When you’re busy with work and home life, it can seem impossible to fit frequent travel into your hectic lifestyle. But with a bit of careful planning and creativity, you can make sure you’re maximising your time away from the office and travelling as a more regular and routine part of your lifestyle.
The secret to how to travel more with a full-time job…? It’s all about making travel a priority.
Here’s a few top tips to keep in mind:
1. Be strategic with your annual leave
The average Brit gets 25 days of paid leave a year plus 8 bank holidays. Add in weekends and we’re talking 137 free days a year – or the equivalent of 4 and a half months – to get out and explore!
It may sound obvious but make sure you take your vacation days and use them wisely. Be strategic – plan your travels around weekends and bank holidays to maximise your allocated holiday time. By tagging on just one or two days of paid leave to a holiday weekend, you can find yourself with up to five consecutive days to plan a getaway. And you’ll pay less by avoiding the busiest travel days!
Always be sure to look out for those late night and early morning red-eye flights to minimise the amount of paid leave you need to use. Yes you’re going to need a LOT of coffee to get you through that first day back in the office but it will definitely be worth it!
2. Take long weekends whenever you can
I cannot stress this one enough – the real secret to achieving a fulfilling work-travel balance is getting away as regularly as you can. Knowing that you’re heading off somewhere new every month, or so, can be completely life-changing and can help to ease the daily grind of work and home life. I can honestly say that I rarely suffer from post-travel blues these days, as I know it’s never too long until my next getaway.
There are plenty of exciting 48-hour destinations that won’t break the bank. Mix it up with foreign city getaways and short breaks closer to home (you might find it actually works out cheaper escaping to Europe than staying around the UK!) Look for flights departing on a Thursday evening or Friday morning to limit the amount of holiday allowance you need.
3. Don’t be picky about where you travel
It’s important to focus on your travel goals but remember any new destination is an experience! In fact, some of my favourite travel destinations have been places I knew hardly anything about.
If you’re flexible about when you can travel, websites like Flymeanywhere are brilliant for finding the cheapest tickets to destinations all over the world. Travel companies like Easyjet also have helpful search functions so that you can search on multiple destinations to find the best deal on both flights and accommodation. If you’re not fussy about where you go, you can easily pick up weekend breaks for less than £100 for flights and accommodation!
4. Be prepared to prioritise travel
Yes – even if that means sacrificing that new pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on…
One of the perks of being a part-time traveller is that you have a regular salary so you can still afford a decent lifestyle alongside your travel plans. But unless you’ve won the lottery, you must be prepared to give up a few of the non-essentials if you want to travel often and to faraway places.
Be budget savvy both at home and abroad – sign up to flight alerts, start collecting air miles and take the time to really shop around online to find the best deals on flights and accommodation.
5. Discover new adventures closer to home
A well-travelled lifestyle isn’t just about getting on a plane and ticking off another country or continent. It’s about the everyday – going to new places, eating in new restaurants and having new experiences.
So as tempting as it is to spend your weekend bingeing on that new Netflix series, get outside and start exploring the area around you. It’s amazing what you can find on your own doorstep – and what better way to fill your weekends in between your trips away?
Sign up to local alerts on Facebook, Twitter and Eventbrite to find out what’s going on in your local area and to discover events and attractions closer to home. Make a point to finally visit all those national parks, heritage sites and places that you’ve never quite got around to.
Look out for companies offering one-of-a-kind getaways in your own country. In the UK and Europe, canopyandstars offers a whole range of quirky retreats from yurts, treehouses and shepherd’s huts. Escape for the weekend and you’re feel like you’re a million miles away from home.
6. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
I’ve always been a planner (okay, yes, perhaps my 10-page long itinerary for a week away in Sicily was overkill…) but when you’re on limited time and don’t have months to mooch around a continent you absolutely MUST be organised!
Of course, be spontaneous – travel is all about enjoying the moment – but make sure you do your research in advance (e.g. how to get around, key points of interest, opening hours etc.) so that you’re not wasting precious time when you’re there.
Start with popular websites like Tripadvisor to find top-rated attractions, restaurants and excursions but also be sure to check out online travel blogs to find sample itineraries from fellow globetrotters who’ve spent time in your chosen destination. This will help you to find those hidden gems off the beaten path that are worth exploring (the easiest way to do this is simply to Google “2 days in…” or use a travel blog compilation website, such as Travel Blogger Society to be able to search for articles by destination). I also love exploring Instagram hashtags in the weeks running up to a trip, to find out the best places according to the locals.
I’ll be providing plenty of fast-track travel itineraries for destinations across the globe so check back into Part-Time Passport to see if your next trip is listed.
7. Grasp opportunities to travel with work
Whether it’s a conference in a nearby city or an overseas business trip, grab any opportunity to travel with work. Not only is it free, but you get to travel without using any of your paid leave. In fact, you might even be able to claim some hours back to put towards your next holiday!
Consider extending your business trip by a few days so that you can squeeze in some personal sightseeing. It might only cost you the price of a small airline fee or an extra night in a hotel!
8. Educate yourself about the world
If, like me, you’re a bit travel obsessed then you probably know more about your friend’s upcoming trip to New Zealand than they do. Ah yes – armchair travellers of the world unite.
At first, it might seem like you’re spending more time researching than you are travelling but the more you clue yourself up on the world, the easier you’ll find it to prioritise the places you want to go and to use your time there wisely. Get savvy about global exchange rates, visa requirements and the cheapest time to travel so that your money goes further.
Plus reading up on new destinations is a great way for us full-time workers/full-time wanderlusters to stay motivated and inspired in our down-time between travel!
9. Make the most of stopovers
I spent years avoiding stopovers like the plague but depending on where you are flying to, indirect routes can provide an excellent excuse to visit another new destination. And of course flights with stopovers are usually much cheaper so you can save your pennies for the really exciting stuff!
Some cities even organise return tours from the airport so that you can make the most of your fleeting visit. Websites like NextStopHongKong and First Stop Singapore tell you all you need to know about organising your time – whether you just have a few hours to spare or a couple of days.
More and more airlines are providing attractive stopover options these days, in addition to cheap fares. Check out the ‘multi-city’ search function on Skyscanner to find out what’s possible.
10. Request a career break
If all this still doesn’t sound like quite enough to satisfy your wanderlust, why not ask your employer for a career break? Many employers allow sabbaticals for staff these days and this is a brilliant way to enable more long-term travel without having to make any major changes to your lifestyle. Even a month off work could enable you to tick off those bigger travel ambitions, like a coast-to-coast USA roadtrip or your dream backpacking trip around South East Asia.
If things aren’t quite so flexible in your workplace, then see if you can buy additional leave or take unpaid leave to give you a bit more freedom throughout the year.
Alternatively, why not consider volunteering abroad for a few weeks in line with your company’s CSR policy? This is a great way to travel and experience the world whilst doing something worthwhile.