How to have your travel cake and eat it too: Tips from part-time travellers

Christmas may be long gone and Spring somewhat of a distant future fantasy but there’s a lot to be said for January. If ever there was an excuse to try something new, or to finally get around to doing that thing you always wanted to do, now is the time…

It was this time, last year, that with a bit of January courage, I finally took the leap and launched Part-Time Passport as a way to inspire other full-time workers/full-time wanderlusters out there that it is possible to live a well-travelled, adventurous lifestyle whilst holding down a fulfilling career and dynamic home life.

A little late to the blogging game, I wanted to put my own spin on the world of travel blogging and dispel some of the more common myths of travel – in particular, the notion that you have to be a digital nomad to really see the world or to call yourself a “traveller”.

There wasn’t a whole lot of advice out there for those of us who wanted so desperately to explore the world but with all the perks of a “normal” home life (and a comfy bed to come home to!). So I set out to share my own personal tips and tried-and-tested itineraries to hopefully inspire others that a life of travel and adventure is 100% possible – even on limited vacation time.

Since launching Part-Time Passport, I’ve joined an amazing online community of inspirational travel bloggers; many of whom manage to juggle exhilarating lives of frequent travel with full-time careers, families and all the comforts of an ordinary home life. Last month, I asked four of these kick-ass female travellers to share their top tips on how to achieve this lifestyle and reveal their secrets on how they manage to “have their travel cake and eat it too”

The Wanderblogger

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Expat and family traveller making the most of wherever in the world she finds herself next…

Sarah is a Nashville native currently living as an expat in Singapore after three years in London. Sarah grew up in an expat family (…probably to blame for her travel addiction!) and is enjoying the perks of being able to enjoy this extraordinary lifestyle once again, this time as an adult with her husband and daughter in tow!

So what’s your secret… how do you balance regular travel with a busy home life? 

Being an expat in another country has many perks, but one of the greatest is that it puts us in close proximity to places that would otherwise be out of reach in our home country. That being said, because we are regular people with regular jobs, we can’t just take off whenever we want, especially since we have a teenage daughter and are at the mercy of school breaks and holidays when it comes to travelling – but we’ve learned to make it work.

We save our bigger trips for the longer school holidays and then use shorter breaks to check out destinations a little closer to home. Even 3-day weekends are long enough to travel if you plan it right! When we lived in the UK, we travelled somewhere new every six weeks. We managed to visit 18 countries in three years, as well as take several trips within the UK. Now that we’re in Singapore and a bit more isolated from other countries, we’ve switched our focus from shorter, more frequent trips to less frequent, but longer stays in each destination. Both types of travel have their pros and cons, but we’re enjoying the change of pace…for now. 🙂

How do you plan for a trip on limited time?

On a scale of ‘Let’s just wing it!’ to ‘I have my whole trip planned in 15-minute increments, would you like to see my spreadsheets?’, I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Typically I have at least a rough idea at the beginning of every year where we’ll go on our holidays.

Since we are restricted to school breaks, I usually already have the dates set aside as well. Around two months before each trip, I’ll book our flights, usually using Skyscanner to compare and then booking directly with the airline. (We fly on budget airlines and only with carry-on to keep the fees extra low!) Then I choose accommodations, which is one of my favourite parts of travel planning. If it wouldn’t be such a huge hassle, I’d stay at a different place every night of a trip just to experience something new!

After flights and accommodations are booked, I use my spare time over the following weeks to read blogs, check out reviews, and make sure I haven’t missed anything important so that the weekend before we travel, we can make a general itinerary and plot important spots on a map. Then we’re good to go!

Where are your top 3 bucket list travel destinations?

Since nearly everywhere in the world is somewhere I want to travel, I don’t actually have a bucket list. As long as I keep seeing new places and experiencing new things, I’m a happy girl! But if you were to tell me I could only visit three more places ever, I’d probably pick camper-vanning around New Zealand, volunteering at an orangutan sanctuary in Borneo, and visiting all the National Parks in the USA (which is a bit of a cheat since that’s actually 59 different places…).

What place in the world has surprised you most and why?

Vietnam. I never would have thought it would be my favourite place in Southeast Asia, but it is. I love everything about the country – its wildly chaotic cities, quiet rural towns, scenic landscapes like Ha Long Bay and the mountains in the north, delicious food, and the traditional culture that is still very much a part of everyday life. Vietnam is about as different from my home country as a place can be, but for whatever reason, every time I visit I feel like I’ve come home.

What’s your favourite thing about coming home from a trip?

Getting back into my regular routine. I know that sounds awfully boring, but I am a creature of habit, and I crave my routine (and my own bed!) just as much as I do the excitement of discovering new places. It’s all about balance, I suppose.

Who is your traveller blogger inspiration?

I read travel blogs regularly and feel very grateful to have become friends with many of the people who write them. As far as inspiration goes, though, I always enjoy Jodi Ettenberg’s (Legal Nomads) long-form travel narratives. Geraldine DeRuiter of The Everywherist never fails to make me laugh, and as for travel photography, I greatly admire the skills of my good friend Lisa Michele Burns of The Wandering Lens.

Ever been tempted to ‘hit the road’ and never look back?

I love having a real home, a community that I’m a part of, and the stability that both of those things bring. Plus, while I am sure there are plenty of people who would disagree with me, I do believe you can have too much of a good thing. The last thing I would want would be for travelling to become commonplace, or even worse, for it to start feeling like a job. Having a “real life” outside of travel keeps it special. As it is now, I look forward to each and every trip we take and each one stays memorable because it’s not something we do every day. I wouldn’t want to risk losing that.

What would be your one piece of advice for any full-time workers/full-time wanderlusters out there wanting to make travel more of a priority in their lives?

Save every penny. Make use of every free day. And learn to say no to things that put you further away from your travel goals. A true wanderluster will quickly discover that no sacrifice is too great if what you gain is the opportunity to see more of the world.

The Millennial Runaway

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Full-time professional sticking the middle finger up to societal pressures and travelling by whatever means necessary…

Charlie is an ambitious, full-time Marketing Manager based in Bristol in the U.K. But when the work day is over, she switches off from it completely and becomes a hungry millennial searching for the next hipster coffee house. With constant societal pressures to be married, have children and own a home of your own, Charlie has become an advocate for fighting the norm to live life the way you want.

So what’s your secret… how do you balance regular travel with a busy home life?

Working as a Marketing Manager, it can often get a little tough feeling confined to an office with restricting hours but then I remind myself that I’m here by choice. I’m here so that I can enjoy a fulfilling career that enables me to travel.

Within the minimum 28 days UK holiday allowance (which really isn’t much), I travel on average to five new cities or countries a year by leveraging the bank holidays as much as possible. Whilst I’m at home, I fill my evenings and weekends with doorstop experiences and revel in the glory that I’m a train ride away to London, Bath or even a European city for a whistle-stop weekend break.

How do you plan for a trip on limited time?

Itinerise! Itinerise! Itinerise! Within the confines of the holiday allowance, I only ever have a set amount of time in one place – usually no more than two weeks. I’m a planner so I really love creating a spreadsheet in Google Docs and formulating a plan – I need to get a life!

I’ll usually start with TripAdvisor’s top 10 sights and top things to do and consult a guide book or two. Next I turn my attention to Pinterest and Instagram looking for off-the-beaten-track suggestions. Finally, I’ll do a Google search or ask a traveller Facebook group to send through their articles on a specific place.

Once I have a list of fantastic things to see, eat and do, I’ll use Google Maps to pinpoint the exact location between attractions, how long we should allow to get between the places and in what order it makes sense to visit them in.

I wrote this article outlining my exact plan for writing a kick-ass itinerary:

Where are your top 3 bucket list travel destinations?

When people ask me where do I want to go, my answer is always everywhere! But if I had to pinpoint three, I’d choose South America, Antarctica and Japan.

What place in the world has surprised you most and why?

It’s a little cliché but I’d have to say China. Spending two months there; the first on an internship, and the second travelling as a group around the country, it didn’t dawn on me until I was on the plane what I was embarking on. And my, oh my, did I have a culture shock!

Prior to arriving in China, I had only toured west-coast America on a group tour, so I was a little naïve to realising just how different the culture would be.

What’s your favourite thing about coming home from a trip?

While I’ve yet to read ‘A Hat Full of Sky’, this Terry Pratchett quote perfectly describes why I love coming home from a trip. “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” 

And it’s true, I notice the lusciousness of the greenery that surrounds us and have a new appreciation for our roads, public transport and facilities available at our fingertips.

Who is your travel blogger inspiration?

This is a tough one because there’s so many great bloggers out there, but I’d have to say How Not To Travel Like a Basic Bitch because she’s just so real. She doesn’t feel the pressure to say what everyone thinks she should say, and isn’t afraid to discuss taboo topics that are sure to attract a few trolls.

Ever been tempted to ‘hit the road’ and never look back?

I think anyone who says it hasn’t crossed their mind once has to be lying! Of course, I used to think that because I love travelling that this was the ‘ultimate goal’ but I soon learnt that there’s more to sustaining that kind of lifestyle than meets the eye.

I’m always impressed when I meet people who have moved solo to another city to work, study or travel but when I really stop to think about it, I’m not sure I would be entirely happy being away from loved ones and I proved that after two months in China. I just don’t have that desire to live outside of the UK because I truly love living here.

What would be your one piece of advice for any full-time workers/full-time wanderlusters out there wanting to make travel more of a priority in their lives?

Don’t get sucked into thinking that you have to give up your career or be travelling full-time to feel worthy of the traveller title – you don’t. Remember that people travel across the world to visit your city, the same as you travel to theirs. Doorstop experiences are as worthy as exotic ones!

From One Girl to One World

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Full-time student discovering the hidden beauty of her home country and beyond…

Gabby is a full-time college student in New Jersey, juggling college work with a busy marketing job and hectic social life… all whilst travelling as much as she can on the side! Gabby shares her adventures, tips and stories on her travel blog From One Girl to One World to inspire others to get out there and start discovering the beauty of their own backyard.

So what’s your secret… how do you balance regular travel with a busy home life? 

With school in the way, it is HARD to go away. I am so thankful for the college breaks, though, because that’s when I plan to fly away or drive miles away from home. I would say for local travel (places in and around my state), I try to seek out a different adventure every other weekend, especially in the summer. I love the idea of being able to explore your own backyard and the home country you’re in. Many people love the idea of exotic places but they often don’t learn about where they’re from or explore places within their own country – it will surprise you because there’s always somewhere exotic in your own country!

How do you plan for a trip on limited time?

I kid you not, I will TRY to do as much as I can (cost-efficient, of course). I use websites like TripAdvisor and Groupon for ideas – Groupon is perfect for finding affordable deals on things to do. I also love finding cheap places to stay on Airbnb, rather than always relying on hotels.

You really need to keep time on your side, though, because time CAN be everything. Attention to detail truly matters when it comes to booking things!

Where are your top 3 bucket list travel destinations?

Well since I’ve been exploring more of my country, the top 3 travel destinations that I always wanted to explore overseas are Iceland, Japan, and Ireland.

What place in the world has surprised you most and why?

Probably Nova Scotia in Canada. I went there for a cruise when I was younger with my family. It was a land full of so much green and some parts of it resembled Europe with brightly coloured homes, cliffs, and being surrounded by water. It surprised me because I never even knew about this place until my parents took me out there. Also, I was always familiar with the movie ‘Titanic’ even when I was younger and going to the ACTUAL graveyard of the victims of the sunken ship was surreal.

What’s your favourite thing about coming home from a trip?

My favourite thing about coming home from a trip is being able to look back at the pictures I took. I find that it brings me a lot of joy, looking back at the things I’ve seen and done. I cannot put the camera down since! (That sounds pretty bad but, trust me, if you love the moments you lived for, you will love having something to take home, like your photos!).

Also, coming home and sharing stories about my travels with people I know is always fun.

Who is your travel blogger inspiration?

Actually, I don’t have a specific travel blogger that I am inspired by. I am intrigued by all of them! If this counts, I am very much inspired by the non-profit organisation, National Geographic and their Instagram travel page @natgeotravel. I’m blown away and moved by the vivid and inspiring photos that they share. It’s so awesome how they raise awareness of the issues that our Earth is experiencing and help us get into the minds of cultures that we know very little about. That would be my dream job to work for them.

Ever been tempted to ‘hit the road’ and never look back?

Actually, I never did think about that. I always thought it wasn’t realistic, at least for me, because some day, I will want to settle somewhere I can call home and have a secure future with financial stability.

As much as reality sometimes pains and bores me (you know working and studying), I think if I had to make the choice to drop it all to travel around the world, I honestly might miss doing the type of work I am after… I do think that if you have a job that requires you to travel to all these places (I’m working on one day achieving that kind of goal!), then that is GREAT…!

What would be your one piece of advice for any full-time workers/full-time wanderlusters out there wanting to make travel more of a priority in their lives?

Enjoy where you are in life but also take advantage of this amazing thing called travelling. I mean this as in have gratitude for the job(s) you have or the education you’re receiving. Yes, it’s great to be able to support yourself but also, remember, life is so damn short. I think you don’t want to just exist but to live and if you’re going to make travel a priority, make everything else in your life one too! You will thank yourself for these things because it will help with your funds and encourage you to be more resourceful.

Love ‘N’ Luggage

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Globetrotting couple on a mission to explore as much of the world as possible on limited vacation time…

Haley is the founder of Love ‘N’ Luggage; a travel blog all about love, life and the pursuit of travel. In 26 years, she’s explored more than 26 countries with another 100+ to go on her ever-growing list. Though she works full-time in hospitality marketing, she has perfected the art of milking her paid time off, allowing her to travel internationally with her husband multiple times per year.

So what’s your secret… how do you balance regular travel with a busy home life? 

I’m shamelessly ‘Type-A’ personality, which means I’m always thinking and planning the next adventure in my life. I typically travel between once and twice a month, and in 2017, I travelled to more than 25 cities whilst working a full-time job.

The key is maximising the vacation time you are given. Add time on to already long weekends or business trips, leave for trips straight from work, and always take international flights on Friday nights so you can take advantage of both full days of the weekend. If you prioritise having balance in your life, there’s nothing you can’t do or accomplish!

How do you plan for a trip on limited time? 

When your time is limited, you have to take advantage of every moment!

Where are your top 3 bucket list travel destinations?

My top three bucket list travel destinations are Australia/New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Peru

What place in the world has surprised you most and why?

This year we had the pleasure to travel to Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, and I would say that all, but especially Bora Bora, totally blew us away. I always thought that with all the photos I’ve seen, there had to be filters or colour-enhancing but let me tell you – the water is really that blue! Virtually the only method of transportation from place to place is via boat – even the airport is on its own island.

What’s your favourite thing about coming home from a trip?

Honestly, my favourite thing about coming home from a trip is my own bed! No matter what hotel I stay at, there’s no better one in the world than my own.

Who is your travel blogger inspiration?

My travel blogger inspiration is Alyssa Ramos of My Life’s a Travel Movie. She’s a full-time travel blogger who has visited 75 countries and counting. She is inspirational as both a blogger and a female traveller, hustling to make a career out of her passion. I would also say that my travel couple inspiration is Hannah and Adam of Getting Stamped. They travel to the most beautiful destinations together, after having worked corporate jobs and crazy hours for many years. They saved up to start travelling four years ago and haven’t stopped since.

Ever been tempted to hit the road and never look back?

If I win the lottery one day, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing!

What would be your one piece of advice for any full-time workers/full-time wanderlusters out there wanting to make travel more of a priority in their lives?

Know that you don’t need to put your passion for travelling on hold while working full-time. Yes, there may be certain restrictions, but you don’t have to wait until you’re retired to be able to explore the world. Negotiate for extra vacation time when taking a new position and add on vacation time to days you have off. Perhaps find a job that either allows you to work remotely or includes travel, and then add days on after business trips to explore nearby places. Plan accordingly and give your superiors ample notice – you may find that they will not only respect you for it, but if they’re good, probably even will encourage you to travel.

Thank you so much to The Wanderblogger, The Millennial Runaway, From One Girl to One World and Love ‘N’ Luggage for their fantastic travel tips! Check out their websites and social media for more inspiration!

And for advice on how to travel more when you’re short on time, head over to my articles: ‘The Perks of  Being a Part-Time Traveller’ and ’10 Ways to Travel More with a Full-Time Job’.


1 Comment

  1. January 21, 2018 / 12:27 am

    This was such a fun read, and I’m still so honored you wanted me to me a part of it! 🙂

    P.S. I shared this on Twitter and went to tag you in it, but realized I wasn’t connected to you there. Are you on Twitter?

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