Ever wonder how to Travel with a Full-Time Job? I work full time, but travel as much as I can, and people often wonder how I travel as much as I do while working a job that is neither travel-related, nor requires much traveling outside of the Bay Area. Exploring the world has always been my dream, so making this possible has been a priority of mine. There are many different things you can do to make simple changes to accommodate the type of lifestyle you want to live. Every job is different and what works for some may not work for others. But depending on your personal and professional obligations its worth trying the following tips and see what may work for you.
I know how hard it can be to find the time, and or money, to travel, but nothing is impossible if you really want to do it. When you make travel a priority, it’s easier to focus on what you need to do to reach your travel goals. Whether it means working overtime to earn extra vacation days, or cutting unnecessary expenses to build up your travel fund, if your priority is achieving your travel dreams, all the work is worth it.
So without further ado here are some tips on how to travel with a full-time job:
Use your vacation days: studies show that employees only use 51 percent of their eligible paid vacation, and some 40 percent of Americans will leave vacation time on the table. It’s well known that Americans receive a lot less vacation days than the rest of the world, the amount of paid time off is going to vary from person to person. Whether you get 10 days off or 20 days off it doesn’t matter, what does matter is that you take your well-earned days off. Vacation days are a part of your compensation package, and I believe that taking time off is very important for your mental health, which directly affects your productivity, attitude, and performance at work. Make sure you give notice well in advance so there are no conflicting scheduling issues, and make sure you let whoever else in the office or clients know when you will be out of the office and when you will be returning.
Plan trips around weekends and holidays: Maximize paid time off by traveling during the holidays, and long weekends. Long weekends are busy and often expensive weekends to travel but if you add days to each end of the weekend you will save a lot of money on airfare. For example, traveling from Wednesday to Tuesday will be cheaper in terms of airfare and you can even turn a 3-day weekend into a 10 day trip for only 5 vacation days (Sat-Mon). Of course a standard weekend won’t afford enough time to visit a new country, but with a little planning and a late-night Sunday or early-morning Monday flight home, you can make a decent dent in a new city. Check out this article on Elona Karafin who works full time, travels on the weekend and proves you don’t need a lot of money to do so!
Take advantage of business trips: My current full-time job doesn’t send me around the world but when I have traveled for work, I’ll make a point of extending my trip so I can either explore the town I’m in. This is an easy way to cover the cost of your flight and might even save your company money, you could offer to fly home on a mid-week afternoon flight (which would likely be cheaper). Now your flight is paid for, you had a mini-vacation, and you even saved the company some money. This is even better when your business trip ends on a Friday and you can extend your trip over the weekend.
Ask to work remotely full time / part time: Asking your boss to work remotely will vary greatly depending on the type of work you do, how long you’ve been at a company, the kind of relationship and trust you have built with your employer, but you never know what they will say until you ask! If your company approves this be sure to check-in often and gain trust while working from home before booking a weekend getaway where you will be “working from home.” Here are some tips from The Muse on getting the conversation started, and another great work remotely read with specific examples and email templates.
Negotiating your benefits: When starting a new job, or when you receive a promotion, negotiate for extra paid time off, or in exchange for declining other employer-paid benefits. A three-to-four percent increase translates to only $40 per week so it may be worth forgoing for X amount of extra days of paid vacation instead. If all else fails you can always take unpaid vacation days, remember your health is your wealth!
Here are some tips on negotiating your benefits.
Set-up a travel fund bank account: Many of us use excuses not to travel; our housing, car payments, and loans can seem like there is no way we could afford save for anything other than our basic life expenses. But if you want something enough you will find a way to make it work! Start out by creating a bank account just for travel savings and put $100 (or any amount) in there each month. Keeping your end goal in mind and cutting back on all unnecessary expenses will help you reach your desired outcome. Start out by using this calculator to figure out how much you make each month, then break down your expenses, to figure out what you will have left over, and what you can feasibly put into savings.
Learn travel hacking: Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive, there are so many travel hackers out there that give great tips on how to find the best deals, how to accumulate points, how they travel for little or no money and more. For example you can look for new ways to earn frequent flyer miles and points. There are many ways you can easily earn enough miles to book at least one free flight every few months. Check out the points guy to see which credit cards are offering the best sign up incentives right now, and how you can turn your everyday expenses into miles which will add up to free travel.
Need more inspiration? Check out Ruby Escalona’s article on Chris Guillebeau site on how she was able to travel while working full time. Or how thepanetD manages their travel blog while working full time. And how this millennial nomad affords full-time travel!
When you have a travel goal in mind it is a lot easier to save money and work towards achieving your travel dreams. How do you manage traveling with your full-time job?
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