Now back from Vegas, I have the data to see if my recent travel experiment was a success.
My goal was to spend four days on a working vacation at somewhere fun (in this case, Vegas) but with minimal disruption in my fitness, expenses, workflow, or income, yet while still having a fun and relaxing experience. Here’s how I did on the goals I set last time.
1. Put in several hours of real work all four days.
I went on a Sunday- to- Wednesday trip and put in real work hours all four days. On the travel days, when I spent lots of time traveling, I put in less than on the non-travel days. That’s okay. Using timers, I put in the following work hours:
Sunday (travel day): 2 hours
Monday: 4 hours
Tuesday: 4 hours
Wednesday (travel day): 2 hours
To be clear, as I discuss over at Sublime Your Time, these are real, hardcore work hours, not shuffling-paperwork hours or bullshit-with-co-workers hours or screw-around-on-the-internet hours. So over my working vacation, I got some real work done. It felt really great.
When I finally got back on Wednesday evening, the next day I had a real feeling of peace. Why? Because I wasn’t behind on anything. I just rolled right back into my normal work routine. I was even ahead of schedule on a few projects. Very nice; an unexpected benefit of my working vacation.
I also have daily income goals that I track and I hit those goals in all four days while in Vegas. I came home from my “vacation” with quite a bit more money in my checking accounts.
During my trip, I would wake up, exercise, get settled, put in about two hours of work in my beautiful corner hotel room, overlooking the city with my floor-to-ceiling windows (the Wynn is by far my favorite hotel in the world, and that’s one of the reasons). Then I’d leave and do fun stuff for a few more hours, then come back in the early evening, after the sun had gone down, and put in another two hours on work, again overlooking the beautiful night city.
I had an extremely enjoyable time with this routine. Work and play; very balanced and relaxed. I can’t wait to do it again.
2. Spend the absolute minimum amount of money I can possibly spend with the one exception of the hotel room.
More or less accomplished.
In past Vegas trips, I spent whatever the hell I felt like, shelling out about $110 a day on incidentals. This included things like:
– Taxi, shuttle, and monorail travel
– Misc fun stuff
– Parking (including parking my car at the airport for 4 days)
In other words, “incidentals” means everything that I spend money on when I travel except for the hotel room and the plane ticket. I do not include blackjack winnings or losses, since I carefully track that separately (as you know if you read this blog).
Doing my best this time around to be as cheapy cheap as possible, I was able to bring that $110 daily figure down to $81 per day. I spent $324 on all incidentals over the course of four days. I could have shaved $40 off that if I had a friend or family member drive me to and pick me up from my local airport, which often I do.
$81 a day isn’t super great, at least in my opinion, but it’s a definite improvement. Also, you have to consider that normally, when I’m not on vacation, I still spend about $25 a day in my normal life on food and gas. Accounting for that, we’re down to about $50 per day in additional vacation expense. Not too bad.
I also won a net profit of $120 playing blackjack in Vegas, but again I won’t count that towards this trip since I consider blackjack winnings to be a part of a separate, ongoing part of my budget. On my next blackjack post, I’ll post my exact winnings and losses for this trip.
If you’re wondering what the airfare cost me, it was only a grand total of $92 round-trip, since I used some frequent flyer miles and other travel hacking to get that cost down. My real “cost” was the hotel room, which I spent several hundred dollars on. As I said in the last post on this topic, the hotel room is the big part of the joy for me. I also have a higher income and I am very anal about budgeting, so spending that money is no big deal for me. That’s why I’m focused on having everything else being so cheap and working (and thus making money) during my trip to help offset the cost of the hotel room.
If you were to follow this model, you would simply choose a cheapy hotel room, or as nice a hotel room as is reasonable for your income level.
3. Eat the exact same type of foods (more or less) as I would eat on any other day.
Every day, I ate two big chicken cobb salads plus a small snack like some ice cream. I weighed myself every morning (the Wynn gives you scale in your bathroom) and actually lost an entire pound of scale weight during my vacation.
This is the first time, ever, in my entire life, that I lost weight on a travel trip. Literally. I usually gain 4-6 pounds on trips like this, infuriating me once I get back home and forcing me to re-diet for another week or two just to get back to where I was.
Not this time. This is a big milestone for me and really makes me happy. One of the big lifestyle barriers to frequent travel, at least for me, was that I always gained a pile of weight every time I traveled. Hopefully this will be the start of a new habit, which will allow me to travel wherever I want and it won’t affect my weight or fitness goals in a negative way.
4. Exercise the exact same amount as I would on any other day.
More than accomplished.
I did my usual 20 minutes of hard cardio every morning plus I did a lot of walking, as I usually do when I travel.
So I consider this experiment a success. The next time I travel (not including camping and hiking) will probably be in July when I conduct my Washington DC seminars, and I will duplicate this model as best I can. That trip will be a little more complicated, since unlike this Vegas trip, I will be required to be at certain places at certain times for most of the days. I’ll be conducting seminars, attending seminars and conferences, and will have various business meetings.
I’ll update you on how that goes, but I’m very optimistic about this new model.