Optimizing Travel Time April 28, 2017 14:40

We at The Montana Scene love the outdoors. We try to exude our passion for exploring and adventure through our brand.
While we know that people will come to our page in search of outdoor product, we felt like offering a little bit more in terms of content.
We wanted to create an experience; where people could not only browse for great Montana Outdoor attire - but also read about real-life outdoor adventures.
So here marks the beginning of an intriguing series of real Montana adventurers, sharing their advice and explorations.

Optimizing Travel Time

by Kristina Parmelee & Drew Silvers

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With limited time on the majority of vacations, it’s important to realize that you are a time traveler. Traveling 60 minutes per hour. And your vacation will run out.

Time: the precious and valued foundation of our travels, yet the hindrance battling between your mind and clock running out. Moments are valuable and special moments are irreplaceable. Be present and be patient.

Can’t everyone relate to the excitement and anticipation of vacation before it begins, and then immediately, somehow, suddenly, you blink an eye just once and you’ve teleported like a brick back to your bedroom pulling a 5 foot pile of laundry from your checked bag? (Not to mention the inevitable explosion of toiletries in every bathroom bag ever…. Ladies, can I get a holla? Buzz kill.)

As spontaneous as Drew and I like to think we are, it’s important to emphasize organization of some nature outlining the entire system of dates, destination(s), activities and transportation. An outline is crucial because yes, unfortunately we do have a place to be and it is called WORK when we return.

The ultimate idea here is to realistically accommodate for limited time.

Dates

It is important to establish the time frame of your vacation. Friends, there is nothing worse or more embarrassing than undoubtedly trusting your instinct thinking there are 5 days left of vacation when in fact, there are only 3. Based on unfortunate circumstances, Drew and I highly discourage guessing the what day it is willy-nilly. However, we do encourage mentally noting the transportation dates in their own separate category aside from the dates which do not require transit. First and far most, choose the primary transportation dates of departure and arrival. Secondly, acknowledge the days of free time in between-we call these “fun days”. When counting the fun days, don’t bother including the dates of transportation to best optimize planned activities.

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Destinations

Drew and I typically choose a broad region where we will spend our vacation. The goal is to effectively narrow your options to ensure your time will be well spent. Example regions of our recent trips would include Southern Utah, Northwest Montana and the island of Oahu. First, choose a region. Within the region, it’s important to do a significant amount of research to eventually mark the end goal at precise locations. After the region, choose an town/city/park/rec area where you will spend the majority of your travels.

Less popular recreational areas definitely require a lengthier process of where actual sites may be. You would be surprised how often the handy Google Maps deems itself useless in the wilderness. We love Google Maps, but we also find great joy in getting lost as  we’re twirling a map around side to side until we figure out which way to go.  In this case, trail maps as well as area maps of rec areas are particularly beneficial when cell service is limited. Our Garmin especially comes in handy with the topographical features with a surprising amount of trail locations on most US Forest Service maps (Those of you who don’t know, a Garmin GPS will show current location regardless of cellular data).

*Important note: Many back country areas (especially in National Parks) require a back country permit. Permits can be applied for online as well as first come-first serve basis. People do get fined when they don’t follow the rules, so be sure to follow up with regulations of your area.

Main Event

There have been plenty of times when Drew and I picked out a main event and it ended up being the lamest experience. On the flip side, our thought to be less-exciting plans have been completely under rated and shown to be some of the most magical places we’ve been. An example would be Lower Calf Creek Falls pictured below. Clearly under rated.

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The main event quite frequently is predetermined before choosing dates and is often the center of the vacation. On the contrary, Drew and I decide we are ready for vacation first, choose dates and then decide where we want to go. I personally prefer to have the main event in the middle of our vacation. This way we can torture ourselves with the itching anticipation prior to the event as well as admire the post-wow-effect for the rest of the trip. We believe it could be helpful to gear the main event as the highlight of your vacation providing the overall purpose to your trip.

Transportation

Transportation has to be the most irritating part of trip planning. The real restraint here is time.
“This $150 flight is extremely cheap, but wait, it takes 18 hours to get from Montana to California? Hard pass. May as well drive.”

The struggle is real. The important question here is: How valuable is your time? Really, your bank account is going to reflect the amount you can spend on quick flights. In our opinion, if you can responsibly spare the extra cash to purchase a convenient flight, DO IT. Although it was not ideal, Drew and I purchased a red eye flight with Frontier Airlines from Denver to Miami (we arrived at 6:00 a.m.). Sleeping on an airplane really is just the worst, but the point is we gained an entire day by sacrificing a bed for a crowded window seat for the night.

If an extra $50-$100 on a convenient flight is just simply going to break the bank, we recommend reading Our Key to Affordable Travels and re-evaluate your situation. When it comes to flying, it is important to rule out all of your options. It’s easy to submit departing and arrival destinations via Kayak, Expedia or Priceline, this way it is auto generated for you with often change in airlines on the route with the “cheapest” options (I would not recommend purchasing directly from these websites, but rather using them as a tool for your itinerary). We encourage you to consider using the actual airline’s website to guarantee your reservation. Once you feel proficient purchasing simple round trip flying, try advancing your search to purchasing one way tickets with multiple airlines to get to your destinations. Example: Drew and I flew from Bozeman —-> Miami —-> Nashville —-> Home. We spent $600 total on flights:

Tickets purchased:
Bozeman- Miami: One-way Frontier
Miami -Nashville: One-way Delta
Nashville – Bozeman: One-way Frontier

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In reality, flexibility is key as there can be several inconveniences on any given vacation. A definitive outline is incredibly helpful, however the thrill of “winging it” is always an interesting choice for the invincible travelers.

With or without a guideline your travels will fall into place. Drew and I love spontaneity,  but we encourage you to make responsible and logical decisions. Sculpt the fun days outside of the travel days and be smart with your transportation and self internal calendar. Don’t forget to pick a main event for ever-lasting memories and stories.

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Blog post written by Kristina Parmelee and Drew Silvers
Link to Kristina's blog > here.