Right you’ve probably read some of my Monday’s Money Saving Tips and are thinking, surely this guy doesn’t only do budget stuff. You’d be right. I’m a hypocrite like the rest of the world!! I sometimes stay in a decent hotel (once in a blue moon I may add), I often buy a beer outside of Happy Hour and sometimes I spend extra money TO SAVE TIME. I do try to budget most of the time, but some of the time I don’t have the time. So today’s travel post is all about my top 6 ways to save TIME when you travel.
I’m not talking about calling Marty McFly or the Doc and hiring a Delorian so we can go back and visit redundant countries such as East Germany, Kampuchea, Zaire and Yugoslavia. Time is as important as money in this life. We have a short life and we must make the most of it…
I’ll start with one of my favourite quotes from Ian McCullough of Echo and the Bunnymen:
“Nothing comes to those who wait; time’s running out the door you’re running in.”
1. Sightseeing in Bulk
If you’re staying in a major city, it’s very likely that you can do the major sights you want on the same day. For example if you want to visit a Temple, a Museum, a famous restaurant and a beach then that’s not 2 day’s worth of travel. You can do them all in one day. I often get up at 7am, have my breakfast in the hostel and then head out to see all the sights I want in one day. This saves time (and also money by the way).
You might be a bit more tired that night, but you’ll have saved a day so in theory you can relax and sleep for a few more hours the next day. I’m good at planning all the sights I want to see in a short space of time and I recommend doing this. EXCEPT for when one of the sights is a particular interest of yours/others and merits a full day on its own.
The Doves – “You turn around and life’s passed you by”.
2. Eat on the Move
What? You’re telling me to take a microwaveable meal into Angkor Wat with me??? NO, I’m not, but I’m telling you that I have seen many people who sit down in a restaurant for hours when they travel and then say “Oh I didn’t have time to see ‘x’ sight or do ‘h’ activity”. You should always carry food and drink on your travels to save time and money. You can snack while you’re waiting for buses. Bananas, apples, crisps, cereal bars etc. They are all light and have nutrition in them and you will save time by eating at least the equivalent of one meal a day while you’re hanging around waiting for buses, tickets etc.
The Lord’s Prayer – “Give us this day our daily bread”.
3. Book Multiple Flights and Hotels
I find that when I’m booking travel stuff, it’s better to take an hour and just organise everything in one go. This admittedly is done in a rush and not always a total money saver, but it really saves time. It’s worth it for that! If you forget about everything else in life for an hour and just get everything booked at the same time (flights, hotels, hostels, tours etc.) then believe me you can have extra time for other things. Here’s a great travel site I use to book multiple things when traveling. Then there’s also that relief and pleasure feeling all at once that you are finally booked to do Vietnam, for example.
Bruce Springsteen – “They’ll pass you by glory days, in the blink of a young girl’s eye”.
4. Bring Travel Guide Books With You
If you know me, you’ll know I love travel books. I write my notes in them, I make my plans from them and best of all they are miles away from the world of phones and computers. There is nothing like sitting on a bus reading a travel guide book to plan your next trip. I plan my trips while I’m on the move, more on travel guide books on this page.
Manic Street Preachers – “Libraries gave us power”.
5. Don’t Sleep in the Daytime
Now this is an obvious one but I still frown upon and cannot believe that some travellers actually waste their days sleeping in hostels and then moving onto the next city having missed most of the “must do” sights. It makes me embarrassed sometimes as people will label all travellers in the same way, tarring everyone with the same brush. Lazy, pissheads etc. Like I mentioned I get up early and do my sightseeing.
The only time I ever sleep in the daytime is if I’ve been catching up on sleep after long trips or having been up all night, or if I’m ill. OK, so I’ve had a few crazy travel hangovers through the years and slept in the daytime a few times because of it. But I regret it. Don’t sleep in the daytime – do that at night – get out and do your sightseeeing while its light!
Noel Gallagher (Oasis) – “I can’t sleep because the world won’t wait”.
6. Carry a Notebook or a Diary With You
I’m not the only traveller who writes everything down, it’s a very handy tip. All you need to do is carry a small notebook with you at all times. When others give you tips, write them down, when you buy stuff write down the prices of things and use it as a diary too. This saves me a hell of a lot of time on my travel blog, as I have all the information ready to go when I’m posting blogs. It saves me time on research for my trips as I have the information to hand. So when I go to book a bus I know exactly what I’m looking for.
Neil Finn (Crowded House) – “It’s easy to forget what you learned”.
By the way, I’ve been away from my home country for a decade now and that’s how I have learned so many ways to save time and money on your travels. I’ve made tons of mistakes over the years and that’s why I now feel I am an experienced traveller and can write honestly and passionately about these things. Sometimes you just have to forfeit money for time on your travels and other times you do things the other way round. In Peru there was no way I was doing the “bus to Machu Picchu”, so I used the time on that occassion and did the proper 4 day Inca Trail which was much much better…
In the end though, stay safe, stay healthy, save time, save money and see your friends and family. If you can do all that in decent proportions then you’re the model traveller. These are my top 6 ways to save time when you travel, yes I’ve been around, but I’ve a lot of things to learn still…
Keep on moving, safe travels and don’t stop living…