Travel Tip Tuesday: Time budgets and the long weekend

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The recent tank-o-rama of American economics has slashed more than our bank accounts to the bone. According to bazillions of semi-credible websites, we are vacationing less — some folks are working several jobs to make sure their families have milk in the fridge, some fear losing their positions while they are flip-flopping through the sand, and others simply do not have enough money in their accounts to justify a trip (or so they assume).

In this edition of Travel Tip Tuesday, I would like to explore a rethink of available vacation days. Though not for everybody, this idea maximizes the valuable assets of money and time, while also sweeping away some of the post-holiday doldrums.

This past weekend, I took my family to the Georgia coast — a three-day jaunt to the island of St. Simons — for some quality sand digging with my enthused three-year-old. The drive back to Atlanta is five hours, which gave me plenty of time to feel all sorts of self-pity that our marvelous family escape had ended with the villain Monday morning lurking past the inky shadows of the coming night.

But all of that silliness faded when my wife gently reminded me that I have a BlinkPacking roller coaster escapade on the calendar for the end of October. A weekend of road-tripping with three buddies to ride some of the most epic coasters on the east coast? Check. No more blues.

I started to sift through the conundrum that I share with many an American brethren: if I can only take about two weeks off per year, how can I keep myself connected to the vitality that comes from travel?

The answer hit me like the pair of mating love bugs that just splatted across my windshield: Take one day off every five weeks, tack it onto a weekend, and voila — ten quick getaways can fill the calendar. Add a couple of the naturally-occuring long weekends and holidays, and trips can happen once a month.

That means the moment I walk back through my front door, I can begin preparing my next trip. Heck, I can keep my bag packed for that matter. It means no more post-trip depression, no more trudging through another half-year before some more time off, and perhaps no more endless stretches of mind-numbing work tasks.

There is no question that longer trips are more refreshing and exhilarating than shorter travel stints, but for those of us with thin time budgets, mastering the long weekend may just be the key to keeping the vitality going.

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