Americans generally have the shortest amount of vacation time per year (2 weeks on average) and this is the reason I hear from people all the time as to why they do not travel often. Yes, this is a limitation, but is it a reason to not travel abroad?
I vehemently disagree.
Just because you only have two weeks free every year it doesn’t mean you must stay home or spend your vacation in an American tourist trap like Las Vegas. OK, maybe that’s what you truly enjoy, but if you’re here, you’re likely interested in traveling abroad to slightly more engaging destinations.
I’d like to consider myself a vagabond, going all over without much of a destination. But unfortunately I am like you. I have two weeks of vacation every year, and I also must take them separately. This gives me a guaranteed two trips per year, but they are quite short. Many people can take their vacation at the same time and have much more time to enjoy their trip. I definitely recommend doing so if it is an option for you.
When meeting other travelers around the world I constantly hear the same remarks about my trip.
“You’re only here for a week?”
“That hardly seems worth the plane ride!”
“What a waste of money to only get a handful of days here.”
I certainly understand where they are coming from, but the truth is that most people (especially Americans) do not have the luxury of extended travel time.
Again, this doesn’t mean you can’t, or shouldn’t do it though. Just adjust your travel plans to enjoy a smaller area and don’t try to cover too much ground. Stay rooted in one or two cities and plan day trips to the surrounding areas. Doing this will keep your travel time on buses and trains to a minimum and you can maximize your time wherever you may go.
As far as expenses are concerned your largest will likely be plane travel. There are plenty of ways to seek out the best price for airfare so shop around and check sites like Kayak and Expedia to find the best fares.
When booking airfare, look for red-eyes that allow you to depart Friday night after you are finished with work. Depending on the time zone, this can also allow you to land in the morning instead getting in late at night. Pop in some earplugs and take a long nap. Wake up halfway across the world.
When you arrive at your destination find a good hostel, bed or breakfast, or guest house and you’ll save some more money.
Is it ideal? No.
Is it worth it? Yes!
Don’t let your job get in the way. Find a way to balance the two. A nice week-long excursion every six months isn’t a bad way to see the world.