Tips for Quasi-Vacationers

Tips for Quasi-Vacationers (Getty Images)

ChicagoRecently, I had a chance to visit family in Australia with my wife and 1-year old daughter. However, it wasn’t the normal kind of vacation. After spending the day exploring Melbourne, comparing the city’s Tram system to Metra and walking the hilly streets of Ascot Vale, I’d have to end my nights with work. Keep in mind: when it’s 9 a.m. in Chicago, it’s 1 a.m. on the following day in Melbourne. 

Of course, working at such an hour wasn’t ideal but it was a necessary sacrifice to see loved ones in an amazing part of the world. Still, I can’t tell you how I survived it. 

From 23 hours of travel with an overly active baby to the many sleep deprived days and nights, the trip was filled with as many challenges as joys. But here are some things you might learn to handle a similar voyage, especially if you are planning to work remotely when you reach your destination. 

Prepare for the plane - especially if your bring a baby:

If you're planning to bring a baby along for a several-hours-long flight, there’s no easy answer as far as preparation goes. But here’s what we know: 

  • They might certainly get bored 
  • They will get hungry 
  • They will get tired. 

With these three things I kind, try to plan as best as you can. Bring your child’s favorite snacks. Bring their toys along for the ride and bring more than you think they’ll need. If we get bored reading the same book after five hours, just imagine how they might feel playing with the same toy car for an entire flight. 

Remember: even  when your bag is so full of toys that nothing else can fit, your child still may not play with them. You may need to improvise. Yes, that might mean letting them play with the headphones they give out for free on the plane (as long as you take off the rubber earbud parts that babies are so eager to try to swallow). That might also mean taking the baby for a stroll down the isles or relying on Mrs. Rachel to keep them entertained. 

Prioritize sleep however you can 

Working remotely in a different country can pose unique challenges to a quasi-vacationer. In some ways they have to live two lives. They have to be available for tourist attractions and sightseeing while also bearing in mind their work commitments. With both roles dueling for your attention, it can be easy to forget about sleep. But if you let it fall by the wayside, you will not only lack excitement for the fun things on your itinerary but your work product will suffer. Try to communicate with your travel partners about what you can manage and about whether you need more rest. See if you and your peers can plan some events around your work schedule, taking into account the amount of sleep you need. 

Establish a routine 

Routines will help you manage your time and make the most of your trip. If your sightseeing and work hours are already set in stone, divide the rest of your time among the things that’ll enhance those areas. For me, that was working out. After I lifted weights or went for a run, I felt energized enough to tackle the world. 

Noah Johnson (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow him on X: @noahwritestoo.

Edited by NaTyshca Pickett

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