Sunday, February 3, 2013


If you follow my Facebook page you may have noticed that lately I have been using the hashtag #2013goal. A few people have emailed me about this so let me explain.

At the beginning of 2013, I challenged myself to take advantage of every 3 day weekend.  You see, I only get 20 days’ worth of vacation time during the year (GASP!) and that is not nearly enough time to go all of the places I want to go and see all of the things I want to see. So, in order to maximize my vacation time, I'm wrapping most of my travel for the year around long weekends. 
Now, in doing this there are a few things I need to keep in mind: 

First: Depending on the destination, airfare may be a little more expensive than what I would typically want to pay. Not only will airfare be more expensive, but lodging will also be more expensive over a holiday weekend. 
Solution: I am planning travel to some destinations during what is considered "low season". For instance, President's Day weekend (February) I am headed to Istanbul, Turkey. This is certainly the off season for Istanbul and the weather is not idea; but because of this, I was able to purchase airfare for less than half the price of going during high season.
Another possible problem I might incur traveling during the offseason is that attractions may be closed. Some hotels, museums, restaurants, etc. schedule routine maintenance during the low season, or close their doors entirely so that employees can go on holiday themselves. Research will be key in order for this to work. I don't want to head to a destination only to find out that the one thing I really wanted to do or see is closed for renovations!
Second: Destinations may be more crowded than usual over holiday weekends. I’m not na├»ve enough to think I am the only person looking to maximize vacations by combining 3 day weekends and vacation time. I am sure that lots of people look to escape for long weekends, even if it’s to domestic destinations close to home.
Solution: Travel to off the grid destinations. This is when I get really excited and begin to explore some lesser known destinations such as Cartagena, Colombia or Punta Mita, Mexico or how about Bocas del Toro, Panama?
My last challenge traveling over long weekends is the fact that holiday weekends also seem to be popular for various types of festivals, especially in the Caribbean. Example, I was thinking about heading to Aruba for the Memorial Day weekend (May); however I realized there will be a large music festival on the island during that time. These festivals only add to my first and second challenge (expensive airfare/hotel costs and crowding).
Solution: If it happens to be a festival I’m interested in attending, I will use my first rule of travel: PLAN EARLY. Some festivals offer early bird festival tickets and discounted hotel rates to those who commit early, so I will take advantage of these savings. If it’s a festival I have no interest in, I will avoid the destination during this period and look for alternatives. Once again, research will be important to make sure I’m not hit with any surprise events.
So there is the meaning of the hastag #2013.  Do I have all of my 3 day weekends planned yet?  YEP - all but one, Memorial Day is still open.  But I don't think it will take me long to nail down a beautiful beach to lounge around!

Do you have any 2013 travel goals?  Of course you do!  Feel free to share with me.  Be sure and use the hashtag #2013goal so that everyone can cheer you on!