en-route.

I took this approach on my last major overseas trip when I visited Vancouver for a few days. I organised to meet with a friend, and we just took it easy for a few days before I headed back to Australia. It was a great break at the end of the trip, after visiting seven countries in three weeks.

Fitting in Downtime

Especially with a shorter trip, I can see that it might be challenging to fit downtime into your trip. I know I have struggled to do so at times, but I do have a couple of ideas how you might be able to fit some in.

Do you have to see everything?

A common problem I have run into when visiting a city is the want to see everything. I seem to find myself approaching a visit to a city as if it is the only time I will ever be there. The reality for me is that if I travel as much as I intend to in the future, I will visit many of my favourite cities over and over again.

So you need to ask yourself the question if you have to see everything when you visit a city. Could you potentially leave some of the sights to see on a future visit? While another essential question to ask is why am I visiting this sight? Is it just because it is a popular location or is it something I want to see it?

Could a tour make seeing things easier?

I understand that some people might like to avoid tours and in some cities, they are far from ideal. There are many cities though that you can save a lot of time and physical effort taking the tour option. The question to ask yourself about taking a tour is, “Does this tour cover the sights I want to see?”

There is little point taking a tour if you are not going to get to see what you want to look at. It might require some extra research at home but can be a huge benefit if it helps you save some time and not be pushing to get it all done.

Save time getting around with public transport

Planning Your Days

Taking a little time to plan what you want to see and how it fits into the city can be highly beneficial. So many times I have found myself visiting various sights in the one area, over multiple days. I could have easily saved time be planning my visit and seeing everything in one area at the same time.

Making a plan is something that you can do before travelling or on the day you arrive in a city. Just take a look at the attractions or sights around a town and plot them on a map. Sometimes you might even find that the hotel will have a tourism map that already has everything marked. Then just plan your days accordingly, so you don’t find yourself visiting the same areas twice.

Book Your Downtime In

I hope that the ideas I have shared with you in this post have been helpful. Making an effort to include some downtime in your holiday might just make it a little more relaxing.

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  • Jess
    February 15, 2018 at 3:51 am

    This is a great tip and often overlooked. I find that we often spend a lot of money on hotels and we barely get to use the amenities. Next time for sure!

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