18 tips on how to travel more (even if you have a full-time job)
Work hard, travel harder. This has been my motto for years!
I know we all dream about travelling more but we all have real-life responsibilities like having a full-time job and paying rent. I know that life can get complicated and travelling around the world is not always an option. Trust me, I know your struggle, I’m in your exact position. I’m a 9 to 5ers too. However, I have successfully managed to bring travel into my cubicle and my life. I do 2 big travels (more than 1 week) and around 5 short trips (between 1 to 3 days) per year! All without breaking the bank and without risking my job!
Here are 18 awesome and easy tips on how to travel more! After all, work and travel don’t have to be mutually exclusive. These tips are super easy to apply and it will make you want to book your next vacations after reading these.
I’ve classified the tips from obvious tips to the not so ones. So keep reading if you think thay some tips that look too basic.
1 . Use ALL your PTO!
Probably not the biggest revelation in life, however it is proven that most people don’t use all their vacation days. In fact, Americans left 768 Million U.S. Vacation Days Went Unused in ‘18. Mind-blowing, I know! 🤯
Think about it like a monetary transaction, these unused days are like giving a portion of your salary back to your employer. So, why are you not using all of your vacation days? Why are you giving back money that belongs to you?
Studies say that it is because of the fear of your job security. However, if you do a good job and your company is in a good financial position, leaving on vacation should not be a cause of stress. You will probably not be fired for taking the vacation days that are in your contract. In fact, you will be more productive when you get back!
2. Ask for your time off in an adequate way
Ok, now that we have established that you need to use ALL of your vacation days, you need to be smart about how to request them. First, you need to ask for your days off in the proper manner so you don’t ruffle the feathers of your boss. I have put together a list of simple and great tips on how to properly ask for your vacation time. I will guarantee that by following these tips, you have a higher chance of getting your vacation approval. I’m a manager and these are the steps that I ask my team to follow.
One of the things to keep in mind is that if you love to travel, traveling more will make you happier and it will keep you motivated throughout the year. Thus traveling will make you more productive at work and improve your overall quality of life. So keep this in mind when you are asking for those extra vacation days.
3. Map it out
Take a calendar and a pen, you will need it! This will allow you to make a smart vacation planning! Be smart on how to take your vacations by using the statutory holidays.
On the calendar, write down all of the statutory holidays that you have. Now try to plan your vacations around them. Why? Because this will allow you to have EXTRA days for free!
For example, for labour day, you have a 3 day weekend. So now all you need to do is to take 4 days off and you will successfully turn four vacation days into nine.
I love taking vacation during the Christmas holidays because you have 2 back to back days off and the company will probably give more paid days. For me, as a benefit, the company gives me 2 more extra paid days during this time, so all you have to do is take 3 more days and you can turn it into a 12 days of vacation. So take this take to travel to see your family or I know you have been dying to go visit one of the European Christmas markets. So why not make this dream a reality.
4. USE YOUR WEEKENDS WISELY
If you think that you don’t have enough time to travel? Think again! There are 104 Saturdays & Sundays in a year which means 104 opportunities to travel. Use these days to create lifetime memories by becoming a weekend explorer. Check out my weekend guides to get some inspiration.
5. Explore your own backyard
Who said that travelling has to involve a plane and travelling to the other side of the world? Explore what you have on your own backyard! There are great destinations near you waiting to be discovered! I live in Montreal and I have compiled 20+ great getaways from the city! I spent countless hours looking at a map and see what is close to me.
6. Save money
It goes without saying that you need to save money to travel more. However, travelling has all sorts of shapes and budgets.
Plan your travel according to your budget. While luxury travel governs our Instagram feed, we cannot all afford it. Maybe, your budget only allows you to rent a room at an airbnb or to couchsurf, or to go camping. Choose whatever works best for you! Travel should not put a negative financial burden into your life. Plan a vacation that fits your budget.
The hubby, who used to be a banker, put together 5 tips on how to save money to travel more. Of course, these could be paired with other easy money saving tips that are obvious like stopping eating out, not buying coffee every day or doing fewer manicures. Do whatever works best for you. For us, we choose to travel instead of buying a new TV. Every time we have the money for the new TV we decide to use it on our vacation.
7. Be open minded about your destination
Leave your bucket list destinations at the door and embrace unexpected vacations! Trust me, this one of the best tips I can give you!
Although we all have our bucket lists, these do not need to be religiously followed, try to think outside the box. By doing this you are opening yourself to new adventures that are CHEAP! Check what are your best tickets prices for a time that is convenient for you and book them! Do all the logistics and travel planning later. This is great for any vacation length.
To take the most advantage of these features, use the "Everywhere" in the "to" field into google flights or Skyscanner. These give you an overview of all the cheap flights that you can have. Or subscribe to flight deals newsletters to receive all the latest deals.
8. Try not to travel during peak season
Travelling off-season or in shoulder-season will not only be less crowded but it will be cheaper. Also, you will have a bigger probability to have your vacations accepted by your boss since you will not be taking your vacation at the same time as everyone else.
During this time, your plane, hotels, tours, will be significantly cheaper than in high season.
9. Try travel hacking or When to Book your vacation?
CheapAir did a study on when to book your vacation to score the best deal on flights! The study says that the best time to book is between 21 and 175 days in advance. Apparently, which day of the week you buy an airline ticket doesn’t really matter. However, the prices fluctuate on the day that you fly. The study as given by Travel+Leisure says that “Tuesday and Wednesday are the cheapest days to fly, with an average savings of $73 per ticket, while Sunday is the most expensive day to fly”. So what are you waiting for? Set alerts for specific trips to see when prices go down and book between that time frame!
This word has been trending lately. But what is this weird word? Well, its Business + Pleasure. This means to take advantage of your work trips and extend them into a holiday. Take advantage of that conference or business meeting to travel more on your own! It goes without saying that your extra days should not impede your work and it also means that the extra days are not paid by the company. However, you can negotiate a few extra days and you will save the price of your airfare! The hubby had to travel to a conference in Johannesburg and I followed him. By doing this, we had the chance to extend the trip 4 more days and we decided to go on a Safari. See extending your work travels, can lead you to great adventures!
If you work remotely, then you don’t need to be in a fixed place all the time. See what are the work-from-home / telecommuting policies at work and see how you can work around it. Maybe you can be working from the beach instead of being in your salon during the harsh winters. Leverage these policies and see from where you could be working.
11. Sign up for a travel credit card and other Frequent flyers Programs.
Let's put it this way, every time you use your card you will be saving for your next trip. With the traveller credit cards, you accumulate points and then you can exchange them for miles or hotel nights!
Frequent flyers Programs and hotel loyalty are great and have a lot of rewards if used wisely. So sign up and see how you can start accumulating your airplane miles and points!
12. Visit family and friends abroad
I have family and many friends in different countries. Travelling to see your friends and family is great because you will save big time on accommodations and you will get the chance to discover a city with a local. For me, I got to visit long-time family friends that live in Montevideo. Otherwise, I would have probably skipped this great city!
13. Visit cheap destinations
Travelling to cheap destinations will make you save a ton of money! Think about how your currency is compared to others. For example, if you are coming from Canada, going to London can be SUPER expensive. However, if you go somewhere where your currency is stronger then you will have more money to splurge on your travels. For example, think about going to eastern Europe instead of going to western Europe, where most of the countries do not have the Euro. Or travel to Argentina where the pesos is really low compared to the Dollar.
14. Take advantage of red eye flights
If you have limited time then take advantage of the red-eye flights. These overnight flights allow you to arrive at your destination in the morning so you can make most of your time there. This will save you some precious time! Plus, these are often the cheapest flights!
15. Take a workcation
Ok so, what is a workcation and why it might be a good cure for your wanderlust? The Muse describes a workcation as “gives you a chance to get a change of scenery, without using your precious vacation days”. This means that you get to be out of the office but you will still have to work. So ask your boss and explain your idea. Of course, this depends on the type of work that you do.
16. Be creative with your planning
Take advantage of free stopovers! With this could be doing 2 destinations with the price of one. A stopover is a multi-day stop or a visit to a location en route to your final destination. You can plan these by doing a multi-city itinerary or sometimes it is included in your airfare.
Be creative when booking your flight and see what are the cheapest way to get to your destination. Open a map and see what can be landing opportunities.
For example, we wanted to go to Germany to visit the Christmas markets so we decided to land in Belgium, rent a car there and drive to Germany as it was cheaper than to land in Germany. Plus, we got the chance to visit another country! We used this same strategy for when we wanted to go to Bulgaria. It was significantly cheaper to land in London and from there, take advantage of the European charter flights like Ryanair. Doing this, we had the chance to stay in London for around 8 hours and then change airports and go to our next destination.
17. Spend your overtime hours
The animation field has a lot of work fluctuations; during peak moments, I’m required to do a lot of overtime. This is not entirely bad because I take advantage of this overtime to collect bank hours and use them when things get calmer. These banked hours can get exchanged for vacation days later during the year. I like to either wait until I have a few days accumulated and marry them with my 3 weeks paid vacation or I take a few long weekends here are there. These accumulated hours are great to do shorter trips.
18. Negotiate extra vacation days
If you desire to travel more, consider negotiating more vacation days next time you will negotiate your contract with your employer or if you are starting a new job. Instead of only negotiating your salary try to negotiate more days. I have successfully negotiated an extra week of vacation and now I have 3 weeks of vacation per year! Who knows, maybe in the future I can have 4 weeks!
Finally, sees any opportunity that you have. Whether it is attending your friend’s wedding that is on the other side of the globe or seeing family that you don’t see often. Or extending your business trips. Takes any chance to travel!
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