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Buffer Time when Traveling

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With highly anticipated trips, folks can feel the need to make sure they see everything in the top ten list, or all the places that friends recommend, so that sparks this week’s article…

Essentialism and buffer time

I am re-listening on Audible a book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown. The core message is about focusing on the specific important things and not trying to do everything, which we tend to do in our busy, frantic world.

Obviously, there’s more to it, but that’s my netted-out version. This book has definitely made me rethink some of my habits, but also makes me think about travel and sometimes the tendency to cram in too much.

A fellow travel professional was contacted about a European trip where the lead traveler wants to plan it so they visit 14 cities in 14 days. That is a truly horrible vacation, but sometimes we have this tendency to want to do more than is possible – we’re only there once, so let’s see it all!

Yet we’re not necessarily realistic about what will fit into the available time, or the need to build in buffer time throughout our days.

When I’m planning for my clients’ trip, I plan in extra time to have some breathing space and enjoy the day, or just in case something happens to go sideways, but when it comes to my own personal agenda, I absolutely try to do too much. I try to do ‘one more thing’ before I leave for an appointment, or have ‘magical thinking’ when figuring out how long something will take, when deep down I know better.

I think this same ‘cram it all in’ approach can be a tendency for folks when they’re planning their activities on vacation, because you want to see so many things in a special new destination.

It’s definitely important to add in that buffer time so that we’re not speeding through these amazing activities that we get to do on vacation but rather enjoying them with a relaxed feeling.

When you are looking though a variety of activities you may want to include, it’s easy to try to push too much into a day, discounting that traffic can take longer than expected, that you may want some shopping time to check out all those leather goods in that little store, or that you see a cool little café that you’d like to relax at.

Whether you are part of a group or on a cruise or touring independently, when you have your free time to explore or arrange your activities, pare down your list of ‘to-do’s’ and ‘to-see’s’ and create that buffer time so that you can be more at ease.

That gives you the freedom to take a little extra time for another glass of wine at the quaint sidewalk cafe or to stop in the charming shop on the way back to your hotel.

Adding in the buffer time is important to your planning so your travels aren’t about the quantity of what you do and see, but the quality.