If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “How do you travel so much with a full-time job?” I would be filthy rich. In fact, I would be kicking up my feet at some luxury resort and drinking a tropical drink by the poolside. People are always dumfounded that it’s possible to work full time AND travel a good amount. Lucky for you, I am about to divulge all my secrets in this post.
Of course, there are a few stipulations. First of all, if you have a job that doesn’t give you any vacation days, well then I can’t help you. But you should also probably quit because no one likes working for Satan. Second of all, you have to be okay with taking shorter trips sometimes. Third of all, you have to get creative (don’t worry…not artistic levels of creative. Just basic creativity)
I get 20 vacation days, 2 personal days, and 9 paid holidays.
I recognize that this isn’t the standard across the board and you very well could have less or more than me but you can still apply and adapt the principles I am sharing to match your vacation structure. Ready and excited to finally get the answer to your question? Okay then let’s get started.
Tip #1: Pair your vacation days with your holidays
This is the biggest tip I can give you and the number one reason I am able to travel as much as I can. Last year, I took advantage of two holidays for my trip to Chile and Argentina: Veteran’s Day (11/11/16) and Thanksgiving Day (11/24/16). I left after work on Thursday the 10th and returned on Sunday the 27th. I was able to travel for 16 days but only take 9 vacation days. NINE! That’s like getting a full week for free.
Of course, this is just an example. You don’t have to spend Thanksgiving away from your family and your annual turkey if you don’t want to. There’s plenty of other holidays to use this trick on.
Tip #2: Take weekend trips
Find the earliest possible flight you can take on a Friday and return Sunday night (or even Monday morning…as we’ll discuss in the next section). That’ll give you plenty of time to get a taste of whichever city you pick. This option works for quick getaways between longer trips or if you don’t have any vacation days left. Plus, plenty of holidays fall on a Friday or a Monday so you can get a long weekend without having to take a single day off! We took a wonderful weekend trip to Philadelphia. Check out a perfect weekend guide here.
Tip #3: Take morning of flights
This tip really isn’t for everyone but for those who don’t mind being up early, then you can take your return flight home the morning of the day you need to return to work. This extends a weekend trip by giving you Friday – Monday morning and providing you with an additional evening to spend in the city of your choice. Or, it makes your long weekend potentially be Thursday night – Monday morning (in this example, Friday is a national holiday) without taking a single vacation day!
Optional Tip #4 (only applicable to those with the occasional flexibility to work from home):
Working from home regularly really is a luxury and not all of us have it, myself included. That being said, I am able to take the occasional work from home day, as long as it isn’t done too frequently. If you are able to do so as well, build the work from home day into your trip whether you’re taking vacation days or not. Even though you’ll have to work your normal hours, you’ll still have the rest of the day to frolic.
Optional Tip #5 (only applicable to those who are hourly): Work 40 hours before Friday
I am no longer an hourly employee but when I was this was another trick up my sleeve. I didn’t use this often because I didn’t want to abuse the system, but every so often I would work 40 hours before Friday and take Friday off without actually having to use up a vacation day. Just another trick to make your existing vacation days and holidays last a little longer.
So that’s it. Pretty simple right? Just takes a little thought and creativity on your part. Oh, and some organization. Sometimes, it’s akin to a puzzle to figure out how to make your trips work within your vacation framework. Lucky for you, I have a customizable vacation planner that will take the work out of it for you. It even has all of my 2016 vacation laid out for you so you can see exactly how I took each trip.
Excited? You should be. Download it here
If you liked this post on how to travel with a full time job then you’ll love these:
Pin it for later: