Every day seems to fly by fast, at least when your having fun. This seems to be very true when you are traveling. There just doesn’t seem enough time to do everything you want to do including sightseeing, relaxing, swimming, eating, etc. Considering that most people have a limited amount of vacation days per year, the time off that you take becomes even more vital. Whether sitting at the beach or running around taking pictures of monuments, there just never seems to be enough time for everything.
Rather than going about wasting time, we have compiled a list of time-wasting activities that you could or even should avoid so that you can enjoy your short break or well earned holidays without having to waste any precious time.
This is a time waster per se. Yes, it’s necessary. Safety comes first, however, how long do you stand in line to go through a security check. This also boils down to the country and the airport you are flying from. If you are taking a flight out of the U.S. then screening may take a bit longer. If you’re arriving from an international flight then Immigration and Customs may take some time off your break. If in Europe, then larger airports like Munich, London or Paris may take you a bit to run through versus other airports.
Either way, security lines are a time killer and the best way to go about avoiding long lines and waiting is to fly at times where there is not much traffic or alternatively if you are flying on a budget, than you’ll want to plan your arrival to the airport punctually and not last minute in order to enjoy a smooth, comfortable security check without a long queue.
Off City Airports
This is a tough one because, in the end, it’s really a matter of where you are going and how you are getting there. Are you willing to shell out a few more Euros for a national carrier that lands at the closest airport in the area or are you flying low budget, where typically these airlines utilize smaller airports further out? The best thing to do here is your homework and evaluate what’s worth more to you. Your time and sanity or your money.
Let’s walk an example here. Take New York City. It has multiple airports that serve the entire area, however, the airport distances to downtown Manhatten (center of the city) varies. JFK is roughly 32 kilometers from the airport while LaGuardia is only 16km away from the center. On top of this NYC is a very congested city. Depending on how you travel, it may take you quite some time leaving the airport and reaching the city and vice versa when you depart. Is it really worth your time saving a few Euros only to have the hassle of wasting hours to get from your gate to your hotel? We’ll leave that up to you, but to utilize the most time during your holidays we suggest cutting out time wasters where you can.
This too varies. You can utilize connecting flights for an additional opportunity to visit somewhere you have never been or if you just hang around the airport for hours, know that here too you just are wasting time. Yes, flying with a connecting flight may be cheaper when you book your tickets, however, logically it will take you longer to reach your final destination if that is all you want to do. Nonetheless doing so you run a few risks, one of them being delays. Perhaps something happens to your first flight and without enough time allocated at the airport of destination for your connecting flight, you just might miss it. The more connections you have, the more probability something may happen, if your only goal is to reach that far away place you have been looking forward too.
Note that when you book the difference between a direct flight and non-stop flight is that with the first the plane may stop even if you don’t get off, while the latter means your going straight to your destination. The choice is yours as in the end, it’s your time.
Where is the hotel?
Think twice before you book that cheap hotel. It may be a great deal, but when it comes down to time you’ll probably want to be closer to the city center or the area you plan to carry out most of your activities. If you take into account the cost of transportation including the time it takes you to go from A to B, then from an economic standpoint in regards to your personal time it just may not be worth it. Yes, you could argue that sitting on a bus or subway allows you to view the city, but does that something listed on your vacation to-do list? You are at the destination of choice for a reason, make the most of it. If you are flying halfway around the world, pay a slightly higher price for a hotel closer to the area you will spend the most time in rather then being frustrated of trying to figure out how to get there, where to go and perhaps even end up getting lost.
Okay, we get it. If you are traveling from Berlin to Shanghai, you just might want to bring a souvenir or two back for family or friends, however, keep in mind that gift shops everywhere are almost all the same. Say what?
It’s true, take the time to notice. The same style of t-shirts and magnets. The only real change is the name of the city you are in. There is nothing wrong with visiting a souvenir shop, but make sure to go there and kind of already know what you want. Perhaps its something that’s not even at a gift shop. All the better. Either way, don’t spend too much time pondering whether you should get the t-shirt or the funny shot glass. In the end, do you really need it? Was it really worth the half hour of time you spent looking around?
If you’re traveling to classical destinations, then you just might not be the only one around. There are tourists everywhere and oddly enough they also may have a few items on a “to see” list that reflects yours. This includes popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Burj Khalifa, or Niagara Falls. This typically means long lines, standing around just waiting to purchase a ticket and then finally get into the attraction only to try to box your way through the crowd. Crowds at these types of places are unavoidable. That is a fact, however, you may be able to beat the lines. Often tickets can be purchased ahead of time when you book online. Alternatively, you may be able to purchase a CityPass of your destination which allows entry to multiple attractions. This way you can at least avoid the queue in front of the ticketing office.
Okay, let’s get this straight. We are not encouraging you to skip the most important meal of the day, however, this post is all about time wasters. Breakfast is one of them. What may seem to be a convenient way to begin your day can often be quite a time waster especially if you are on a short city trip. Again, it depends on the type of travel you are doing. If you are there just to be lazy then so be it, however, if you are there to really soak in a new destination then standing around waiting for others to make their bread is not the best time use. Especially when you sit down and slowly enjoy eating your big breakfast onyl to notice that it’s already 11am is just a bummer. What a time waster. Perhaps you can grab something on the go. A bagel and a coffee.