HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A FULL-TIME JOB?

I am still a realist and cannot say that travel is not expensive. It is. Even if you travel on a budget, you still probably spend more money than you would by just sitting at home, buying food from your favorite grocery store and riding your bike to work. Because traveling is not just a plane ticket. It is also having a place to sleep, eating out and endless transportation from and to airports, between sights and remote locations where you want to see something extraordinary. Therefore, I still cling on to my day job that allows me to have funds for traveling.

I have to admit that I travel a lot. At first, I didn’t realize that, but when I went through my calendar I noticed that I go places on average around once a month. My colleagues and friends always look at me surprised at how can I travel this much. How do I find time to travel with a full-time job? I get these questions a lot, so I decided to finally put it down in an article.

It’s all about prioritization.

If travel is your priority, you’ll find time. Most people around me treat vacation in a classic way: they work all year round and take 4 weeks off in July to have a summer holiday somewhere in Spain. Usually, same spot every year. While this is often a necessity for people with kids, who can take their little ones out of school only at this time, for the rest of young people, it isn’t. I certainly treat my vacation days differently.

1) Use public holidays.

It is very rare that I sit at home when I have free time off due to country’s public holidays. If a day off falls on to Thursday, I will most likely take the Friday off as well and swing by the neighboring country for a long weekend to experience the city, etc. These little extras that are happening everywhere are my window into having more travel beyond the standard vacation time. Therefore, it looks like I am having more travel time, when in fact, I am utilizing the official time off for my purposes.

2) Use your deserved vacation wisely.

I would be very depressed if I used my entire yearly vacation in one go. I always need to have something to look forward to. Therefore, I enjoy taking shorter vacations twice a year and a long one once a year, which will allow me to travel further away, like to Asia or Americas. You need at least couple of weeks for that.

3) Work from home.

Literally, from your mother’s home! Obviously, this depends a lot on your position, company policy and a physical possibility to do your work outside the office. However, most of the office work can be done remotely. If you can convince your manager that he is better off if you work a little bit offsite thus minimizing company’s utility bills, he might agree to that. Last time I went home to Ukraine, I took my work laptop with me and was able to save my vacation days while still traveling. Obviously, you won’t be able to do it if you go backpacking or mountain hiking. But if you are chilling at home drinking mama’s hot cocoa, this might be a great solution.TRAVEL WITH A FULL-TIME JOB - work from home

4) Don’t forget to utilize weekends!

These are perfect for a short weekend trip as well. One of the extreme ways to utilize your weekend is to take a trip right after work, let’s say at 17 on Friday, coming back on Monday morning flight. While this gives you more time to enjoy your destination, it is a bit stressful on your body, which has to be back at work straight after you return. Never tried doing that? Anyways, doing it once or twice a year won’t harm you if you are a real travel soul.

5) Engage in conferences and work trips.

Again, this depends on your job and relevance in your position, but the great way to travel is to do it directly through your work. Make sure you participate in the next conference or seminar related to your tasks and get travel possibilities while keeping your vacation days untouched. If your conference ends on Friday, just make sure to book your return ticket for Sunday so that you could explore the destination on a weekend. Last year I managed to travel three times on work-related issues, while finding time to use it to my advantage not only on the career development front but for personal enjoyment of traveling to nice destinations, like Amsterdam, Brussels, and London. This is what people do!

TRAVEL WITH A FULL-TIME JOB

Booked a stay in Amsterdam for a weekend after a work related workshop in Hague

Remember, it is still about prioritization.

Needless to say, if you really wish to travel, you just need to be on the lookout for opportunities that buy you time to travel with a full-time job. They are everywhere and you just have to prioritize what you actually wish for and it will bring you straight into your dreams’ arms. During 2015 I visited 9 different countries using all of the above techniques to allow me to travel more while successfully keeping up with my work tasks. There might be a possibility for you to do the same! It never hurts to ask.TRAVEL WITH A FULL-TIME JOB - how to travel a lot

Traveling back and forth is sucking out a lot of resources, so for some tips on how to save money and find cheap flights, check out my article: 5 WAYS TO GET CHEAP FLIGHTS

If you need some more inspiration to start prioritizing travels, you might want to look into WHY TRAVEL IS GOOD FOR YOU.

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Do you travel nearly as much as you would love to? What are the techniques you use to have more time for traveling? Share your experience in the comment below!

40 comments… add one
  • Oksana 25 Jul 2016, 9:00 pm

    One more is choosing flight with longer stop on your way. It works good, if it’s easy and cheap to get from the airport where you have break to the city center (Lisbon, Amsterdam, Madrid, from what I know). You can enjoy new city a bit and usually save on flight to your final destination.

    • Lena 25 Jul 2016, 9:08 pm

      Good one, Oksana. Once, I have deliberately chosen a very long stopover in Hong Kong on my way to Malaysia to be able to enjoy the city for a day.

  • JulieAdexter 23 Aug 2016, 10:50 pm

    I teach, so can take holidays regularly, except I have a teenager.But she is older so now think l will be freed to take advantage of the Friday night, or even afternoon departure, as working at home is an option and days can be juggled so that work home ends on Friday. So getting away on Thursday is possible. You work on reports on public transport, easily getting in a 6.5 hour shift before the next day ‘ s sunrise, leaving the whole day free to explore before week end’ s even begun!

  • Aisling Duffy 17 Oct 2016, 3:31 pm

    All great ideas to get more travel time in. I have membership with a travel club where you can go on Dream Trips for 3,4, 5 days so you can experience some of the holidays you would love to take in a short period of time. Fantastic for people who only have weekends or long weekends to be able to travel.

    • Lena 17 Oct 2016, 7:39 pm

      That sounds awesome! Do you mind sharing what travel club is that?

      • Aisling Duffy 17 Oct 2016, 11:17 pm

        Hi Lena, yes it is with a company called World Ventures who have a travel club for dream trips. They have great trips worldwide. Have you heard of them before?

  • Kyle Carella 29 Nov 2016, 1:56 am

    Hey Lena what’s going on, I found you through viral content buzz, I just wanted to say you’ve got an incredible blog in the travel industry, I’m in the travel industry myself and I see that you talk about proritizing to be able travel more and I am very passionate about helping people do that as well! looking foward to connect with you more!

    • Lena 29 Nov 2016, 5:57 pm

      Hi Kyle
      This is great to hear. I just think it is not necessary to quit your job and leave everything behind to be able to travel. You are very welcome to contact me directly, if you wish 😉

  • Cris 22 Apr 2017, 8:55 am

    Great tips! I have a full time (fully freelance) job and as long as I can have good internet, I can work 🙂
    We tend to take a longer trip every 3 months (taking advantage of the weekends, of course) and day trips a lot more! I really dislike traveling on Holidays (more expensive, crowded) but I still do it haha

    • Lena 22 Apr 2017, 10:23 am

      oh yes, traveling on Easter for example can be a hastle, because everyone goes somewhere, right? I usually use this time to go back home, flight prices to Ukraine usually stay the same 😉

  • Lisa // Fjords & Beaches 22 Apr 2017, 8:55 am

    I went from being a student (and travelling ALL the time) to having a full time job last year – and it sure was a transition! Now I try to get my weekend breaks as often as I can, and consider myself lucky that in Norway we get 5 weeks of holiday 🙂 Loved this post!
    Lisa // Fjords & Beaches recently posted…A Guide to the Best Sunset Spots in SydneyMy Profile

    • Lena 22 Apr 2017, 10:21 am

      Yes, we are definitely lucky here in Scandinavia! However, I didn’t travel as much when I was a student for the lack of funds 😀 Where did you study?

  • Justine 22 Apr 2017, 8:57 am

    Great tips in here! I also work full time but try to have 3 holidays abroad every year. I essentially do exactly what you do. I’m also a big fan of taking short weekends away throughout the UK too. For instance I’ve had a weekend camping in Wales (only a few hours drive from where I’m based). Anyway, it’s cool to find someone else blogging away, travelling loads & still working full-time… it can be done! 😉

  • Sara 22 Apr 2017, 9:11 am

    Love this! It’s so true. I am lucky in that I am a teacher, so I have a lot of holiday time as it is… but on top of that I teach abroad so I get to move to a new country every year or two. But You can definitely utilize weekends to travel even more, exploring your own country can be so nice and people often overlook that!

    • Lena 22 Apr 2017, 8:29 pm

      New country a year? This sounds so ideal to me. What are you teaching? Is it a specific school?

  • Kiara Gallop 22 Apr 2017, 10:07 am

    I also work full-time and yes, I totally agree with maximising bank holidays and weekends. I also get flexi days (basically, if you work more hours than your contracted working day, you acrue time to use later; maximum of one day every four weeks) so I build them into that time too 🙂

  • Deepika 22 Apr 2017, 10:13 am

    Loved your post and I could connect coz I am sailing on the same boat! As u said it’s all about what is your priority and also choice I guess, I love taking short breaks rather than long and yes I love my job as much as I love to travel and with a little bit of planning I am able to balance Work and Wander! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    • Lena 22 Apr 2017, 8:50 pm

      and thank you for warm comments!

  • Kenzie 22 Apr 2017, 10:21 am

    I love this so much! I work full time as well and I spent a lot of time last week planning out my vacation days and factoring in weekends and bank holidays… I ended up being able to allot over 50 days in the next year to travel! I’m very lucky to have a good job AND be able to travel the way I do 🙂

  • Ameeta 22 Apr 2017, 10:35 am

    Hey Lena, your strategy for taking time off work is exactly what I do. For city break weekends, taking a flight earliest possible in the morning and the return flight latest possible at night helps me to maximise the time spent in the place I am visiting.

    Cheers,
    Ameeta xx
    Ameeta recently posted…Izamal – The Yellow City of MexicoMy Profile

  • Maria 22 Apr 2017, 10:39 am

    Great post! I’ve been studying and freelancing so far but hopefully am up for the full-time work experience in the near future (fingers crossed for actually getting a job ;)) and have been thinking a lot lately on how to manage traveling then. Your post sure was helpful! I chuckled a bit at the part with “work from your mothers” home – and it’s actually super smart if you can work remotely. Thanks for sharing your tips 🙂

    • Lena 22 Apr 2017, 10:33 pm

      I am happy to hear you find it useful. Good luck with getting a job!

  • Kareemah 22 Apr 2017, 10:47 am

    I’ll defintely be using these tips!

  • Gabby 22 Apr 2017, 1:58 pm

    love this. I have a full time job too and always try to utilize public holidays and work trips – why not?! it is great to take every opportunity you can to travel 🙂

  • Leah 22 Apr 2017, 2:14 pm

    You make some great points! I’m a travel nurse in the US and have anxiety about going permanent somewhere bc i won’t have as much time off. These are good tips.
    Leah

  • Lana 22 Apr 2017, 2:23 pm

    That’s what I also say. I try going to conferences to find an excuse to go somewhere. I also visit friends so I stay at their homes. There are so many ways, it’s great to be positive 😀

    • Lena 22 Apr 2017, 3:43 pm

      Conferences are a great way to travel! Not only you get to see a new place, but also learn something. I like to mix the two as well.

  • Kassie 22 Apr 2017, 4:24 pm

    Yes to all of this! Now that I have a full time job again, I struggled to find the right balance but I think I’ve finally hit my stride. I just went on my first trip while working with this company and it turned out well. Granted, we Americans get a lot less vacation time but you gotta make the best of what you’ve got!
    Kassie recently posted…Paradise With A Side of ParasiteMy Profile

  • Telma | Blank Canvas Voyage 22 Apr 2017, 4:41 pm

    Not everyone quits their job to travel, exactly like you do 🙂
    Although we did save A LOT of money, didn’t use our annual leave and now are travelling the world. I like it. But you seem so happy about your option too 🙂

    Telma @ Blank Canvas Voyage
    Telma | Blank Canvas Voyage recently posted…Camel Safari in JaisalmerMy Profile

    • Lena 22 Apr 2017, 8:20 pm

      Don’t be too quick to judge..haha. I am just doing the best with what I have for now. Time will show.. 🙂

  • Alice Chen 22 Apr 2017, 4:48 pm

    Love the tip about conferences and work trips!! Definitely a great idea!
    Alice Chen recently posted…Itinerary: The Ultimate 7 Days in BeijingMy Profile

  • Bri 22 Apr 2017, 4:49 pm

    Great tips! I live in the US and work full-time as well and have learned to take advantage of all of our holidays and my PTO to take trips far and wide 🙂

    • Lena 22 Apr 2017, 8:16 pm

      I’ve heard you don’t get many vacation days in the USA. How many is that per year?

  • Christina S. 22 Apr 2017, 7:41 pm

    Yes yes yes yes to all of this! I’m right there with you, balancing wanderlust and a full time job on a daily basis. I have no desire to quit and travel the world – it’s good to know others feel the same way.

  • C-Ludik 22 Apr 2017, 9:39 pm

    I always say to my friends that I am a full time worker and part time traveller 🙂 … There is no reason to quit your job if you are passionate about travel and can’t wait until you retire to hit the road ! One of the core aspects of my travel philosophy is to let your job pay for your vacations. The first approach is to tack on personal vacation to business trips. So your employer pays your airfare, but the rest of the trip is on you. The second approach involves racking up frequent flyer and hotel loyalty points during your business travel to then use to pay for your vacations 🙂
    C-Ludik recently posted…The Old Good DaysMy Profile

  • Emily 22 Apr 2017, 9:54 pm

    Great tips and LOVE your blog! Glad I stumbled upon this on female travel bloggers 🙂 Thanks for sharing
    Emily recently posted…How To “Do” Washington, D.C. In A DayMy Profile

  • Miranda 22 Apr 2017, 10:19 pm

    I love this! I’m actually using Labor Day Weekend in September to visit my friend in Arizona! Most people don’t think of these little things.
    Miranda recently posted…Weekly Discoveries | Do We Really Learn Something New Every Day?My Profile

  • Kimberly 22 Apr 2017, 11:29 pm

    Wonderful tips! I was previously the “work multiple contract jobs and then take off for months at a time” type but have just transitioned into a full-time job so this was super helpful. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Paroma Chakravarty 22 Apr 2017, 11:51 pm

    Very good and useful post. As someone with a full time day job (I am a scientist), I often try to take advantage of conference related venues and spend some extra time there. Helps with at least the flight expenses.

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    current time in uk recently posted…current time in ukMy Profile

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