It’s no secret I enjoy traveling, and stay-cationing and planning my next little getaway. Because I work full time in a career that isn’t travel related, and doesn’t require much, if any, traveling, a lot of people often ask how i get to travel as much as i do while holding down a corporate job and having to be in the office during the weekdays.
Getting out there has always been a priority for me. Whether it is visiting another state, spending time in the next big city or slipping away into the woods, travel opportunities do not end when you choose to have a career. I get that there are people who quit their jobs and become nomads from country to country, washing dishes for a couch, backpacking their way through the world, but it is not a reality for everyone and there are people like you and I who want to sustain our professional careers without sacrificing our love to travel.
Here are some pointers that have worked for me in the past.
Plan Trips Around Holidays and Weekends
Maximizing your PTO and booking on Fridays or working half days before a weekend is awesome. In the US, many federal holidays land on a Monday, and depending on when your company recognizes the holiday, it is still advantageous to maximize your time. I’ve managed to turn a week long vacation into 3 work days because of a long weekend and I’m happy I will be able to enjoy it when it comes. I do take into account travel times, arrival to destination, etc, but looking at the big picture, planning your itinerary is equally important. You want to get the most out of a place, which brings me to the next pointer.
Do your Research
Check your HR policies, and see if you can borrow against your PTO. Many companies allow this, and some companies offer more time off through seniority and even birthdays. I use a combination of my time off and floater days that I get from working OT in the office. Because I work in Accounting, I have lots of month-end duties and reporting and often get busy during beginning and months end. Even as a salaried employee, companies do extend OT and floater days. Or perhaps you can ask for time off in lieu of OT pay. Check your options.
Work a Little
I know there is the dreaded work remotely/work outside the office thing that is debatable when on vacation. Personally I have no qualms about it. If i’m out and out during the day, my work access is limited, but once I get back to rest, I will pop my laptop open to answer emails, or respond to msgs. If it isn’t going to ruin your day, a simple “check-in” for work is going to help your piece of mind, and fulfill any work related stuff. I do this so that it helps my colleagues back home feel as if I am reachable and easy to communicate with, thus they will also feel okay if you’re taking time off to travel. Some folks are absolutely against that, but I find that it’s ok. It depends on you.
Make Traveling a Priority
You have weekends, right? If you do, you have no reason not to go out and explore. Even if it’s for a day, a few hours, or two full days, you can certainly carve out time to see something new. I venture out every weekend to do activities, and I love myself more for it. Last weekend, I went on a bike riding adventure across the Golden Gate Bridge! Something I normally wouldn’t do since I live in the Bay Area. But it was so refreshing, and great for my mind. It was also so fun playing tourist. I’ve also gone on short trips to Seattle by flying out Friday early evenings and flying back Sunday afternoons. Just in 2 days’ time, I saw and experienced so much, and really made a good dent in the city.
Do Your Research…and Plan Around It
Of course, traveling can get quite expensive if you’re constantly on the go. Aside from maximizing your time off, you should also maximize your savings because things like lodging and dining will certainly add up. I subscribe to websites like Travelzoo, and Travelocity that send out last minute deals to your inbox. I also actively search Airbnb, Overnight and Hotel Tonight for lodging. Airfare should always be bought 3 weeks in advance for max savings (Tuesday afternoons are also the best times to search). Take advantage of your travel credit cards and use it for everything. Why not earn travel perks while doing your everyday things?
Most of all, Travel For Inspriation
Where do you want to go? Why do you want to go? Some people have goals like visiting all metropolitan cities, or hiking the Appalachian trail. You don’t have to necessary have a reason other than how it makes you feel, even if you aren’t sure how to feel yet but your gut is saying yassss go. One of my favorite regions in America is the Pacific NW – it makes me feel balanced and calm, and I’m not sure how but it does and I feel inspired to be there so I try to plan little getaways there. Taking advantage of my region helps to better maximize any type of traveling I do since it is not far by plane.
So you decide, what’s important to you when you travel? Short getaways to fill the mind, long lazy ones to unwind, or busy ones to keep… busy?
It is a total myth when people say you cannot travel and enjoy a fulfilling travel life while working. With a bit of effort on planning, you can. I always feel sad for people who complain about how they regret not traveling more in college because they now work and cannot enjoy life until retirement. Do not be that. Don’t give up on yourself and any opportunity to open your mind because of such nonsense. Don’t give yourself only 1 vacation a year – plan one for every month. Every quarter. Plan weekend trips to your heart’s desire but do remember to rest!