How to Travel with a Full Time Job
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
Raise your hand if you want to travel and also work a full time job. Hi! ME TOO!
For those of us who work full time, it's easy to trick ourselves into thinking we can't travel the world. We grind over 40+ hours a week, pay our bills, and wait for the weekend so we can relax. Look, I get it. My immediate responsibilities include: a full time job, a mortgage, a husband, and a baby. But travel is a priority for me, so I make it happen. YOU CAN TOO.
Raise your hand if these thoughts have ever crossed your mind:
"I wish I could quit my job and travel the world."
"How do these Instagram influencers get paid to travel? Sign me up."
"Can the Travel Channel just call me already and offer me the opportunity to travel the world? I promise to take cute pics!"
Ok so maybe the last one is just me... but honestly, quitting my job to travel the world is just not an option. And for most of you, it probably isn't feasible either.
However, you CAN work a full time job AND still manage to travel the globe. Will you be in New Zealand one weekend and Thailand the next? Probably not. But you can absolutely make these dreams a reality.
JUST HEAR ME OUT, OK.
TRAVEL THE WORLD WITHOUT QUITTING YOUR CURRENT JOB - 6 THINGS TO CONSIDER
1. ADJUST YOUR MINDSET
Instead of thinking "I work too much and/or can't afford to travel," Think "How can I make travel possible while still working full time?"
Although a 2 week island vacation sounds like a dream, that's hard to pull off when you work 40+ hours a week. Set some realistic expectations, like a 3-4 day vacation one or two times a year and one week long vacation. A quick weekend getaway sure beats the crap out of a weekend home.
Adjust your thinking about travel, and your travel dreams will start to become a reality.
Take advantage of the time you DO have and stop talking about the time you don't.
Make travel a priority in your crazy work schedule.
Friends ask me all the time how I manage to take all of this time off from work to travel. Full transparency - I don't use any more vacation days than the company I work for allows. I just prioritize travel, because it's important to me. If you save any PTO days and take advantage of any company roll-over policies, you'd be surprised at how many days you can rack up.
"But I feel guilty taking so much time from work."
I HEAR YOU. This was my mindset for years... until it wasn't. Your company gives you vacation days for a reason. Take full advantage of them!
Put Travel First.
Let's talk holidays with family. Do you take PTO days to see family for the Holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc..)? It's important to spend time with family, I fully understand that. Just ask yourself this, "Would I be willing to skip just one holiday for just one year to save those days for travel?" Or host a holiday one year! It might be hard to skip it the first time, but I'm confident it will be worth it. And then you'll want to do it again, ha!
3. PLAN AHEAD
Let's start planning. As a full time employee, it is wise to plan your trip far enough in advance to get best rates and ensure you can take those dates off from your employer.
Take advantage of extended holiday weekends.
Here are a few ways to get the most out of travel days:
Weekend Trip: 2 days
Holiday Weekends: 3 days
Holiday weekend extension: 4+ days
2 weekends + 5 days PTO: 9 days
1 weekend + 1 holiday weekend + 5 days PTO: 10 days
The last option is the best one for long distance travel.
Let's say you get 2 weeks (10 vacation days) per year from your employer. Here's a scenario of how you could spend your vacation days for optimum travel: (10 days total)
Depending on what side of the U.S. you live, a 5-6 day vacation can get you to: anywhere in the U.S., the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, UK, parts of eastern Europe, and parts of northern South America.
A 10 day vacation can get you ANYWHERE in the WORLD.
Traveling the world seems cool and all, but can we talk about money for a quick sec?
You are a full time employee, grinding hard to earn money to support life's necessities, right?
If you are anything like me, you know a $10,000 week long vacation is totally out of the question.
But travel does cost something.
Manage your Money more effectively - skip brunch, limit dining out to once a month, limit Uber eats to 1-2 times a month, and don't let those Instagram ads for cool new products steal your money!
Choose destinations that are within or below your budget - There are SO many beautiful countries that are inexpensive to travel to. My personal favorite is Thailand, because food costs $1 USD and a 4 Star hotel is $40/night. Here are some more: Asia - Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Sri Lanka Europe - Romania, Georgia, Baltic States, Armenia, Ukraine, Turkey, Croatia Americas - Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guatemala, Argentina, Nicaragua, Honduras Africa - Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Egypt
Use travel programs to score the best deals - Skyscanner or Kayak for flights, Hotels.com for hotels, Airbnb for accommodations, Hotel rewards programs, airline rewards programs, and credit card travel reward points programs.
5. CREATE AN ITINERARY
GOOD NEWS - That's what this site can help you do! Maximize the most of your travels by creating an itinerary for everything you want to see, do, and eat. For those who are more spontaneous, fear not! Creating an itinerary is just a rough draft of your trip. Head to my Travel Itinerary page for examples.
It is important to understand every little cost associated with travel so you won't be stressed on the trip having to dip into some unbudgeted funds. Here are some costs that are often overlooked: luggage fees, rental car fuel, taxis, point of interest entrance fees, tips, and public transportation. In addition, creating a list of points of interest you don't want to miss is a really good idea. Wake up early, see what you came to see, then spend the rest of your day wandering.
6. MAKE A DREAMBOARD
This doesn't have to be anything fancy. I'm a firm believer in printing something out and sticking it somewhere you will see it everyday. This will help keep you motivated to follow through with your goals of traveling.
Have you dreamt of traveling to Bali? PRINT IT OUT and stick it on your work desk. Look at it daily and remind yourself that you can still travel the world, even with a full time job.
Anyone can travel with a full time job!
It might take a little more effort than just winging it, but it's absolutely doable. It starts with how determined you are to make those travel goals happen. If you have the itch to travel, and aren't sure where to start, check out my travel itinerary page or email me and we can chat!
Live Wild and Wander, CHEERS.
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