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How To Travel With A Full Time Job

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Do you frequently find yourself wishing you could travel more often? And at the same time does that list come into your head of all the reasons why you can’t? Have you limited yourself with all the reasons why you can’t, instead of finding the way that you can? (Trust me-if this is you you are not alone!)

What a dream-being able to travel the world at your own pace and experience all the stunning, mesmerizing sites this world has to offer. But let’s face it-this is not the reality for the majority of us.

For me, traveling full time is something I am working towards, hopefully in the near future. But my reality right now is traveling while working a full time job. It is not the easiest and I am not able to travel as often as I would like, but it is doable and with a few minor adjustments it can be a reality for you as well! Here are ten tips to make it happen!

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1.) Make Travel a Priority

The first step to being able to travel while working a full time job is to make it a priority. You have to put some time and energy into planning your trips, adjusting your schedule so it is possible, and setting aside money to make it to your destinations. If travel is something that is important to you it must be on your mind frequently (or if you’re anything like me-all the time!).

How can you make it a priority?

  • Set aside time specifically for travel planning (Don’t let it fall by the wayside because you have so many other things to do and so many responsibilities between your full time job and home life).
  • Be very picky about how you spend your earned time off. Don’t use it unless you absolutely have to-save every last hour for travel!
  • Plan ahead-I like to sit down and plan out where I am going to go and when I am going to go so that I can plan out what days I will need to take off from work and if I will have enough annual leave to do so.

Don’t let yourself make travel something that you will do one day-make that day today!

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2.) Maximize Your Vacation Time

The only way to travel while working a full time job is by using your annual leave time (excluding the option that you are taking time of without pay). If you want to travel often you will have to make the most of your time off. So, how can you make the most of it?

  • Save your time for what you really want to use it for (Don’t give up time without really thinking about what you are losing. If you are using vacation time to run some errands you are potentially giving up travel time unnecessarily. Plan your schedule out so that you are able to complete all your tasks/responsibilities on your own time and save your vacation time for travel.
  • Combine it with days you already have off, such as a weekend or during a holiday.
  • Use all your vacation time-plan trips so that by the end of the year you have used all your annual leave time. The company I am employed through will pay back a certain number of hours at the end of the year for unused vacation time. Some jobs are like this and others you will just loose any unused vacation time after a set amount of time. Neither scenario is good for the frequent traveler Use it before you loose it!
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3.) Travel Locally

International travel is great, but do not exclude local travel! If you do your research you are likely to find dozens of great locations within close enough distance for you to take a one or two day trip to. Chances are if you are working a full time job you will have more extended weekend trips than full one-two week trips. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of what is right around you and enjoy traveling to these locations. Don’t take your own backyard for granted.

4.) Don’t Be Narrow Minded

While it might be great to take a one or two week vacation, taking a three or four day vacation can be just as great. Don’t be afraid to take several shorter trips-you still get to see and experience the destination.

Don’t close yourself off to new possibilities-be open to every destination and every type of travel-whether it be one day or 14 days. Always take the chance!

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5.) Plan Your Trips Around Your Already Scheduled Days Off

You have two days off a week (for most jobs)-use them! Don’t let those two days go to waste just because it is a short duration. Depending on where you live it is likely that there are plenty of options within driving or flying distance of you that will still allow you time to enjoy the destination. So GO!

Don’t let the limited time be the reason you don’t go. You can also maximize this time by adding a day before or day after off, giving you a little extra time at your destination, but not using up a ton of your annual leave time.

6.) Work From Home

This may not be a possibility for everyone, but those of you who are able to should take advantage of this. There are plenty of jobs that will allow you to work from home or maybe your current job will allow you to complete some of your job responsibilities from home. If you think it is a possibility it doesn’t hurt to ask!

IF you are looking for a new job that will allow you to work from home consider these: medical transcriptionist, medical coder, web developer/designer, call center representative, travel agent, insurance representative, or child care giver, to name a few. Now I realize not everyone is looking for a job or career change, but it doesn’t hurt to mention it!

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7.) Take Advantage of Travel Work Opportunities

If you have to travel for work-say attend a work conference in another city or country-do it! And not only should you do it, you should take some additional time to spend at the destination. If your boss is asking you to attend a 3 day conference take a day or two before or after and enjoy some time exploring the destination. You may have to be a little flexible about the destination (it may not be at the top of your bucket list), but take advantage of the fact that you are able to travel there and find something to enjoy!

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8.) Take Unpaid Leaves

This may not be an option for everyone, but if you have your heart set on traveling and have exhausted you earned annual leave take some time off without pay. I personally have done this on more than one occasion and don’t regret it for a second!

You may have to do a little bit of planning to make sure your paycheck will cover your bills or that you have a little extra saved up for that purpose to make up for the pay you will loose, but as long as you plan ahead this option is well worth the experience you will have!

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9.) Take Advantage of Holidays

If you have holidays off take advantage of that and take a couple extra days off-before or after the holiday. This works out great if the holiday falls on a Friday or Monday. That gives you three days off to begin with and if you take an additional day off before or after the holiday you could potentially have five days off-long enough for a nice getaway.

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10.) Take An Odd Schedule

This is one of the main reasons I am able to travel as much as I do. I work three 12 hour shifts Wednesday through Friday. This gives me full time hours but still gives me four days every single week to travel If I take a day or two extra off I could have up to 6 days off, giving me plenty of time to travel.

While every job will not be able to offer a less traditional schedule, if your job is one that will take advantage of it! Sure, a 9-5 Monday through Friday job is nice, but is much more limiting than a schedule such as my own.

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So there you have it-traveling with a full time job is for sure a possibility, you just have to make it a priority and take the steps necessary to get there. Open up your mind and come to terms with the type of trips you are able to take and enjoy them to the last second!

One more tip I will give you-do not get discouraged! Take your traveling journey at your own pace and go where you are able to go at the pace you are able to go. Do not get discouraged because you can’t make it to every destination on your list and don’t let this stop you from making it to the ones you can. Enjoy every minute you spend traveling…even when you can’t do it all.

Do you have any tips for traveling while working full time? I would love to hear from you-comment below!

How To Travel With A Full Time Job
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  1. Yep, travel can be difficult with a full-time job but certainly not impossible! Takin unpaid leave is certainly a great option that’s frequently overlooked. It’s also always helpful to have a job that gives you more ample time off (such as teaching).
    I also agree that weekends are a great way to see nearby areas that you may not normally have thought of. Sometimes we get so starstruck at going to far away destinations that we forget what’s near us!

    • Yes, I never used to explore locally, but since I have started to I have found so many cool places and counting! It’s tough, but if its what you really want it can be done!

  2. This struck a chord with me as I work full time and get 12 days of paid vacation a year! Sigh! I love all your tips especially treating vacation time as precious commodity (I don’t do it enough as I need 1 or 2 days of downtime). While I travel a lot locally, I often dream about these faraway destinations.. Like you said, don’t get discouraged because at the end of the month, you do get a paycheck. 🙂

    • Me to, I get very little paid time off, but thankfully I only work 3 days a week right now (12 hr. days), so it leaves 4 days open a week, enough for some small trips. Local travel can be amazing, but I agree, I dream about those faraway destinations.

  3. That first tip says it all! If you don’t prioritize travel, then it’s not going to happen. Every spare moment I have is dedicated to making me travel more because that’s what makes me happy!

    • Me to! It has taken over my life almost completely the last couple years. Each day I’m learning more and more what it really takes to travel as much as I would like, lots of time and effort, but well worth it!

  4. I always thankful that as a teacher I don’t have to worry about not having enough time off. I just have to worry about the money aspect. My husband though only gets X amount of days off a year so we do many of these things. Weekend trips are a lifesaver!

    • I agree about weekend trips! I never used to take them because I didn’t want to spend the money on such a small amount of time, but I have found that they are well worth it and you can see so much. I think if I were going to go back to school it would be for teaching, I’m sure it fits well with traveling.

  5. When I used to work full time I used to really struggle with this, but these are some great tips on how to think a bit more creatively; it is definitely possible to travel frequently with a full time job.

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