One of the reasons for adding a travel section to my blog was to show how I make the time to travel while working full-time. Since catching the travel bug back in 2012, I have taken a combination of 4-5+ domestic and international trips without spending a ton of money. Earlier this week, a friend of mine posted this on his Facebook status:
Maybe I’m hating, but I’m seeing people take 4 and 5 vacations a year. When do you guys get time to work?
After informing him that he was indeed hating, I decided to share a few tips on how I travel while working full-time.
Make the Decision to Travel More
This is sometimes easier said than done, but if you want to travel more while working full-time, you have to make the decision that this is something you want to do. Create a travel fund and start saving money. Also, remember that visiting the next city within your state or the next state over counts as travel. You can have as much fun on, if not more sometimes a day trip as you would on an extended vacation.
Use Your Vacation Days Wisely
Most companies provide at least 10 paid vacation days (or two weeks) a year for new employees to start. When I started researching ways to travel while working full time, I evaluated the number of vacation days received for the year. I’m fortunate to have a job that provided three weeks vacation and I’ll receive an additional week after 4 years (I’m currently at 3). Now vacation days are for vacation only and I make sure to use them! Some companies don’t allow you to roll over vacation days and you DON’T want to lose them.
Take Advantage of Federal Holidays
Vacation days normally don’t include personal days or the 7-10 or more paid Federal Holidays. If the holiday falls on a Monday, you can easily create a Friday-Monday or Saturday-Tuesday trip. Living in NYC has its advantages because direct flights the Southern US and Caribbean are sometimes between 2-5 hours. As I learned how to balance traveling while working full-time, I’ve taken both domestic and international trips during holiday weekends and maximized my time while there. If you work in a field that blocks off specific times of the year like back to school, inventory, tax season, or the holidays, plan your vacations before or after the black out days.
Take Extended Weekends
Unless your job specifically says so, you do NOT have to use all your time at once! Break up your vacations into shorter trips during extended 3-5 days weekends. You can also combine extended weekends with Federal Holidays like what I’m doing on my trip to Tobago next month. Some of my domestic trips to Miami, and New Orleans have been during extended weekends or by using one or two vacation days at a time. If I’m visiting a new city, I use Trip Advisor to see what activities can be done during my stay to maximize my time.
I have the ability to work from home as long as there is a reliable internet connection and I notify management in advance. I took advantage of this during the holiday season my first year. My family planned a last-minute trip to Ocean City, MD, and my vacation was denied. Luckily, my manager informed me of the department’s optional work from home schedule during the Christmas and New Year’s week. We didn’t stay the full week, but I was able to be with my family and work. Not every employer offers the option to work from home but it is a plus during family emergencies, cold days, snowstorms, or if I find a great flight deal and have limited days.
Travel for Work
An easy way to travel frequently while working full-time is to get a job that allows you to travel. There are tons of jobs OUTSIDE the air and transportation industries that have employees travel domestically and internationally at the company’s expense. If you’re about that “travel for work” life, just make sure you’re always on your A-Game. You don’t want to get fired for silly things like missing an important meeting because you decided to enjoy the nightlife.
Plan Ahead, but be Flexible
Typically I travel at least once a season. Some trips are spontaneous while others are planned well in advances. When I finally pick my destinations, I check prices on flights and hotels at least 2-3 months prior. Since I usually travel solo, it is easier than trying to figure out someone else’s travel schedules. As mentioned, there are times when I book spontaneous trips. There’s always a glitch fare or awesome deal available online. If I find one, I try my best to buy it as soon as possible. If you have a travel buddy, send a quick text or social media post and make that last minute trip. Most of the time you have 24 hours to cancel the flight.
Take advantage of Flight Deals
Taking advantage of flight deals are another way to travel frequently while working full time. Airfare can be expensive so finding a glitch fare gives the ability to save money for future trips. Subscribing to The Flight Deal, Airfare Watch Dog and other travel related sites on social media have opened my eyes to see deals that are available from NYC and other states.