If you work full time but still want to travel the world, these travel tips will show you how to travel with a full time job.
Don’t waste time being discouraged by the number of vacation days you get.
Instead, follow these tips to maximize your time and take advantage of the opportunities you DO get to travel.
Here are my top 13 tips on how to travel with a full time job.
How To Travel With a Full Time Job
1. Don’t Leave Vacation Days on the Table
The first step for how to travel with a full time job is to use all the vacation days you do get.
More than half of all Americans leave vacation time, or annual leave, on the table every year.
Vacations and time away from work are good for you, please don’t let this time off go unused.
Even if you only have one or two vacation days left, these can always be placed around a weekend to give you extra time.
If you don’t want to travel far, plan a trip somewhere local. You can pack a heck of a lot into a three-day weekend trip if it’s only a short drive away.
2. Take Advantage of Long Weekends and Holidays
My second tip for how to travel with a full time job is to simply travel over the weekend.
Plan vacations ahead of time to include long holiday weekends. This is the easiest way to stretch your vacation days without having to use your own time.
Also, be mindful of which long weekends you intend to travel around.
For the most part, Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends tend to be more expensive than other holidays such as Presidents’ Day or Columbus Day.
Try and use this to your advantage, as both of these holidays also fall in the offseason for most destinations. You’ll be more likely to find good travel deals during these months as well.
3. Request Vacations Early
My third tip for how to travel with a full time job is to just plan ahead.
Whenever possible, try and request your vacations far in advance, especially if you’re working full-time.
The last thing you want to deal with is getting turned down on a vacation request just because your coworkers beat you to it.
If you know you’re going to want to travel near major holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving, request your paid time off for these holidays at the beginning of the year.
You can always change your mind later if you end up not planning a trip during that time.
This is a much better position to be in than planning a trip last minute over Christmas and stressing out about trying to get your vacation days approved. Just play it safe and plan ahead.
4. Travel in the Off-Season
Just about every travel blog on the planet will recommend traveling in the off season, this one included.
By traveling outside of peak tourist seasons, you will save money, have to deal with fewer people, and have less competition from your coworkers for those vacation days.
Traveling in the offseason comes with great flight deals and usually, significantly less expensive hotel rooms.
Plus, traveling in the off-season gives you more opportunities to interact with locals and sometimes even have those popular tourist destinations to yourself.
As an added bonus, many of those frequently sold-out attractions and tours will likely have plenty of availability.
If you’re wondering where to go in the offseason, you can read all about my recommendations for off-season travel destinations.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Short Trips
Not all vacations need to be long and include stops in multiple cities. Consider using long weekends to explore a single destination.
For example, if you live on the West Coast, a long weekend can be done in pretty much any city in the United States, Mexico or Canada.
Pick a place you haven’t been and start looking for that great airfare deal to travel over the weekend.
Consider leaving late on a Thursday night after work, and returning late Sunday night. This way you’ll be using just one vacation day if you don’t have Fridays off. Plus you’ll be back in time to get some sleep before reporting to work on Monday.
If you’re a feeling bit more adventurous, consider looking for an evening flight that departs after your workday and plan a long weekend in your favorite European city, or one you’ve always wanted to visit.
Remember, you don’t need to do everything in one trip. The key is to be open-minded and just have a good time. Shorter trips can mean more trips, so plan accordingly.
6. Take Advantage of Evening Flights
If you’re looking for a way to extend a long weekend trip, consider departing right when your last shift ends. This way, instead of using your first day off as a travel day, you’ll be able to wake up in your destination.
In most circumstances, this will give you a whole extra day to enjoy your trip. This is also a perfect way to save money on your flight as fares are typically lower if you are leaving earlier in the week.
If you’re headed to Europe or the East Coast, you’ll also save by booking a red-eye flight. Plus, you won’t have to pay for the hotel this night, as you’ll be sleeping (hopefully) on the plane.
7. Get up Early
Make sure you take full advantage of the time you do have by setting that alarm. You don’t want to waste half a day of your trip sleeping in until noon.
The earlier you get up, the more time you have and the more you can see and do. No matter where you are, mornings always have fewer crowds and shorter lines.
Take advantage of this always. Besides getting up early, you should also try to get to bed at a decent hour.
If you want to grab some cocktails after dinner, try to get to the bar early so you can finish and get back to your hotel room in time for a good night’s sleep.
If you’re going to get up early, you’ll want to be well-rested.
8. Make Travel a Priority
If you work full-time and don’t have a whole lot of paid vacation days, you’ll need to work at making travel a priority.
This may mean saying no to other invitations or requests of your time. Be picky about how you use the vacation time you get, and make sure you are using it in the best way possible for you.
Try not to feel bad about saying no once in a while and get comfortable explaining to others that you are saving your vacation days for a special trip.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Travel Solo
One of the biggest mistakes many would-be travelers make is waiting for others to join them. If you want to travel somewhere, do it.
Do not be afraid of being a lone traveller. Trust me, you’re not the only one.
If you put off booking your trip while you wait for someone else, you’ll never go anywhere. In fact, I think it’s easier to find travel partners once you’ve already taken a few trips on your own anyway.
Not only will your friends see you having fun all by yourself, but chances are you might meet some new travel buddies on the road. Please don’t wait for others. If the time is right for you, just go.
I included a video up above about great solo travel destinations in 2020. The video is by Kristin from Be My Travel Muse.
She’s my favorite travel blogger on the web today, and she also makes some great You Tube videos. You should seriously follow her.
10. Find Short Flights to Great Destinations
If you’re really pressed for time, look for fun destinations that are just a short flight away.
In fact, if you’re in Europe or North America, you can get pretty far with just a one hour flight.
Pull up the Google Maps feature on your laptop and take a look at all the flight options from your home city.
There’s bound to be some cool spots to visit that you can get to fairly quickly.
11. Plan a Day Trip
If you really want to visit somewhere but have no time, consider making it a day trip.
You can always catch an early morning flight or a red-eye to your destination of choice.
Then spend a full day seeing what you came to see before heading back to the airport for a late return flight.
I know this will sound too crazy for some, but you’ll get to book the cheapest airfare flying at what others would consider “undesirable” times.
Plus you won’t have to pay baggage fees or even look for hotels.
12. Negotiate Helpful Perks at Your Job
There are lots of job benefits or special arrangements that can be made with your job that can make it easier for you to travel more.
For example, consider working remotely or taking advantage of upcoming business trips. I know a lot of companies and organizations are not quite ready to allow their employees to work remotely, but you may be able to negotiate one day per month.
Figure out what the benefits could be for your employer and start the conversation there, you just never know.
If that seems too far fetched for your current job, maybe you could take advantage of some business travel plans that are coming up.
If you find yourself having to travel far from your home for business, see what’s nearby and try and make a fun getaway out of it.
Try and line up any business-related travel plans for either the beginning or end of the week, this way you’ll have the weekend to take advantage of being in this new location.
13. Position Yourself Near an Airport
If it’s at all practical, or possible, consider positioning yourself as close to the nearest airport as possible.
What I mean by this is, if you can, try to live or work near the airport. This will allow you to get on a flight a lot easier and a lot faster, especially if you don’t have to travel across an entire county to get there.
If this isn’t possible, maybe there’s a shuttle or bus line you could live close to that goes to the airport.
But no matter where you live, I recommend doing some research on the fastest ways to get to the airport from your home.
There may be some super convenient and affordable options you never thought of.
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Eden FitePart-time Traveler | Dog Lover | Avoider of Crowds
I help people use their vacation days to see the world.