I may travel a lot, but the only way I can afford this is by working full time. I know there are loads of stories out lately about people quitting their jobs to pursue long-term travelling, but realistically this isn’t possible for the majority of us. I’m not going to sugar coat anything, it can be hard. However, if you really want to travel, you make it work and you make the time to fit travelling into your schedule. I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’m finally starting to get a happy medium between the two. Here are some of my tips for how to achieve this –
Firstly, do you know how many days of the year you aren’t working? Take 2016 for example…
Weekends – 104 days of weekend a year.
Bank Holidays – 8 days a year.
Annual Leave – depending on your company. But from speaking to a few people, this tends to range from 18-30 days a year.
Total – 130-142 days a year
That is a huge chunk of the year outside of the office. Even if you only used half of those days on holiday, you’re still looking at around 70 days of travel a year!
So, how can you use these days to your advantage? Well, firstly – take your holiday allowance! Not all companies let you roll over your allowance to the next year, so take it on a yearly basis. Not only are you paid and entitled to the time off, it’s not good for you to work without a little break now and then. Take it off, get away from the office for a few days & return with a fresh mind-set. Not only will you benefit from having time to unwind, but your work should benefit too as you’ll be nice & relaxed.
See everywhere as an adventure. Who said a holidays have to be abroad? Why not take a road trip with friends? Go explore some National Trust places for a weekend? Or just go to a new town or city you’ve not been to before? Travelling doesn’t have to be away from your home country. You can travel the breadth and depth of it and still class it as a trip. England is so beautiful and I’ve already got loads of things I want to see and do here.
Plan ahead. I swear I’m always raving about planning, but it’s a necessity. Sure, sometimes you can sort out a last minute trip and it works out wonderfully, but you have to be really lucky to find it affordable & on the dates you want. Weekends are more expensive to go away on, it’s a fact. Just because they can be more expensive, it doesn’t mean they aren’t affordable. If you work out convenient dates for a trip in advance, you have more time to try and snag a bargain. I’ve been at work all week and then hopped on a 9pm flight the Friday night and managed to have amazing weekends away on a cheap budget.
You need to be prepared to have rubbish flight times. If you want to make the most of travelling you’ll be prepared to rush out of work on a Friday night to get on a flight and you almost expect that you’ll be back really late on a Sunday night. I’ve found if you don’t overexert yourself and do this too frequently, it is manageable. Make sure you aren’t getting into work on a Monday ridiculously tired and crabby and there isn’t a problem.
Take advantage of long weekends. The best way to do this and still remain on a budget is to figure out the bank holiday weekends at the beginning of a year & pre-book these trips. Once people realise which weekends are Bank Holidays the prices shoot up. If you can get in there early enough you can grab some brilliant deals. Long weekends are also great as they give you another day or two in a country without taking any time off work.
I know it’s cliché but work hard then play hard. Make sure that where you are at any given moment, you are giving it your all. If you spend all day at working daydreaming about your adventures you’ll never get anything done, and likewise if you spend your entire weekend away worrying about work assignments you won’t ever really unwind. Live for the moment. Make sure you are working hard and playing hard – after all, you’re only young once.
You don’t need a long weekend to go away, appreciate places close to you that don’t take much travelling time. I’m so lucky that I live only an hour away from London. I have numerous airports I can fly from and the flights are only a few hours to get me to the other side of Europe. I can easily squeeze in a city break even if I fly out a Saturday morning and return the next day.
Be prepared to have a busy but worthwhile time. My city breaks are usually non-stop the entire time as I’m determined to not come home with regrets. I want to see absolutely everything I can and I want to really make the most of a new place. I always research where I’m going and make a list of must do’s and see’s so that when I get there I don’t waste time researching. I don’t mind being really busy, I enjoy it- just be prepared to be on the move a lot if you come for a weekend away with me.
Don’t forget about the people at home. This is one most people struggle with (me included). All these adventures are great fun and everyone around you is probably really happy you’re enjoying yourself – but don’t forget about the friends at home. On the weekends you’re not away, make sure you still see the people you’re closest to. It’s fun travelling but sometimes it’s nice to come home.
Think I’ve missed anything or got some of your own tips for how to get the balance right? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you…