We love to travel. Who would have known, right? Jokes aside, we REALLY do. Actually, there is nothing we love more. This is why we’ve always hated how our full-time jobs got in the way of our dream to travel more. But one fine day it suddenly hit us. Nothing should come in the way of our dreams. We just had to sit down and figure out ways to make them true. And so we did. Therefore, here we are now, utterly happy to be sharing with you our secrets about how to travel more with a full time job by making the most of your vacation time. Shall we begin?
Our part-time travel pattern
Who wouldn’t want to roam the world freely on a full-time basis? Sadly, not all of us can do so though. At least not yet (do I see a wink over there?). But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t travel as much and as often as we would like. It’s all about a set of time management tricks that anyone can master. Of course, certain restrictions apply depending on the nature of our profession as well as the country we live in.
For example, the happiest among us should be those whose jobs involve a lot of travel for business purposes. We do hope they know how lucky they are and embrace this opportunity to see as much of this world as possible. European citizens come next with a generous vacation leave of 20-25 days per year on average, without counting public holidays. We used to consider that way too little. Until we found out that USA legislation doesn’t even ensure a minimum annual leave for its citizens. Vacation days for Americans are at the discretion of their employers who allow them 10 days per year on average.
However, no matter the difficulties and restrictions, we can all have an annual travel pattern. The latter should stem from the right balance between how much we want to travel and how often we actually can. Not only time but also other factors are at play here such as budget or all sorts of personal commitments. Our very own pattern is pretty straightforward but it really does a great job quenching our thirst for travel. We plan a 2-week trip abroad once a year (16 days of travel translate to just 10 working days if weekends are used wisely, but more on that later on). We also go on a 10-day vacation to the Greek Islands every summer (again, 10 days of travel are in essence 5-6 working days). The rest of our trips both in Greece and abroad are shorter ones, usually from 2 to 6 days long.
If you are not convinced that this pattern actually works, let me just say that from the beginning of this year (01.01.2019) up until the moment I am writing these lines (20.10.2019), we have been on the road for 73 days so far and we are looking at 15 more until the end of the year. Impressive, right? To be honest, this has been our best travel year so far because we managed to go on two long trips rather than just one, but you get the picture. So, now that you know that it’s possible, read on and learn how to travel more with a full time job in 6 easy steps. Plus 2 bonus and seriously bad**s ones.
8 steps to learn how to travel more with a full time job
1. Ask yourselves the simplest question
The first step is a very easy one. All you have to do is ask yourselves why you are reading this article. Why do you want to travel more? If the answer is something along the lines of Because everyone does it on Instagram, there is no need to read any further. But if you reply Because travel is the thing I love the most, then you’ve come to the right place. Making time to see the world may be easy but only if you really want it. Like 1000% want it. Otherwise, neither your commitment nor the efforts are worth it. If travel is your number 1 priority, then you’re already half way to enjoying more frequent travels.
2. Set an achievable goal and plan ahead
We have found that setting a goal regarding how many times we want to travel per year has been key to actually managing to travel more, despite our full time jobs. Our goal is to go on a trip once a month. No matter how short or close to home it is. You should try to figure out an achievable goal too. For example, trying to plan a trip every single weekend might not prove to be that easy. Also, make sure to set a goal that suits your budget and lifestyle. Travel is all about having a good time. We don’t want the logistics to ruin everything for us by being too stressful. Once you have a clear picture of your goal, stick to it and start planning.
Make sure you make a rough annual plan of your travels way in advance. Around September or October of each year, have a look at the following year’s calendar and start highlighting the dates that seem ideal for long or shorter trips. Which brings us to the next very important step.
3. Make the most of annual paid vacation time and public holidays
This is a crucial step in the process of making time to travel more while working a full time job. It has to do with learning how to manage your time in the most effective way. A yearly calendar will be your best friend on this one. Check out all public holidays in advance and use them to your advantage. For example, let’s say that you want to go on a week-long trip abroad in spring. Scan all spring months on your calendar until you find that gorgeous week which has one or more public holidays in it. That’s when you’ll plan your trip. This way, you will indeed be away for a week but you will have used up less paid vacation days. Brilliant, right?
On a related note, don’t forget about the weekends that come before or after this week. Adding these to your trip means that you’ll get to enjoy an almost 10-day itinerary at your destination. It sounds a lot better than a week-long one, doesn’t it?
Regarding your paid vacation time, you will have to use it all for travel. Taking days off just to relax at home or run errands is out of the question. We know you will be tempted to stay in bed on a cold, stormy day or to take a day off to attend to those thousands of other things that torture your minds, but no, you can’t. Travel is your number 1 priority, remember? Therefore, you should make sure your precious paid vacation days are reserved for this sacred purpose alone: vacation. If you really need a day off for either chores or rest, you could use some of your paid sick leave, if that’s possible. But don’t tell anyone we told you to call in sick, OK?
Other time saving hacks you must consider include choosing flight (or other means of transport) times wisely. For example, choose an evening departure flight so that you can go to work in the morning and start your trip in the evening. Similarly and most importantly, try to book the last flight back home so that you get to spend an extra full day at your destination. Of course, this isn’t always easy as there are many factors at play here. But it’s certainly something to keep an eye out for. Last but definitely not least, if you realise towards the end of the year that there are vacation days you haven’t used, discuss it with your employer and do everything in your power to roll over these vacations days to the following year.
4. Don’t underestimate weekends, long or not
We feel that we’re stating the obvious here but we can’t stress the importance of weekend escapes enough. Going away for just a couple of days is enough to recharge your batteries and keep your wanderlust tamed until the next big(ger) trip. Furthermore, a weekend away to some place near home can be as satisfying as a longer weekend to a city abroad. All trips matter. And they all fill our hearts with joy. People who say that it’s not a trip unless you’ve travelled for thousands of miles or spent zillions of euros simply don’t know what they’re talking about.
5. Think outside the box
Sometimes travel opportunities pop up when they are least expected so keep your eyes and ears open. Perhaps a city in your country or abroad is hosting an interesting conference which could prove to be beneficial for your career. Or what about those friends of yours, whom you haven’t seen in ages, but have just invited you to their wedding at the other side of the world? Such fortunate instances are never to be overlooked, let alone dismissed.
6. Discover the treasures hiding in your backyard
Travel is, above all, a mindset. So, if you love travel, you must know that it has nothing to do with distance. When it’s not easy for you to plan a proper trip, you should make the most of your hometown or place of residence by going out and exploring all of its treasures. Every single place on the planet has something special that makes it stand out. Go out there and find it. Start seeing your hometown with the hungry eyes of the traveller you become when you travel to some place new. Do all the touristy things visitors do but also go on a quest to discover your city’s hidden gems as well. Take day trips to all nearby wonders, either cultural or natural ones.
The bottom line is know and love your city/town/village. It is such a pity to have learnt by heart every little detail about the destination you visited during your last trip abroad, to have visited all of its museums, parks and landmarks, but never give a similar chance to your own hometown. No matter how busy we are between website, day jobs and travel, we always make time to see Athens. Sometimes, we walk its ancient paths among crowds of tourists or join guided tours to beloved places we have seen a million times over, such as the Acropolis. Other times, we choose to take the roads less travelled and discover parts of the city we never knew existed. Every time we get so carried away that when we get back home we feel as though we just got back from another trip. Try it, you will love it.
7. Consider finding a job that involves travel
Bad**s tip number 1: Remember those lucky guys we talked about at the beginning of this article? The ones who travel for a living? Well, if you really want to get a taste of this lifestyle, perhaps it’s about time you considered taking a huge step that will literally change your life. After all, nothing is for ever, so if you change your mind along the way, you can always go back to your regular 9-5.
8. Take a career break
Bad**s tip number 2: Although (still) unheard of in this tiny sunny corner of the world we call home, in many other countries taking a gap year is actually not that difficult. In fact, there are employers all over the world who see the benefits of a career break in terms of their employees’ personal growth which will, inevitably, lead to their being more efficient and skilled in their work environment as well. If you’re thinking about taking a career break but wouldn’t know where to start, Lisa and Alex of Career Gappers do an amazing job explaining everything there is to know about career gaps and how to survive them.
If you follow these time saving travel tips, you will most certainly increase your days of travel per year significantly. That said, we know first hand that the more you travel, the more you want to travel. So, if you find that your travel bug has grown to become a wander beast of epic proportions, then you should perhaps start working towards adopting a strategy that will enable you to travel full-time. To do so you will have to squeeze your heads until you come up with all those skills that lay hidden in the depths of yourselves. Those skills that will, ultimately, enable you to work remotely and travel 24/7. Therefore, if you are not happy with your full time job, don’t let it consume you. There is limitless potential inside all of us. All we have to do is reach out and touch it.
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