Travel while working a fulltime job

How many days off do you get per year? Between 20-30? If you’re passionate about travel, like we are, this is simply not enough. How to make the best out of the limited time? While working a full time job you usually end up having to plan trips ahead of time, which some people don’t always like. But if you have a general idea on how your year will look like with regards to travelling it becomes much easier to manage your days off. Read below on how we do it.

Start off by visualising your year with regards to travel. Take a big piece of paper and draw a timeline with blocks for each month of the year. Then consider the below 2 tips:

#1 – Milestones

Are you or someone close to you celebrating any milestone this year? Think of weddings, birthdays, graduations, etc, that you do not want to miss. Also consider personal milestones, such as a birthday, that you would like to celebrate by either throwing a party or making your dream trip. Does your family live on the other side of the planet (like ours) and your sister is getting married? Or are you throwing this big party at home to celebrate your 30th with your closest family & friends? Either way you have to keep these milestones in mind and block the days around them if necessary. If you stay local, there’s less of a need for you to take days off (meaning that you can save them for another trip: WIN!)

#2 – Long weekends & Public holidays

Make use of the long weekends and public holidays. These are perfect for city trips! It differs for each country, but most of the public holidays for the Netherlands are in the first half year. If they can be combined with weekends, that’s the best! Make a long weekend out of it and go out to explore a city you’ve never been before. One disadvantage is that it can it be a bit more expensive to travel around these days. But hey, if you can save some vacation days that you can use for more long distance trips, why not spend a bit more?

Mark these on your timeline and think of destinations that you would like to visit. Print out several pictures/landmarks of these places and tape them around the days/trips that you’ve marked. Once you finished your Year Travel overview hang it somewhere where’s it’s visible everyday to remind you of your goals and plans for the upcoming year.

Which brings us to tip #3:

#3 – Make travel your top priority

If you are serious about traveling more, you need to make it your top priority. Try your best to spend less on a daily basis. Make your own lunch and bring it to work instead of spending money on cafeteria food (that’s usually also quite unhealthy and expensive!). Go out or order less for dinner, cook more at home! We’ve noticed that by doing this we can easily save up to €100 per week. That’s €400 per month! Which equals 1 city trip each month for 2 people. Unconsciously we tend to also spend quite a lot of money on small stuff or clothing, but in the end it’s not stuff that we actually need. Think twice before you buy that new dress or those red shoes. It’s worth more investing in experiences than in material stuff.

If you still feel like after doing all of the above doesn’t give you enough days off in a year try to:

#4 – Negotiate more days off at work

There are 2 ways to do this: (1) contractually and (2) getting paid in days for overtime worked. (1) You could try to negotiate working less hours. If your contract is for 40 hours per week, you can ask to change this to 32 or 36 hours. This means that at the end of the month you will be paid less, but instead you get a day off each week or a day off every 2 weeks. You can also agree that you will continue working the 40 hours per week, but that you accumulate these additional days off for when you want to go on vacation. (2) Some companies allow employees to get paid in time for overtime worked. And if it’s common that you work overtime, go for this option. Instead of having the normal 20-30 days of vacation you can accumulate more days during the whole year. If your company doesn’t offer this option, check with your manager whether you can still agree on taking days off in exchange of your overtime. Agree on a formula and keep a timesheet with all your overtime worked, share it with your manager on a monthly basis and get more vacation days to go on adventures.

#5 – Find a job that makes you travel

As a last resort or if you are up for a change, try to find ajob that requires you to travel. This is a bit more difficult to do, but it’s worth the try. Think for example on working for a travel agency or as a flight attendant. You get to combine business & pleasure at the same time and see all of these beautiful places. 

Travelling more times a year is possible while working a full time job. Just make it your priority and you will find creative ways to do it. Remember that travelling in your own country to different cities also counts as a new adventure!


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