How to Travel with a Full-time job + how to travel while working full time + how to travel with a full-time job

Looking for tips on how to travel with a full time job? You’ve come to the right place. A big reason for my pivoting to become a travel blogger was to share how I travel while working full time. Since catching the travel itch in 2012, I have taken a combination of 4-5 or more domestic and international trips a year without spending much money or quitting my day job. While scrolling through Facebook, a friend of mine posted this as his status:

Maybe I’m hating, but I’m seeing a lot of 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 these easy tips on traveling with a full-time job and maximizing your vacation time. Taking multiple trips while maintaining a full-time job might seem impossible, but it’s possible and rewarding with the right strategies. In this guide, I’ll share my best tips on how to travel with a full-time job without breaking the bank or jeopardizing your career.

Traveling with a full-time job + how to travel while working full time + how to travel with a full-time job
Traveling with a full-time job in Rome

Make the Decision to Travel More

This is sometimes easier said than done, but if you want to start traveling while working full-time, you have to decide that this is something you want to do. The bottom line is if you keep making excuses, it won’t get done. Plan out the bucket list of destinations you want to visit, create a travel bank account, and start saving money.

Use Your Vacation Days Wisely

I create a strategic plan to maximize my vacation days when researching ways to travel with a full-time job. I look at the number of vacation days I receive for the year and plan my trips around the work calendar. Working as a contractor in FinTech, I didn’t get a paid vacation, so I worked ALL THE TIME. Most companies provide at least ten to eleven annual leave days (or two weeks) a year for new employees to start, with an increase after five years of employment.

If you work at a company that doesn’t let you roll over vacation days, MAKE SURE TO USE THEM! When looking for a new job, I researched companies that provided good benefits that mattered to me, including enough time off for frequent travel. Fortunately, I have found a company that provides plenty of time for vacation leave upon hire and encourages us to use our days.

Travel During Public Holidays

As I learned how to balance traveling while working full-time, I took domestic and international trips during holiday weekends. Vacation days normally don’t include personal days or the 7-10 or more national holidays. If the holiday falls on a Monday, you can travel during the bank holiday weekend, making it a Friday-Monday or Saturday-Tuesday trip.

I have the advantage of living in New York City and being close to the airport, so direct flights to the Southern US and the Caribbean sometimes take 2-5 hours. Plan your vacations before or after the blackout days if you work in a field that blocks off specific times of the year, like back to school, inventory, tax season, or the holidays.

how to travel while working full time + how to travel with a full-time job
Enjoying an extended Holiday Weekend in Havana, Cuba

Take Day or Weekend Breaks

One of the easiest ways to travel with a full time job is to take a day trip or multiple short trips on the weekend. A road trip to the next city or town within your state counts as travel, and you can have as much fun as you would if you were halfway around the world.

For a short weekend trip, I usually book a flight or drive off on a Friday night and return home on Sunday night or Monday morning. I try my best to leave early on Saturday or Sunday for day trips and give myself as much time to explore. Whether flying or driving, I have a maximum 3-hour travel time to enjoy most of my time at the destination.

how to travel with a full-time job - take a day trip + how to travel while working full time
Day trip to Pennsylvania

Schedule an Evening or Red-Eye Flight

I don’t do this often and don’t suggest doing so if you can’t fall asleep on the plane, but booking an evening flight or red-eye allows you to work the whole day and sleep on the plane. If I book a red-eye flight, depending on the destination, I usually land in the morning or afternoon so I am ready to venture out or take a nap after a post-flight shower.

How to travel while working full time
Exploring Athens, Greece after a red-eye flight

Travel on Extended Weekends

Unless your job specifically says so, you do NOT have to use all your vacation days in the same week. Take off for a couple of days in the week or create a 3-4 day long weekend by taking off on a Friday and/or Monday. Some of my favorite domestic trips, like to Miami and New Orleans, have been during extended weekends, using one or two vacation days at a time.

You can also combine extended weekends with bank holidays like I did for international trips to Tobago, Cuba, and Aruba. If I visit a new city, I use Trip Advisor to see what activities can be done during my stay to maximize my time.

how to travel more with a full time job - take extended weekends
Enjoying an extended weekend in Turks and Caicos

Work Remotely

I can work from home as long as there is a reliable internet connection and I notify management in advance. I took advantage of remote work for the first time during the holiday season in the first year at my current job. My family planned a last-minute trip to Ocean City, MD, and my vacation was denied due to my coworker being a senior employee.

Luckily, my manager informed me of the department’s optional work-from-home schedule during Christmas and New Year’s week. We didn’t stay in Maryland for the full week, but I was able to work and enjoy time with my family for the holidays. 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 vacation days.

Travel for Work

A great way to travel with a full-time job is to get a job that includes travel and go on a business trip. Many jobs outside the air and transportation industries have employees traveling on domestic and international work trips, whether for a work conference or recruitment. A benefit of business trips is that the company pays for expenses. You may even be able to squeeze in extra days for vacation time while there to extend your trip.

If you get a job with business travel, ensure you’re always on your A-Game. You don’t want to get fired for silly things like missing an important meeting or deadline because you decided to enjoy the nightlife or sleep in.

Be Flexible

Typically I travel at least once a season. Some shorter trips are spontaneous, while a big trip to Southeast Asia or a week-long trip to a different country is planned well in advance. 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 figuring out someone else’s travel schedule. If I find a glitch fare or awesome deal online. I send a quick text or social media post with my travel buddy or best friend and book the trip. You have 24 hours to cancel the flight if you change your mind.

Take Advantage of Good Deals

Another way to travel with a full-time job is to take advantage of flight deals. 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 has led me to receive great deals on available flights from NYC to cities in the US and foreign countries.

Traveling while working full-time is a skill that can be perfected the more you do it. You can travel frequently without sacrificing your professional life by strategically planning vacations, embracing flexibility, and leveraging travel-friendly career opportunities.

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How to Travel while working full-time + how to travel with a full time job

Do you have tips on how to travel with a full time job? Share them below.

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24 Comments

  1. Great advice. I agree. Planning is key for using your time in the best way but also email alerts for price deals. I love to travel whenever I can!

  2. Great list for people who still work a full time office job. I will be honest I am traveling so much this year even with this year it wouldn’t be possible for me to travel like this with a full-time job so I will never get a corporate job again. I love my freedom too much everyone should have the right to travel multiple times a year…

  3. Your tips are spot on. When I worked full time, I travels 3-4 times per year. I stuck to long weekend and around holidays so that my vacation time would stretch and I could enjoy a few recharge vacations.

  4. Yes, honey, all of these! Flexibility is key. And taking advantage of paid holidays so you don’t lose a day. I am trying to figure out Labor Day now!

  5. I certainly vacation several times a year. This year alone I’ve been to Ski Resort, Miami, Atlanta and New York. I’m headed to SC & VA Beach shortly. A great way to vacation is rolling the weekend and holidays into your travel. This requires less days off.
    Great meeting you in NYC this weekend.

  6. This is definitely something I struggle with. Trying to find time to travel while having a full time job. I agree with everything you said, planning ahead and possibly telecommunicating are great suggestions!

  7. I love those spontaneous vacations but the planned ones are great as well. Taking advantage of vacation days, or more, not taking advantage of them, is a real waste.

    1. What I love about city guides is you can follow the itineraries they list or create your own based on the cost, area etc. it also lists the top rated restaurants. He was! Lol

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