When people ask me about my secret to traveling more despite having a regular 9-5 job, my main answer is this: I prioritize. I’ve made travel my main focus and end goal of almost everything I do.
Now let me clear a few things up before I lose you:
- I don’t have a ton of vacation time, I live in the United States where the average vacation amount is just 10 days.
- I don’t have a side hustle that makes me extra money (I did host my place on AirBNB for a month, but that’s another story)
- I live less than 10 miles away from the second most expensive city in the US: San Francisco, California.
- I’m not rich by any means
- I don’t have a partner who helps me financially
But just saying that I prioritize is sort of a copout answer, right? Don’t worry, I’m getting there.
There is a lot that I do – and you can, too – that gets me on an airplane or road trip at least once a month, if not more often. So what is it? How am I still traveling more with a 9-5 job? Read on, my wanderlusting friend.
The Secret to Traveling more with a 9-5 Job
It’s all about having prioritization and having your eye on the prize. Here are a few things you can do to start today.
Maximize your vacation time with shorter trips
Instead of using your 10 days all at once, take a day off here and there to extend your weekends. Visit a city that is only a two hour flight away so you’re not losing much time on travel. A vacation doesn’t always have to be two weeks long and in a far away place! Three days can make an amazing adventure.
Plan your travels around paid holiday weekends
This is the easiest way to maximize your trips. If you already have a Monday off, why not take Tuesday off, too? Now you have four days in your destination of choice, and you only had to take one vacation day. In 2016 I spent Thanksgiving in Peru. Why? My company provided two paid holiday days off. I spent 10 days in Peru, and only had to take five vacation days.
Take advantage of your company’s wellness program
My company offers up to two paid “wellness days” a year when you participate in the wellness program. You better believe I log in everyday to earn my points! If you’re not sure if your company offers this, ask the Human Resources department. Sometimes they offer benefits you don’t know about.
Ask your boss for more vacation
When raise and promotion season comes around, talk to your boss about getting more vacation time. A raise doesn’t always have to be a fiscal amount. It could be more time off. Last year I negotiated an extra five days paid vacation per year during my review. This was on top of my raise. It never hurts to ask!
Ask your boss if you can work from home
It’s becoming more and more common for people to be able to work remotely in the work force. More companies allow their employees the flexibility of working from home – if only just one day a week. Ask for remote Fridays. Yes, you will have to work that Friday, but you could be doing it at a coffee shop by the beach.
Take advantage of paid work conferences
I once attended the Microsoft Ignite conference, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia. Because my company was paying for my flight, I scheduled my plane to arrive two days before the conference began. It gave me a whole weekend to explore the city on my own, and it didn’t cost me anything extra besides two nights of AirBNB, which cost only $30 a night. I spent six days in Atlanta because of a work conference, and it’s now one of my favorite cities!
Take unpaid vacation time, and prepare for it
This one might seem more difficult, but if you prioritize your spending, it can be done without hurting your bank account. Open a savings account just for travel, and create a budget. Eliminate your daily Starbucks (you can make great coffee at home), your weekend drink outings (this will be huge savings), and your weekly restaurant dining. Pack your lunch for work. Only purchase things you need. Start a side hustle! AirBNB is pretty sweet. There’s plenty you can do to afford a few days unpaid vacation, you just have to make it a priority.
Call in sick
I know, l know. Not a best practice, but stay with me. You’re a healthy person. You’ve got sick days burning a hole in your pocket, and guess what? If you ever leave the company, those days disappear. Use them to your advantage once in a while. Ever taken a mental day so you can reset? It’s practically the same thing. I can’t say that I’ve done this, but ya know… it’s an option if you don’t have a guilty conscious like I do ; )
Have you implemented any of these ideas into your lifestyle to travel more? Or, do they sound unreasonable? Let me know and we can talk it out.