How to Travel with a Full Time Job
One of the reasons why traveling continues to be a “someday” dream for a lot of people is because you can convince yourself to delay it until you have more money, more time, someone to go with you, etc. But the truth is, if you’ll keep on thinking about only aiming and not applying it, you won’t get the time and you won’t have enough money either. Whether you want to quit your job to go on an enduring trip or want to take a vacation, the reality is that there’s never going to be a perfect time to go for it. I don’t think it’s timing that stops most of us from traveling; it’s fear; fear of change, fear that you might fail, fear that maybe your trip won’t be as amazing in real life as it is in your head.
Traveling isn’t going to suddenly feel less unapproachable if you wait long enough. If you wait until you feel “ready” to start traveling, that day is never going to come.
You see it everywhere online: “Quit your job and travel the world!” For those with a wanderlust soul, like myself, it’s the ultimate dream to travel. Who wouldn’t want to explore a new culture and city every day? Oh the adventure! The thrill! But this can’t be reality for everyone and for some may not even be what they want. For example, I love doing my 9 to 5 job and after that, I love coming back to a place I call my “home”. I don’t want to quit it at all and to be honest, it is the reason I can full fill my dream to travel in the first place!
So the focus of this blog is pure motivation. I’m going to explain how I do it and how YOU can do it too. There’s a terrible misconception that going to work in an office every day means you can no longer do the things you love. With a job, you don’t have to convince yourself every time that “maybe one day you’ll do it”. Say that you have to do it! So yes, it is very much possible to travel the world even if you have a full time job. And by “Full Time Job”, I am also targeting young/middle aged moms because being a mother is a full time 24/7 job (which they do without demanding any pay!) Ps: I think it is a necessity for full time mothers to travel at least once a year to breath, to feel alive and enjoy the time, stress free.
1. Make Travel a Priority
If you want to see more of the world, make sure traveling is a priority. After graduating and getting your first job, it’s natural to use that new income to buy things like clothes and brand new gadgets. While those things are nice, if travel is a priority, you should make sure to set aside a certain percentage of your pay in a “travel-only” bank account. Cutting back on buying extra, going out to eat regularly, and unnecessary clothing can help you live more economically and thus save more money for travel. It’s easy to get tempted to spend money when you have a steady pay, but if you truly love travel, put aside that extra cash and use it on an amazing adventure.
Decide how much you can afford to travel. Locally and Internationally. I focus on going on one travel spree every year whether local or international, so my priority is to save all year long to have the time of my life on that one trip.
Look for opportunities where you can travel where you might not otherwise. If your job is sending you somewhere, see if you can stay a couple days after to explore the city. Or if you’re in a stage of your life, like I am, where friends are getting married in different destinations, since you’re going anyway, try to go early or stay a couple days after.
Discuss with your family where you want to go or where all of you want to go. Show interest, bring everyone together, and involve anyone who can make this possible for you. If you prioritize what you want to do, everyone will make sure it happens for you.
2. Research & Plan
You need to be organized. If you want to understand the place you want to discover, take out time to research about it. Think why you want to go there and plan accordingly. For me, deciding to travel means investing a whole year to figure out how I can do it. I search for the best places to visit in a country I want to go, look for travelers who are currently in that place and see what they are showing, check deals and prices and so on and so forth. Have a list of destinations in mind that you’d like the visit and search on them. See what place seems affordable and then start looking into things further. Make budgets. Check visa, flight and hotel charges so if you spot a deal, you can snag it.
3. Be a Tourist in Your Own Country
Often, we’re so wrapped up in our day-to-day activities we often forget what is closest to us. See your hometown through the lens of a visitor. What are the top attractions near your city? Go visit them. See your city from another point of view. I try to do something new every week or two or visit interesting happening places in the city. I enjoy trying new restaurants and cuisines, which is also like traveling.
Weekends are a good time to get in the car and drive. Try a new route or pick a city and town you haven’t explored fully. If going away for a weekend is too much of a commitment, try a day trip. These little trips give you something to look forward to while you wait for your longer and bigger trips in the year.
4. Use your Long Weekends
Every year we get a number of long weekends through public holidays. Use them to your advantage and combine them with your vacation days. Along with the weekends on either end of the week, you can go somewhere for 9 days and only take 4 days of vacation.
Using this technique I’ve gone as far as Skardu & Kashmir. I try to find some place to go every long weekend I have whether it’s close by or somewhere further away. But note that sometimes it can be more expensive to travel during holiday times, so it’s important in this case to buy tickets/ book hotels pretty far in advance.
5. Ask Your Manager
Here’s a secret: if you do really well at your job, you’ll have more leverage to request the things you want. One technique I really like is just asking my manager if I could take some extra time either in combination with my vacation days, as unpaid/paid leave or borrow time from vacation days I haven’t earned yet. I’ve done this a couple of times and much to my surprise, no one has refused me. The place I work for and my managers all value my passion and because of that, I am also their go-to person when they are going on some trip and need advice. PS: what’s the worst that can happen? They say no and you’re still in the same place as you are now and you know it’s time to find another gig that gives you that flexibility.
6. Once You’re There
If you are traveling for few days, as tempting as it may be to want to jump from place to place, don’t! I’m able to appreciate my experiences so much more when I’m able to slow down. Accept the fact that you can’t see it all in one trip no matter how hard you try. Slowing down allows you to really feel like you’re in a new culture and gives you an opportunity to learn more about a place.
These will be feelings that carry you to your next trip, which really helps when wanderlust strikes! If you really want to see it all and have no money but only time issues, try to stay at a place that is around the many places you want to discover. This will help you see all the places you want to see as day trips and you’ll be able to skip from shifting from one place to another with luggage.
7. Think Big
Here’s another aspect. Dreaming of going to Spain for two weeks next year? Then avoid spending money on small trips domestically. If you keep your big travel goals in mind at all times, you’ll be less tempted to spend money on smaller trips. Even if they’re not that expensive, the costs add up and you’ll end up having to sacrifice on other things.
Keep constant reminders of your bigger travel plans nearby, like setting a picture of Spain as your computer’s desktop background. Set reminders on your phone to contribute to your travel funds. Request your vacation a few months in advance so your employer knows you’re going to go. Even when I don’t have any travel plan, I am constantly researching on places in case I like a place and want to go. So keep your research game constantly on because once everything is set in stone and you’re on your way, you’ll feel so much better about it.
8. Stay Positive
You’re going to your dream place so be excited! Do not let little hassles get you down. Breathe frequently and let your stress get out of the way. Don’t let fear drive your passion away. Rise above it all. Plan things yourself without feeling the pressure and you’ll know everything so there’s no need to worry. Everything will fall into place if not immediately, then eventually. Do not listen to what others have to say about their experiences. You are going to have your own experience so look forward to that. Have faith, keep praying for your safety and have the time of your life because time like this is not going to come back so better leave all the issues behind and just go.
YES, travel costs money, and money is hard to come. But you just have to change your perspective on travel slightly. If exploring is something you love to do, if traveling is your passion and you want to keep on doing it constantly, then save for it. With a few adjustments in lifestyle and your way of thinking, fitting travel in your life can actually be done.
Here’s a closing quote that I find peaceful and motivational:
This post was contributed by Mahin Adnan, an ACCA Affiliate based in Islamabad, currently working as an Audit Officer which gets her around Pakistan for work. She is a strong independent woman who is passionate about traveling and blogs about it here.
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