Skip to main content

7. Free Time: (full)

Ureka! Wow! & Whoopee!   SIT’s ‘solo Independent’ travel, IMO, is the most freedom-driven, flexible &  fulfilling form of travel because SIT travelers are fully in control of their experience from the moment they decide to travel.

"Free time” may be the greatest, un-discovered SIT (solo independent travel) traveler’s  “hidden gold mine! 

A SIT traveler’s ‘free time’ is their ‘chocolate syrup on top of chocolate ice cream.’ (I am a chocolate addict.😢. Her ‘free time’ is THE unexpected SIT treat. 

    A. What is SIT traveler’s ’free time’?

A SIT traveler’s Free Time is ‘their entire trip’s duration LESS the time they intentionally allocate to visit sites & activities, transportation, meals & sleep.

Specifically, SIT travelers "free time “ are chunks of time intentionally set aside either with 1) with no pre-planned purpose or 2) intentionally sprinkled throughout an itinerary. 

“Flexibility is the primary goal of sit traveler’s ‘free time’ because it alloow SIT travelers to 1) explore sites & activities more deeply, or 2) take advantage of unforeseen opportunities whenever they arise unexpectedly serendipitously. 

    B. SIT traveler’s ‘free time is twofold:    
         1. “Free Days”:
ONE ‘free day’ for every 7 days of travel intentionally, absolutely UNplanned AND purposely set aside in their Personal Itinerary. 

Originally, on my free days, I planned to do laundry, run errands, etc, BUT I immediately realized that 1) I do my quick-dry laundry almost daily at day’s end and 2) because I pre-plan my travel inventory [pplk:  IMV]. so precisely there are few errands I need to waste travel time on OR I slip such errands into my walkabouts. 

Wonderfully, I used my ‘free days’ to catch up on sites or activities I had forgone or make unplanned walkabouts to ‘new’ neighborhoods or countryside walks. I realized I was way too into my travel to waste time sitting around doing what I might do back home. So most free days were additional valuable travel days.      

What Bee is NOT always busy?” 😇

        2.surplus free time a chunk of extra time intentionally added to or ‘hidden in' the actual time I allocate to visit a site. 

When creating my itinerary I always added surplus time to my estimate of the time I thought I actually needed for each site or activity I would visit. 

IOW, .e.g: If my true estimate was 5 min to stop & look at a statue, I would add another 10 minutes for a ¼ hr total … just in case I needed more time on-site.  If I didn't need the surplus time for that statue, It just became ‘free time’ to use later in the day on other sites or unexpected opportunities.

    C. Benefit of ‘free time’?   
        1. actual estimates of on-site time is already generous so I'm not rushed.

        2. if my estimates are wrong, I have extra surplus time to stay longer.

        3. I can fully explore and appreciate my site visits and activities.

        4. if too much extra, if too much surplus free time at the end of my five sites, I can either do the first sight for the next day, or just do a walkabout in a new neighborhood.

Mainly, ‘free time’ allows you to explore the unexpected: some local shops, snack with locals at a street food stall, or strolling open market aisles choosing her night’s ‘fixings’. Tiny travel ‘sparks’ that true travelers live for.

    D. How to structure ‘free time’?   
        1. Free days: 
My travel itinerary scheduled 1 ‘free day’ for every 7 days I travel with absolutely NOTHING planned for the free day. Eventually, I even ignored flight & long train or bus travel between cities within those 7 days making the 7 days & Free day even more valuable.

       2. Surplus free time:
Once you have determined ALL your desired Travel Buds, 

           a. arrange them in the most efficient sequential visiting order so that you don’t waste time doubling back on your earlier day’s route. 

Exactly like your UPS, FedEx or Google or Amazon driver does. Ironically, those companies have software that actually plan the driver’s route for them.      SIT travelers may soon have such an app

          b. Strategy
Let’s assume you have 5 sites within a few blocks of each other that you think you want to visit that day.
     1. Locate each of your sites, activities and walkabout areas on a street map.  (Google/Apple maps, Maps, guidebook map or online tourist map, etc.)

    2. List them in most time-efficient, sequential 1-5 order to visit so you won’t waste time doubling back over your earlier walking path. 

    3. Assign an estimated amount of on-site time for each of my 5 visits.

      For Example: 
        Assume we start at my hostel close to a statue. 
             1) I estimate walking time at 5 min & another 10 min to visit statue for a total time of 15 min or ¼ hr. 

            2) Our route’s 2nd site is a museum 4 blocks away for an estimated walking time of ¾ hr. from our statue.   This museum is interesting so we’ll estimate 2hr visit time it for a total guess of 2 ¾ h.

            3) Now we add an estimated ¾ hr of surplus free time in case museum is more interesting than we thought for a total of 3 1/2 hr, and so on

However, If my mere estimates just happen to be accurate, I know I already MAY have an extra 50 minutes of surplus free time to use for unexpected opportunities.

    E. TIPs:  
          1. Out & Back routing:  I often Uber/bus to farthest point on my daily itinerary and then walk back, from site to site, in a combined walkabout and sites.     

              Anecdote: Yangon, Myanmar: I taxied to Chaukhtatgyi Paya temple in NE Yangon & walked back to my hostel via 2-3 pagodas including famous Shwedagon Pagoda, a busy market place etc. A good mix.

         2. Walkabout loop: My walkabouts are often just loops from my hostel;  no Uber needed.


      Big Bus Tour tourists have occasional afternoons & evenings ‘free’, but with NO pre-trip planned option leaving to expensive company arranged “experiences or boring hang out at hotel.
      Cruisers have limited shore excursions & often too much time at sea (“sea days’) & are therfore prey to boring wasted time, too much food & expensive shopping & activities.


Join my mailing list to get new content notifications.

* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp