Are you an explorer at heart but have a full-time job that ties you down with work commitments?
You may wonder if having a 9-5 life means your dreams of living and travelling the world are dashed. But fear not, modern-day adventurers; I have some ways you can travel with a full-time job listed below.
Jobs these days will keep you busier than ever, but you can still take a break for some well-earned vacation time. With so many innovative ways, having a full-time job doesn’t mean completely giving up on your wanderlust.
So, read on for creative solutions on how to merge working with travel adventures. And I’ll help you move closer towards achieving the freedom of exploring new places while still earning an income.
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Finding ways you can travel with a full-time job
It is possible to travel while having a full-time job. With some creativity and planning, you can enjoy the rewards of exploring new places while still committing to your work.
Making travel fit into your life alongside your job doesn’t have to be an added stress or an impossible task. On the contrary, it can become highly rewarding and provide variety in your life, making you a more capable worker, too!
Everyone’s situation is different, so take the time to strategize and come up with solutions that feel possible for you.
Additionally, maximize vacation time or aim for long weekends so you can get the most out of every trip without compromising commitments to work.
But, of course, there are some sacrifices, prioritizing and knowing your limits. So, check out some of these tips below, and believe me, it’s all worthwhile in the end.
1. Use your vacation days wisely
If you have a full-time job, chances are you get a certain number of specified leave/vacation days each year.
So, if you want to travel while working full-time, use your longer vacation days wisely and plan trips to places further away from your home base during this time.
Like me, when itemizing my wish list in Australia to tick off, you can start listing places you want to go and sort them into the distance away from you.
Those that take the longest to get to should be utilized on your vacation days. This means weekends and random days off can be for your local area and anything that requires a short trip.
2. Find a job that travels
One of the best ways to travel while working full-time is to find a job that allows you to travel from place to place. There are literally hundreds of jobs that involve travelling domestically in your own country or internationally.
These could include sales reps, marketing, IT, video editing, and teaching. If you have a job that requires you to travel, take advantage of it and try to visit as many places as possible.
This means visiting tourist sites in the evenings, on weekends, or around your work schedule, or organising extra days while you’re there.
3. See if you can work your current job remotely
You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that many employers would rather keep a good, trusted employee than risk losing them.
If you’re valued at your job and can do it just as well remotely, working from home or abroad may only require asking your employer.
If you have a job that could potentially transition to work remotely, take advantage of it and work from different locations around the world. This is a great way to travel while working full-time, as you can work from anywhere with an internet connection.
Just make sure you find a reliable place with good internet service so you can stay productive!
Therefore, do your research, check bandwidths before travelling, or have a data backup plan, just in case.
4. Take advantage of long weekends
If you have a full-time job, chances are you get at least two days off each week. This is where your distance list will come in handy, and picking one new place each time, close to your home.
You certainly don’t have to go away every weekend, but at least once a month will keep the travelling bug alive.
On the other hand, if you want to travel while working full-time, take advantage of public holidays and long weekends to plan trips well in advance. These are the in-between ones that are too far away for a weekend but still close enough for three days.
Surprisingly, this is a great way to get away for a few days without using up all your vacation days.
5. Bank your extra hour for more time off
If your employer permits, try negotiating extra time off in lieu of overtime pay. This way, during busy periods, you can work more hours and make up for it by taking days off at a later date.
This adds to your vacation time or extra-long weekends without depleting set days or your finances. Just ensure that your employer is dutifully recording the additional hours worked (or you do it yourself) and you’re being paid for all the days out of the office.
6. Use work trips to explore sites in that area
You may be surprised to find that your workplace offers travel opportunities, such as conferences, team building, training, and more.
Though you likely can’t take advantage of all of them, one or two extra trips may be possible!
Since most work happens during the day, you often have entire nights free in a new city. And if you can time those dates around a weekend, it might give you a few additional days to enjoy wherever you are.
7. Get a job that lets you work remotely
Today’s world has created more opportunities to work remotely than ever. As a result, the number of remote workers has exploded, and companies have discovered they can be just as productive as their in-office counterparts.
This trend is here to stay, so take advantage of it while you can! So, here is a list of Jobs you could work remotely from anywhere in the world:
- Customer Service Representative
- Data Entry Clerk
- Social Media Manager
- Virtual Assistant
- Web Developer or anything IT-related
- SEO Specialist
- Graphic Designer
- Content Writer
- Teaching English
8. Ask for an extended time off
Though not everybody can have a sabbatical, if you happen to be in a profession where they are commonly allowed, definitely look into it.
Company sabbaticals may not be something that is widely known, but many businesses allow them.
You might need to ask your HR department about company policy on sabbaticals or do some research on the company website.
However, a sabbatical could be a great way to keep your job while still having the free time to pursue your passions. Try asking for a month, six months, or one year for a specific purpose and see how you go.
9. Start your own business
Being your own boss gives you a lot more control of both the days and hours worked, which has been great for my travelling over the past couple of years.
This way, you travel according to YOUR schedule instead of being restricted by someone else’s vacation days.
It could mean starting your own business by blogging, selling on Etsy, or even becoming a virtual assistant! Being your own boss necessitates that you manage your time efficiently and account for any unanticipated costs.
You may find yourself working longer hours than when employed by someone else, but the autonomy is often worth it.
10. Combining leave, holidays & weekends
Although it might be obvious, weekends play a significant role in travel plans. There are 52 weekends a year, which equals 104 days off from work.
This all adds up when you factor in the federal or state holidays and your leave time. Do you know how easy it is to turn four days leave into a nine day longer vacation?
Use your efficiency to your advantage and plan out your year well in advance. We can often take longer trips by tagging multiple weekends, public holidays, and annual leave days onto them to get the most time off possible.
Therefore, there is no excuse not to see the world!
11. Ask for unpaid leave
I understand if the word “unpaid” made you shy away, but give me a chance to explain.
If you can afford the holiday, taking unpaid days off may be a way to create time for a trip while still keeping your existing job.
Consequently, I’ve used this method plenty of times before, mainly adding a few unpaid days onto existing paid leave. However, this also means you need to learn to save extra money to pay the bills and I give you a few ideas on this below.
12. Don’t be scared of long-haul flights in a short time frame
Flying has become increasingly affordable among the myriad of great airlines available, making longer flights for shorter trips a viable option.
Keep an eye on good deals, sign up for newsletters, or get app notifications when prices drop below a certain level.
This is where your list of destinations will come in handy, sorted into travel time for flying or driving. It’s easy to round down the options when you are organized on what you’re looking for. Then, just start booking.
13. Fly out straight after work
When time is limited, as it so often is, flight times become hugely important in order to make the most of a destination. For example, if you take a late evening Friday and Sunday night flight on a short weekend tour.
This way, you have almost two full days to really enjoy yourself in a place you’ve never been. Even better still, if your office is close to the airport, take the early morning flight back home to work on Monday and get an extra night’s sleep!
Related: How to Travel with only a Carry-On
14. Take advantage of road trips close to your home
On the weekends, there’s nothing quite like taking a road trip within 4 hours of your home. It’s a great way to explore and discover all the hidden gems within your local area.
Researching sites online is always a good idea, so you will get all of the little nooks and crannies you can explore while out and about.
Mapping out your journey is also highly recommended, whether you’re mapping it out with pen and paper or utilizing digital tools that are available to help make navigating easier.
There’s so much beauty within our own backyards worth exploring, so head out on a road trip this weekend and have an adventure!
15. Travel during the off-season
The best way to save money on travel is to do it during the off-season, which ultimately serves two purposes!
Firstly, to help you save money for additional travel plans. And secondly, with fewer people, it’s easier to book at the last minute and avoid long lines giving you more time to fit other sites in.
Most people know that off-season travel is when hotel rates and airfare prices are typically lower than in peak season. Therefore, if you want the opportunity to travel while working full-time, consider travelling during the off-season to save money for more trips.
16. Use temporary or contract work and take time off in between
The most significant drawback to temporary or contract work is that you must make enough money from contract projects to take time off in between.
However, the positive side is that those who engage in contract or temporary work are often paid more than usual.
Another advantage is sometimes the opportunity for tax breaks and company write-offs since you’d technically be working for yourself. So, all things considered, if you’re in the right market, doing contract work can be profitable and definitely something worth investigating further.
Ways you can you save money for travelling?
Unless you are already well funded for travelling, sacrifices must be made to keep up this habit.
This includes changes to your lifestyle and missing out on small things for the greater good. Below are just some brief ideas of what could save you money for travelling:
- I opted for a cheaper housing or rental property with a smaller space, further from the city. This also meant I decided not to purchase my own home and have a mortgage over my head.
- Socialising at bars or restaurants were swapped for get-togethers or catch-ups at home.
- Walking or riding a bike short distances to save on fuel, instead of driving (which was also great exercise)
- Look over your expenses and finances and work out what you really need and what you don’t. This means reassessing Insurance, Electricity, and Phone accounts to get a better deal.
- Added loose change to a Money Saving Tin, and when full, crack it open for your next weekend away.
- Also, finding a buddy or two to travel with and sharing the costs will reduce your outlay on Accommodation.
- Material things like clothes or shoes are purchased on an “As needed” basis. Live a minimalist life and stop spending money on needless things.
- Go without one less purchased coffee in a day and put that extra cash in a money tin.
- Join frequent traveller programs – These programs can help you save money on travel by giving you discounts or freebies on things like airfare and hotel stays. Research the different programs in your country and see what’s on offer that best suits your situation.
What was my full-time job while travelling?
I had been working in the finance industry, specifically Payroll, for 20 years. While this made me efficient in organizing my finances and planning trips. It was a very demanding job and one you needed to be around for all the time, especially for weekly Payroll.
Running a stand-alone payroll and weekly bank transfers don’t allow you to take much long-term time off! In this aspect, it made it easier to negotiate long weekends and have all my work done in four days instead of five.
I must say, it does take commitment to work full-time and travel, some sacrifices, and a very understanding employer.
However, living in Brisbane, I have always found it very central to everything up and down the East Coast of Australia. This means you can fly within 2.5 hours in each direction to get to the most Northern or southern parts.
Obviously, you can still experience something new by leaving Friday afternoon and going home on Sunday (or Monday Morning). I did this for 11 years and can honestly say that I have been lucky to see a great deal of Australia in that time.
In 2018, I left full-time work and started my own business as a Photographer, Blogger, and YouTuber. Travel is my dream, and it shouldn’t take much effort if it’s what you really want.
Wrap up – Finding Ways You Can Travel with a Full-time Job
So there you have it – I’ve learned a few tips and tricks on the many ways you can travel with a full-time job over the years. I would like to think you can relate this to your situation and at least find a few items that can help you travel more.
Just remember to start planning, get creative, and, most importantly, don’t give up on your travel dreams. You can make it happen with a little bit of effort (and maybe some compromise).
So, what are you waiting for?
About the Author
Chris Fry is the writer and photographer behind Aquarius Traveller, where she shares her journeys and provides valuable information and inspiration for your destination travels. She lives in Australia and has travelled to 36 countries and in-depth across Australia.
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