As I prep for my trip to New York to speak and chill at CampGLP, I’m reminded of the value of having an intentional buffer day before traveling. You know how it goes: the day before and after a trip somewhere, you’ve triple-scheduled yourself to get work done (which usually amounts to finishing something up that took longer than you thought it would), prepare your home/life/business for your being gone, and pack and prep to actually get to the plane, train, or automobile in time to get to your destination.
Rush, rush, hurry, hurry — crap, you forgot the dongle. Or deodorant. Or belt. And yet somehow remembered to grab or download the books you won’t actually read.
The backend of the trip plays out in reverse, with a late arrival home and getting up bright and early the next morning to catch up with everything you missed. Doing laundry, sorting the business cards you collected at a conference, and processing the rest of your trip typically wait until the weekend, but the weekend is when it all catches up with you.
Buffer days on both ends of the trip help prevent this rush-stress-mayhem cycle and create way easier travel scenarios. A buffer day is exactly what it sounds like: a lower-key day between when you have to leave and when you have to return to the work of life. I typically recommend a day on the front and back sides of a four-day or longer trip, and two buffer days if the trip is 10 days or longer, and at least three days on both sides for 30-day or longer trips.
The basic idea is that the longer you’ve been out of your routine, the longer it’s going to take for you to transition out of and into it again. If you’re gone longer than 30 days, you’re likely into a new routine altogether; in short, you’ve developed a new normal, and getting into your “normal” home routine is going to take some adjustment.
I’m thinking about all of this, of course, because this one (ish) buffer day isn’t quite the two that I really need. At least there are a couple planned on the backside of the trip!