Stories of Personal Growth – Time Management and Organization When Traveling
Have you ever missed a train or bus because your transfer time was too short? Have you ever come close to missing a flight because the check-in process took longer than expected? Most people have experienced these unpleasant situations at some point, either as a result of their own actions, like getting up late, or due to bad luck, like a delayed train that causes you to miss a connection.
These situations happen even more often when travelling abroad where so many things can tend to run differently. The first challenge is getting to your destination. What’s the fastest way to get there? When’s the best time to travel? Do I have to pay attention to any entry regulations? These are all organizational questions that need to be answered.
If you do put in the effort to plan a trip, you will get one-of-a-kind moments and experiences that will change you and stay with you forever. Furthermore, travel offers some of the best opportunities to gain the soft skills that will be useful in both your personal and professional life. Time management and organization are examples of these soft skills. In this article, we’ll give you three anecdotes about our own travel experiences, which have shaped us significantly in terms of time management and organization.
Time Management and Organization
Good time management and organization can help you prevent many unpleasant situations. A trip is supposed to be relaxing, not stressful. To this end, it’s important that things are adequately planned ahead of time and that any potential uncertainties are cleared up. The goal of good organization is to have a solid overview of the essentials.
In addition to what we already touched on, good organization includes being aware of departure times, visa and vaccination requirements, and passport validity. With so many logistical concerns, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. To prevent this, it’s crucial that you give yourself plenty of time to prepare everything.
As you know, time management is important before a trip even starts. This soft skill helps you realistically gauge the time you need for certain things and allows you to plan accordingly. To do this, though, it’s vital you honestly assess your needs and abilities.
For example, if it takes you longer to wake up in the morning, then you need to plan more time. However, if you know you’re a fast runner, then you might plan for a bit of a tighter connection in lieu of a long layover. Always keep in mind that your goal isn’t to rush around, but to enjoy a journey that fits you.
Through three stories, we’ll take you around the world to show you what happened to us on our first trips and what we learned about organization and time management along the way.
Maira in Eastern Europe
The first story is from Maira, our social media manager, when she was traveling through several countries in Eastern Europe. She admits that she is disorganized, that she often forgets or leaves things undone, and that she frequently does things at the last minute. She had a lot of questions concerning the multi-country trip – how do I get from point A to point B? When is my flight, bus, or train leaving? Do I need a visa? Knowing herself and realizing that there was so much she didn’t yet have figured out, she set out to plan her trip early on.
Especially on long trips to faraway countries, there can be few options and little flexibility for some of the essentials – flights, for example, may only be at specific times, and accommodation in a place might not always be spontaneously available. For this very reason, one of Maira’s concerns was that of the domino effect – especially since her trip included more than one country. If she slept in too late, she might miss the bus, and then she might miss her flight, and then eventually not get a chance to arrive at a destination, which would ultimately impact the plans for the next country. If she were to lose an important personal item along the way somewhere – say her phone – her whole trip could be completely sabotaged. So, she realized she needed to exercise extra caution and be sure to pay attention to the details every step of the way.
Today, she says that it was this experience in doing a multi-country trip that allowed her the opportunity for growth, explaining, “Through your experiences, you kind of grow up and become more responsible.” Nowadays, she easily organizes all aspects of even complex trips. She truly enjoys planning and has noticed that her new abilities to manage and organize have even helped improve her job performance.
Eva in Morocco
For her story, our content manager, Eva, takes us to Morocco. Well, actually, first to Spain. From here, she knew that she wanted to go to Morocco and that there was a boat headed there. Her journey led her to Tangier from where she planned to take the night train to Marrakech.
When she arrived in Tangier, there were many cab drivers already waiting to take her to the train station. Eva, however, didn’t know what the going rate for the ride was, so she couldn’t tell if the drivers were price gouging or not. In the end, she picked a random cab, and only found out later that she paid way too much for the short distance.
It was just around noon when she arrived at the train station, and the night train was scheduled to leave at 11 p.m. So, what to do until then? She enjoyed time on the beach, went shopping, ate, and still had enough time to book accommodation in Marrakech.
Then, just before 11 p.m., she arrived at the train station and waited at the platform for the train. And she waited and waited. The train didn’t come. It finally occurred to her that there was a time difference due to daylight savings, which she hadn’t taken into account. It was 11 p.m. in Europe, but only 10 p.m. in Morocco.
Fortunately, this meant that the train would depart an hour later – not an hour earlier – than she anticipated. This experience taught her that learning about the country that you’re traveling to ahead of time is always beneficial. For example, are there time differences? What currency do they use? Do you need specific documents to enter the country? Are there reservations and train connections can you research and book in advance?
The first day of a trip is usually the steepest learning curve. Eva recalls this experience vividly to this day. Every time she meets applicants or new co-workers from other countries through her job, she thinks back to this.
Stephan in China
China is a big country full of contrasts. Right along with modern cities are expansive green rice fields, ancient history, and millennia-old traditions. There’s a lot of hustle and bustle, especially in cities with many people needing to travel from point A to point B at any given time – and as quickly as possible. It’s impossible to achieve this without modern technology. In rural areas, on the other hand, things continue to be done in the traditional way.
Stephan, our CMO and co-founder, describes himself as “very optimistic” when it comes to estimating time – possibly too optimistic. His trip to Beijing was drawing to a close, and his return flight was set to depart at 8 a.m. the next day. So, he planned to leave the hostel at around 5 a.m. to get to the airport – a route that is typically easy to navigate.
What he didn’t consider was whether cabs were already operating at this hour, whether he had enough cash for the trip, and whether he had packed everything. At 5 a.m. the next morning, he found himself standing on an empty street with all of his luggage in tow and no cabs in sight.
The language barrier made communication difficult. There was also the winter cold, which shouldn’t be underestimated in China, as well as the fact that he had run out of cash and the cab drivers wouldn’t accept card payments. The whole situation was pure stress. Stephan had one important question running through his head – “What should I do?”
He eventually came across an ATM, but it only had Chinese characters. He became more panicked as he realized that if he didn’t leave in 15 minutes, he’d definitely miss his flight. But, in the end, everything worked out – he found a cab, was able to pay for it, and boarded the plane at the last second.
This experience shows the importance of good time management and organization. In many cases, having a backup plan rather than relying on luck might be a lifesaver.
The three stories demonstrate how good preparation and accurate information can save you some stress on your trip. But proper planning and organization must be learned first. With each trip, you discover that it becomes easier and easier to think of everything.
As you travel, you’ll learn how to deal with the different circumstances that affect you and your planning. Everything that didn’t work out the first time will be better the second time around.
Eva, for example, will almost certainly remember to look up time differences before traveling, and Stephan may reconsider how optimistically he plans his time. You’ll feel the same way about many situations.
These skills, however, aren’t just useful for travel. You’ll always have to schedule your time and organize things in both your personal and professional life – whether you’re meeting a deadline, arriving at work on time, or throwing a birthday party. Time management and organization are among the most critical soft skills that everyone should develop.
However, planning and embarking on your first journey can be overwhelming. If you want to prepare yourself even better, our masterclass offers you many different ways to do so! Or would you prefer to plan your own solo trip and gain first-hand experience? Then use our WebApp and get yourself to your next dream destination with just a few clicks!