In college, it was easier for me to travel frequently in between the fall and spring semesters. But since graduating and working full-time, I don’t get the same breaks I had in college. Working a full-time, 9-5, job doesn’t necessarily give you the luxury to just up and leave whenever you have a travel itch. Some of you may agree with me when I say that traveling is a passion of mine, but so is my career – and I don’t believe I have to give up one to have the other. While I applaud and admire those who travel full-time, that isn’t for me. However, I still find ways to travel without having to sacrifice my career – which I am sharing below:
PLAN AROUND holidays & long weekends
You may have a limited amount of vacation days, but still want to travel as often as possible. Take advantage of holidays that fall around the weekend (e.g. Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc.) so you can plan a 3 day trip. Depending on where you’re going, 3 days may be more than enough without you needing to take off any additional vacation days. Even if you decide to plan a trip around an actual holiday, like Christmas, you’ll be using less vacation days for it.
My current employer gives me “Summer Friday’s“, which means I have every other Friday off. I take advantage of these 3 day weekends, often leaving on Thursday night after work to have more time.
APPRECIATE WHAT’S IN YOUR BACKYARD:
Your own backyard may have a lot to offer. I am guilty of not learning to love and appreciate what is in my home country, often opting to travel overseas. But taking advantage of what is presented in your own backyard could save you some vacation days, if not all of your vacation days. Taking a road trip to a nearby city/state/country could be a great weekend excursion!
PLAN AROUND business trips:
If you work in a field that requires you to travel once in a while for a client, then consider extending your business trip to have time to explore. It’d be even better if your business trip ends on a Friday, so you can have the weekend to do whatever you want! And during your actual business trip, you can incorporate things that you want to do. Want to go to a certain restaurant? Maybe you can plan to go in between, or after, your meetings. Incorporating little things throughout your business trip will make you feel like you’re on vacation.
Extending your trip may also save you and your company a few extra bucks. If your company was going to pay for your flight during a peak day/time, extending your vacation could help them save money if you fly out on a cheaper day/time. Your plan ticket would also be one less thing to worry about, since your company is paying for it.
work from home (WFH):
My job allows me to WFH every Friday. So if I decide to take a long weekend in a nearby location, I can technically start my vacation on a Thursday night after work (as long as I’m in the same time zone). You should take advantage of your WFH days, and if you don’t get WFH days then consider asking your employer if it could be an option. But be mindful that this option really depends on the type of work you do, if you can’t do most of your work on a laptop then this might not be an option for you. However, if most of your work can be done on a laptop there shouldn’t be any reason you can’t WFH as long as you have a stable wifi connection.
use VACATION DAYS wisely:
The U.S. is stingy about the amount of vacation days employees get, and most don’t even use all of their vacations days . I on the other hand, am not like most Americans and make sure to use every vacation day allotted to me. Mainly because I deserve to take vacation days (and so do you) and my days don’t roll over. Once the year is gone, so are my vacay days. But when taking these vacation days, make sure you schedule strategically.
You could take your 2+ weeks worth of vacation days in one sitting, depending on where you’re traveling to. For instance, if you’re looking to travel to Thailand from the east coast of the United States then you’ll most likely be spending an entire day getting to, and from, that region. In this situation, it would probably make sense to use most, if not all, of your vacation days to get the most out of the experience. But, if you’re going somewhere closer (think the Caribbean, Europe, etc.) then you probably don’t need to take all of your vacation days.
I personally like to spread out my vacay days to try and get more trips throughout the entire year. Taking all of your vacation days in one sitting means you won’t be able to do another extended trip somewhere else later in the year. But again, this really depends on where you’re aiming to travel.
Add more vacation days:
If you’re hoping to travel more than the vacay days you are already given, check with your employer to see if they will allow you to buy more days. Clearly these days will be unpaid but if this is something you can afford to do, I say go for it!
How do you travel while working full-time? How do you maximize your vacation days to ensure you still get to enjoy traveling?