Travel Overhead

Traveling to new places is fun and exciting. This year, I visited amazing parts of Europe and Hawaii. I really enjoyed Santorini and Waikiki.

One thing that seems to get overlooked in trip planning is travel overhead. On paper, if you were to go to three countries in Europe, that looks great! You’re accomplishing so much by checking out so many places. The reality is that travel can impose a heavy, relative overhead cost between destinations if not properly managed.

For example, if you have a flight at 2pm, your schedule for the day looks something like:

  • 11 am – pack and check out of the hotel
  • 12 noon – travel to the airport early enough
  • 1 pm – wait at the airport gate
  • 2 pm – board the plane
  • 2:30 pm – fly to your destination
  • 3:30 pm – arrive and possible baggage claim
  • 4:30 pm – arrive at your hotel and check in

Your 2pm flight blocked over 5 hours of prime vacation time.

When traveling, I’ve found that the daytime is the prime time to do things. Whether eating food, going shopping, or hitting the outdoors – you’ll want to do it when it’s actually open and the sun is still out. If you have a 2pm flight, chances are that you’ve used up most of your day’s prime hours, which means one less day of vacation you actually get.

Even without worrying about airport flights, staying at different hotels in the same area can really impact your trip. Coordinating your check out time (or late check out time) with travel time to the next hotel can be tricky. Not to mention finding time to grab lunch.

While those who travel much more than me have internalized all of this overhead stuff, I’m getting exposed to it and it frustrates me. Spending prime vacation time lugging bags around and waiting for a bus/plane is a huge waste and should be avoided (planned around) if possible.