I recently received several emails from fellow bloggers asking how to “become a full-time blogger and travel the world,” and I was told that I actually have a full-time job. I feel like a fraud. Yes, I work 9-5 like everyone else and have minimal time off for travel. There is no option to buy back leave or take unpaid leave. However, within the last 12 months I have been able to travel to Girona, Morocco, Canada, South Africa, India, Gambia, Cornwall and Belgium. Not bad for a woman who spends most of the year in an office.
So how can you travel so much?
I work as a social media specialist for Flight Center UK, but most of my travel is not work-related. Even though my trip to Canada was for work and my trip to Morocco was a social trip, I still had to think of it as a vacation. The rest of my trips are either blogging trips for The Travel Hack or trips that I’ve planned on my own using my precious days off.
So here’s how I make my vacation even better
Always travel over weekends or bank holidays
rowing a boat on the ganges river in india
It goes without saying, but planning a multi-week trip can save you a lot of vacation time. I traveled to India during Easter so I was able to secure two holidays. It may not sound like a big deal, but this is a very long weekend that you can save for later in the year.
If you need some weekend getaway inspiration, here are 52 weekend getaway ideas!
The only problem with traveling on holidays is that everyone wants to travel, so you have to make arrangements to have time off work and to avoid spending a lot of money. This brings us to the next point.
Stay local and stick to shorter flights
Spend a weekend in Falmouth, Cornwall
If you’ve traveled to the other side of the world and explored far-flung places your friends have never heard of, but you’ve barely explored what’s right in your own backyard, why not try your hand at it? Please list. Until recently, I was guilty of that too, but I’ve kept my vacation to a minimum so I can explore areas closer to home and be back at work at 9 a.m. Monday morning.
One of my favorite things about living in London is that I can be at any of the three airports in about an hour. This means you don’t have to book time off from work in the afternoon. This means it’s very easy to travel on short notice or take advantage of last-minute discounts that arise at short notice.
The Eurostar is also my new best friend, having been to Belgium twice in the past 12 months and planning to go to Berlin and Paris soon. He loves the fact that after work he gets on the train and by dinner time he’s in his new country. And if you’re really keen, you could take the first train back to London on Monday morning and be back to work at 9am.*
*I’m not being paid to love Eurostar so much. However, I truly believe that Eurostar is the best thing since GHD was invented.
Extend work trips
My office for a week in Sun Peaks, Canada
I’m lucky enough to work for a global company, with my boss based in Canada and my team spread around the world. What does this mean? That means we all need to get together at least once a year, and it would be better to get together somewhere nice. Last year, we extended our trip to meet up at Sun Peaks, a ski resort near Whistler, Canada, and do some team building in the snow. Not bad for a business meeting, right?
Try to find a way that travelling can benefit your work*
quad biking in morocco
i spend all day on the Flight Center blog writing about travel, thinking about travel, tweeting about travel, and encouraging people to travel. And if I don’t travel, I don’t have the motivation or inspiration to come up with something new or innovative, so I have a work arrangement where he spends every day of his vacation working on projects at work. I spend my day taking photos for my blog, interviewing people, and writing articles for use in my work. This is valuable for your work and also affects your days off, so you can get your vacation back for all the hard work you put in. It’s a win-win situation. I go on a trip for two weeks and come back for two days. Also, another long weekend is coming later this year.
*I know this option isn’t for most people, but I find it hard to switch off and am constantly writing, taking photos, blogging, etc. I said before that it’s better to do it for. Someday I’ll learn to switch off, to be honest…
Learn to sleep on planes
If you can’t do that, take sleeping pills. I’m really lucky because I can sleep well on airplanes. This means you can take a red-eye flight and go straight to work without any problems. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll probably be exhausted at the end of the day and rely solely on coffee for energy, but it’s better to be tired than to waste your precious days off sleeping.
Don’t let your travels interfere with your work
I think the most important thing when narrowing down travel between 9-to-5 jobs is to make sure that frequent travel doesn’t affect your work. Sometimes my travels benefit my work, but my boss wants me to be bright, energetic, and immersed in work rather than me falling asleep at my desk every Monday morning after another great weekend. You want to be ready to do that. It’s important to find the right balance and make sure your travel doesn’t interfere with your work life.
So how do other people who travel while holding full-time jobs manage to squeeze in travel between their 9-to-5 jobs?