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How We Did It in 2013 – Maximizing Our Limited Vacation Time


Just 3 weeks of vacation. That’s it. That’s all we get, plus a few meager holidays. Compared to the Europeans with their two months of vacation, plus another three weeks of holidays, we get so little time off of work. Yet, our coworkers are always astounded by the amount of travel we can squeeze into those three short weeks.

Here’s how we did it in 2013:

In February, we took a single day of vacation and had a long three-day weekend in Atlanta. We took in the sites of downtown Atlanta such as Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and the Centennial Olympic Park. We crossed an item off out bucket list: a concert at the famed Eddie’s Attic. We explored the culinary scene in Decatur and we also explored Atlanta’s rich Civil Rights History. All for just one day of vacation.

One of our main strategies for maximizing our vacation time is to extend business trips into vacations. In early March, a business trip took me to Vienna, Austria for a five day meeting. To that, we added on six days of vacation to explore Eastern Europe. In Vienna, we visited The Hofburg Palace, The Schonbrunn Palace, had lunch at the Naschmarkt, and ate at a classic heuriger wine restaurant. In Prague, we visited the world’s largest castle, checked out the architecture, went to a concert, and the Jewish Quarter. From Prague, we made a day-trip to Kutna Hora. Finally, we made a day-trip to Bratislava from Vienna.

In May, I had a business trip to Tucson, Arizona and went a day early on the weekend to do some hiking and geocaching. We also took a long weekend and went to Toronto, Canada. We also discovered we love street art. That was one day of vacation.

In June, I had a business trip to Vancouver, Canada. I opted to extend the trip a day and spent a weekend day exploring Vancouver’s sites and also the street art scene.

Later in June, I had another business trip to Germany. I extended my time for a weekend and one day of vacation to visit Liechtenstein, make a pilgrimage to the Andechs Monastery, and explored the company-town of Erlangen, Germany. While I was in Liechtenstein, Laura took a trip to Orlando.

August took me to Colorado to visit my family for three days. But, I was able to sneak in a trip to Steamboat Springs – Ski Town USA.

Throughout the fall, we took some weekend getaways – all without taking any vacation time. We visited Philadelphia’s unique museums, Centralia, PA and the Yuengling Brewery, The Azilum where French nobility where going to escape the Revolution back home, and a lovely weekend exploring the Hershey-Harrisburg region.

In County Donegal, Ireland at the Slieve League Cliffs

In County Donegal, Ireland at the Slieve League Cliffs

In October, we revisited Ireland. We fell in love with Ireland in 2008 and we were thrilled to come back. We explored Ireland’s Celtic ruins, we slept in Castles, visited breweries and distilleries, took in some dinner shows in Dublin, enjoyed some of the walking tours, and took some amazing photos of the Emerald Isle. In Northern Ireland, we visited the Troubles Murals in Derry.

Finally, we ended 2013 on a Christmas cruise.

And that is how we maximized our vacation time in 2013! Even without months of vacation time, it is possible to travel extensively and see the world! Stay tuned for many more exciting adventures in 2014.

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What do you think about How We Did It in 2013 – Maximizing Our Limited Vacation Time?

  1. Indiana Jo January 7, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    Years ago I took a month long trip down the west coast of the USA. I remember chatting with a girl in a store about my adventure. She said she always wanted to go to Europe but simply didn’t have the vacation time. Until then I’d never realised the difference between Europe and the USA vacation allowances and I wanted to cry for her because my British holiday perks meant I could travel so much. You guys are a real inspiration and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside to know that travel is still possible for even if you hold down a full time job. Happy travels for 2014!

  2. Elaine Schoch January 10, 2014 at 3:37 am #

    One of our strategies has also been tagging along on business trips. We’ve done NYC and Puerto Rico that way. I do find The Husband isn’t as fun on those trips though since he’s working and in business mode. As the girls get older it won’t matter as much since they can go and do more.

  3. Helen Davies January 16, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    You guys rock! Very inspirational! 🙂

  4. NZ Muse January 17, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

    Alas, travel is not something we get to do in our jobs! Sure is a great way to cut down on airfares though.

  5. Lance | Trips By Lance January 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    If only I had a job that took me on business trips. Oh, the life of an editor at a business newspaper.

    • Lance Longwell January 23, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

      Trust us, business travel isn’t all that wonderful! But it does help with the frequent traveler points.

  6. Melissa @ Suitcase and Heels January 24, 2014 at 7:27 am #

    I haven’t been on a business trip since 2011 (which I extended by 2 vacation days so that I’d get one more day in DC and a long weekend in Chicago) but I’m always looking for ways to make my own three weeks of vacation stretch further. One year we had a holiday on a Monday and Good Friday in the same week. For 3 vacation days I got 9 days off.

    I’ll also do a little overtime here and there for time in lieu. I always wish my trips were longer but I’m still lucky to see as much as I do.

    • Lance Longwell January 24, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

      We feel the same way. We’re so fortunate to be able to travel.

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