Unlike a lot of people that work Locum Tenens, I do it exclusively which means I’m not usually flying between a permanent job to these short-term gigs. Instead, I schedule a majority of my jobs back-to-back – it helps me to maximize my reimbursement for travel costs so that I pay almost nothing out of pocket except for the rare vacation or days off between jobs. At most of my job sites, I work consistently every day that i’m there; but i’m usually able to work in a day or two on tail ends including my travel time. There are multiple ways I’ve read about particular travel workers maximizing their time off. Some will try to drive instead of fly to enjoy seeing more of the country in between, but as I work the maximum amount of days per month I can physically handle, flying works better for me. Still, from time to time as I have very few days off to both take care of life management (eg: laundry) and see new areas and explore, I’ve developed some consistent habits for planning my adventures.
- Read any and all the Guides – I watch YouTube videos, read random blogs by random people, and of course all the TripAdvisor/Yelp reviews I can. At the end of the day the problem is that I accumulate too big of a list to usually complete in a single lifetime, so I look for patterns of recommendations and try to narrow things down to a top 10 depending on how many days I have off.
- Live like the Locals – Anytime I go anywhere new, I ALWAYS ask locals what they would do. Food wise, brewery wise, outdoors wise; and, here’s the important part, I always do it!
- Have One Goal – I don’t like to have TOO many goals or else I find that It’s sometimes hard to make them all happen; so i structure my days to have ONE specific goal, and that way I’m not let down if I can’t do the 50 things I want to do in one day.
- Allow for spontaneity – Ironically, as much as i’m OCD sometimes about my plans, I actually like to somewhat schedule in spontaneity or give myself options so that if locals tell me to do something different, I can modify things on the fly and follow the adventure. i find having the ability to be spontaneous supersedes completing a specific itinerary as long as my one goal is satisfied anyways.
- Pinpoint everything and make a map on Google Maps – This is one of my favorit-est things to do. I save all of my Breweries, Food, Attractions as separate icons on a huge map of whatever region i’m going to. Then I look at how far things are away, and connect the dots. I usually factor in my One Goal above and then add in other points of interest and midpoints one after another until I have a map that sensibly takes me from one place to the other and back to my end point in a logical manner.
- List on lists on lists – I’m constantly reworking plans, factoring in time to go to the grocery store or writing down variation of plans in case the weather causes problems or the weekdays are temperamental with opening/closing of seasonal locales.
- Piece by piece – I feel like with anything, it’s nice to take a break. Work or even planning fun isn’t always approached too aggressively. Especially when i’m given 20 recommendations for the same place, I sometimes will spend 5 minutes here and there looking into things so i can still make time to plan my life despite working almost nonstop. Getting up a little early for work is when i tend to meal prep for the next meal and while i wait for my coffee to kick in, sometimes i’ll work on my next great adventure.
- Factor in some Relaxation – As i’ve gotten older, i’ve watched my mom do this with more of her vacations. There’s always time factored in for a nap or some down time. It’s an inevitable feeling to try to cram everything in as much as we can for a trip, but if you get too little rest, it makes it hard to enjoy anything. We all know the feeling of “needing a vacation from our vacation” when we go at it too intensely.
Personally, I’ve gotten really good at this maximizing “Off Day Efficiency.” If i had 2 days off a week like a lot of people did, I’m sure i’d have more down time and relax. And, one day i’m sure I’ll focus more on my self-care on this regard, but for the time being, while i live in the fast lane it requires constant planning and reassessment of organization to enjoy myself and play as hard as I work.
Image Credit: https://flytrippers.com/perfect-itinerary-for-an-epic-usa-roadtrip-all-48-states-at-once/