In college, it was easier for me to travel frequently in between the semesters. But since graduating and working full-time, I don’t get the same breaks I had in college. Working a full-time job doesn’t necessarily give you the luxury to 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. 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:
1. 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.). This way you can plan a longer trip without sacrificing too many vacation days. Depending on where you’re going, 3 days may be more than enough without you needing to take off any vacation days.
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 Thursday night after work to have more time.
2. Appreciate Your Own Backyard
Your own backyard may have a lot to offer. I am guilty of not learning to love and appreciate what’s in my home country, often opting to travel overseas. Taking advantage of what’s 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!
3. Plan Around Business Trips:
If you work in a field that requires traveling, consider extending your business trip to have time to explore. It’d be even better if your business trip ends on a Friday. This way 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 before, in-between, or after your meetings. Incorporating little things throughout your business trip could make you feel like you’re on vacation.
Extending your trip may also save you and your company a few bucks. If you extend your vacation and fly out on a cheaper day/time, it could save money.
4. Work From Home (WFH):
My job allows me to WFH every Friday. So if I take a long weekend in a nearby location, I can start my vacation on a Thursday night after work. This is as long as I’m in the same time zone. Take advantage of your WFH days; if you don’t get WFH days, 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. But if you can WFH, and decide to travel make sure you have a stable wifi connection.
5. 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. I make sure to use every vacation day allotted to me. Mainly because I deserve to take vacation days (and so do you). And because 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 of vacation days in one sitting, depending on where you’re traveling to. If you’re traveling to Thailand from the east coast of the U.S., you’ll most likely spend an entire day getting to, and from, that region. In this instance, it’d probably make sense to use most of your vacation days to get the most out of the experience. But, if you’re going somewhere closer, 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 days in one sitting means you can’t do another trip later in the year. But again, this really depends on where you’re aiming to travel.
6. Add More Vacation Days:
Looking to travel more than the vacay days you’re given? Check to see if your employer will allow you to buy days. These days will be unpaid, but if it’s 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?