10 traveling tips to make the most out of your weekends

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Several weekend warriors share their best advice on balancing work and travel, as well as how to make the most out of every weekend. Illustration by RACHEL HALILI OF WHERE TO NEXT

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — As much as the younger generation gets a lot of flak for being lazy and entitled, research suggests that they might actually be workaholics. Between the fear of being replacable and rising prices of goods, many of them find that there is a need to be a “work martyr,” sacrificing personal time, whether it’s a scheduled vacation or even time after work, to put more hours in and prove their worth to their employers. Studies also show that not being able to get away from work can negatively impact one’s life and lead to reduced productivity and eventually burnout.

However, avoiding this counterproductive cycle can be challenging for most employees, as limited paid leaves, time sensitive projects, and strict bosses can keep them from taking days off.

Enter the weekend warrior. They may be that friend who finds time to hike up the mountains of Rizal or Batangas every other weekend, or that guy who always seems to be in La Union. These are the people who spend those two days unplugged from the rest of the world — work included — striking that much coveted balance between work and play. But how do they do it?

With the help of Where To Next, an online community of creatives with a passion for adventure and storytelling based in the Philippines, we reached out to several weekend warriors for their best advice on balancing work and travel, as well as how to make the most out of every weekend.

Javi Cang.JPG “Time is all about perspective. Change the way you think, and the amount of things you can do in a certain timeframe will change drastically as well,” says Javi Cang on how a weekend can actually provide a lot of time. Photo courtesy of JAVI CANG

Go to places with fewer people

“I’m an engineer by profession and a travel videographer by passion. My work requires me to be at the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during weekdays. I find weekends as a chance to refresh and remove all the stresses that work may give.

[To maximize your weekends,] plan ahead. Avoid places with too many people. More people will mean longer lines, heavier traffic, and more congested spots. These factors will consume time; time that you could use to explore other places worth seeing. Start your day early. It gives you more time to experience and appreciate the places that you are visiting.” — Cedrick Altamirano, telecom

Plan as soon as list of public holidays is released

“If it’s something you love doing, then by hook or by crook, you’ll find a way to do it. Traveling entails being strategic with vacation leaves, work requirements, and budgets. I look at traveling as an opportunity to learn beyond the four walls of an office.

I plan my trips for the year as soon as the list of public holidays is released. I opt for transportation that allows me to maximize my time. This means taking red-eye flights or night buses on Fridays, so that I have the entire weekend to explore. For local trips, I choose destinations that are just three to five hours away from Manila. I don’t try to cram too many activities into one weekend. This choice allows me to keep going to the same destination, and discover new experiences each time I go.” — Lia Pablo, public sector

Choose which weekends will be spent for traveling, and which ones will be spent at home

“Work doesn’t end. There will always be a next project, a next deadline, and an unread email. Give yourself permission to pause and enjoy the weekend. The work will be there when you get back. Traveling can give you fresh ideas and insights that can even help you at work.

For me, making the most out of every weekend means choosing which weekends should be spent travelling, and which ones should be spent at home. I prefer quality over quantity. Long weekends, local activities, and the weather should be factors to consider when planning for a trip. Remember to consult locals and the travel community, so you can get the most out of your weekend!” — Hensie Go, FMCG

Lia Pablo - EC.jpg “I plan my trips for the year as soon as the list of public holidays are released. I opt for transportation that allows me to maximize my time,” says Lia Pablo on how she plans her travels. Photo courtesy of LIA PABLO

Listen to your body

“There will be days that my work would bleed into the weekends. But I make time to reset my body and my mind for the week ahead. One way of seeking balance is by doing things that bring me joy. This can be an early morning hike, watching something on Netflix, and even just meditating for a few minutes. I listen to my body. I feed it with adventure and spontaneity. But when I know that it’s about to give up, I rest. Try to slow down once in a while. Give yourself time to recharge.” — Ikat Gallardo, advertising

Surround yourself with people you love spending time with

“During weekends, I surround myself with people I love spending time with. Find company you’d like to keep, regardless if you’re relaxing at a white-sand beach or just chilling in the city. As cliché as it sounds, travel is not always about the place. It’s about who you’re with and the relationships you grow.” Quennie Lao, culinary arts

Change the way you think about time

“A weekend provides you with a lot of time. In two days, you can climb the highest mountain in the Philippines, you can visit a far-away province, or even put in significant work towards a personal goal. Time is all about perspective. Change the way you think, and the amount of things you can do in a certain timeframe will change drastically as well!” — Javi Cang, finance

Make time for what’s important to you

“Leaving after work on a Friday night, spending a total of 20 hours on the road to go to a place just to trek for nearly 18 hours, and be back just in time for 7 a.m. work on a Monday might sound crazy to a lot of people. But if there's one thing I've learned through the years, it's that classic piece of advice: you make time for what's important to you.

I guess at the end of the day, it all boils down to commitment — a pact you make with yourself that no matter how busy the days may get, you squeeze in time for other things that drive you, aside from work.” — Nella Lomotan, marketing

Baler Collage by Rachel Halili - EC.jpg “One way of seeking balance is by doing things that bring me joy. This can be an early morning hike, watching something on Netflix, and even just meditating for a few minutes. I listen to my body,” says Ikat Gallardo on work-life balance. Collage by RACHEL HALILI

You don’t need to go far

“I believe in ‘work-life integration.’ Some people want these two things to be at spectrum's end. But I don’t see it that way. I travel to get new perspectives for work. When I'm working, I feel like I also reap the benefits of traveling. I get to learn a lot of things by discovering other people's stories and ideas. Go to the nearest park. Try to talk to strangers, and find out about their stories. You don’t need to go far just to make the most out your weekend. “ — Eggy Amoncio, research

Learn to tolerate discomforts that come along with weekend traveling

“It’s okay to be passionate about many things. Spend time on projects that feed your bank, and pursuits that feed your soul. Working on the former doesn’t mean you are any less passionate about the latter. Whenever I choose to travel, I’ve learned to tolerate the discomforts that come along with my choice, such as the aching body and the mountainous pile of work waiting for me at home.” — Ayen dela Torre, education and e-commerce

Complement your job with your travel lifestyle and vice versa

“Choose a job that complements your travel lifestyle. It doesn't mean that you have to work for a travel agency, though that's an option for some. If you travel to unplug completely from work, then choose a job that doesn't require you to check in during weekends or odd hours. If you don't mind weaving in and out of work during a vacation, then a job that allows you to work from home could let you do that. You could also reverse it: find travel options that complement your job. Traveling for work? Ask for a day to go around. Non-consecutive rest days? Find day trips or activities that you can get to quickly.”   Karis Corpus, education