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By 10 a.m., he might be on his first nap. As a teenager, I was just rolling out of bed.
Dad life gets a bad rep (see those Progressive insurance commercials or any meme on the popular Middle Class Fancy Instagram). But let me tell you, dads are on to something: Getting up early is the key to vacation.
Wherever I am, I like to enjoy the peaceful morning hours while everyone else is in bed. I probably started this in my early 20s at the start of my career, when my vacation hours were precious. Plus, I’ve never been a great sleeper — especially when I’m not at home — so waking up early comes easily to me. It allows me to reflect and take in my surroundings without the noise of everyone else.
Most mornings when we woke up, my dad had already been up for hours. By 10 a.m., he might be on his first nap.
To be clear, I don’t really want to travel with anyone else who likes to get up early. This is my “me” time.
If there are beach or pool chairs to be saved, I’m saving them. If there’s a coffee shop to walk to, I’m checking it out — and bringing back coffee for everyone. (See, they benefit, too.) If there are people to watch, I’m watching them.
I’ve wandered the streets of Florence and taken in the early-morning sun on the Greek island of Santorini. I’ve enjoyed empty beaches on the Cayman Islands and had practically whole days to myself while friends slept off hangovers in Las Vegas. For me, it’s a way to see a city as it wakes while locals head to work and shop owners prepare for tourists.
When I’m the first person to get up on vacation, I’ve already come up with a plan by the time someone gets up and asks, “So, what are we doing today?” Control freaks — this tip is for you.
So on your next trip, maybe you’ll get up at the crack of dawn, too. As any dad would say: We didn’t come here to sleep.
More travel tips
Planning: Your guide to traveling again, in 5 steps | How to move to Europe | Less busy national park alternatives |Protect your plans from covid chaos | Save on wedding travel | How to cook at a vacation rental | How to travel with kids under 5
Road trips: How to find a rental car | Snacks | National park tips | Rental car disasters | Try Kevin Costner’s road trip app | Trying a fancy bus from NY to DC | How to save on road trips as gas prices soar | What it’s like to rent from Turo
Flying: What to do about lost luggage | Getting through to airline customer service | How to get a refund | Extend your flight voucher | Find a good neck pillow | How to deal with chaotic airports | Cut the line at the airport | Get your kid a frequent flier account | Plane workouts | Why you should pick your seat | Can you fly with edibles? | When an airline bumps you | Your canceled flight emergency kit
Camping: Finding a campsite | Plan your meals | Solo camping | First-time tips | Watch out for wildlife | 6 surprising camping essentials
Greener travel advice: Should you bike to the airport? | How to find ‘greener’ flights | How to actually make your travel better for the planet | What it’s like to rent an EV
Hot takes: Get up early on vacation | Why you should dress up for a flight | Talk to strangers | In a relationship? Travel alone anyway