Top Tips for Traveling with a Full-Time Job
Do you crave that wanderlust lifestyle? I know I do and a lot of other travelers feel the same way. We just want to pick up and go, explore one place then move onto the next.
However, for a lot of people, that lifestyle isn’t feasible at this moment in time. The spirit is willing but in reality, it’s a bit more difficult to travel. There’s a lot to think about, such as your obligations to your family, children, friends, work, finances, education, and more. It makes traveling a bit more difficult.
It’s not to say that we won’t ever get to travel at all or for long periods of time. But at this moment in time, it’s something that many people cannot do. Especially when you have a full-time 9-5 job, it’s just hard to find ways to make traveling around possible.
Just trying to get a week or two to travel is hard enough for some people. Although there are multiple factors which may contribute to someone not being to travel, one of the bigger factors is their job.
Some jobs don’t offer PTO (paid time off) to their employees to utilize for vacations or travel. Unfortunately, even in this day and age, there are jobs that don’t provide those types of benefits. It’s so important to take time off for yourself as a form of self-care, which you can read more about on my post about wellness travel. But if you don’t have any benefits or PTO to use, you risk taking time off without pay, which for some people is a no go because they rely on that income for their necessities and bills.
Despite those jobs that don’t give you any PTO or vacation days to use for travel, people still want to travel and explore. That’s not a bad thing! I understand this struggle as I have a 9-5 job as well. Although I don’t have the financial means to travel full-time, and I’ve had jobs in the past where I had no PTO to use for travel, I still managed to travel a bit.
But how can you travel with a full-time job or a full-time job that has no PTO? Hopefully this post will provide you with some tips to help.
Take A Day Trip
Who said you have to travel for a week or a month? You can definitely take a day trip to travel and explore an area near you. It can be the next town over or the closest city to you.
You don’t need to go above and beyond to travel and explore some amazing locations that are right in your backyard! Plus, you won’t have to pay so much for those airline tickets and accommodation fees. The best part about day trips is that you don’t have to miss work, you can take day trips on the weekend. I do this all the time by traveling to New York City or Philly. It’s a win win!
Do A Staycation
Staycations have been very popular recently because of the pandemic and the inability to travel the world. A staycation is similar to a vacation, only you stay at home and travel to do your favorite activities you’d normally do while traveling.
The length of the staycation depends on your ability to get days off from work. Either way, you’re going to be in the comfort of your own home, traveling to different areas that are close to you to do the things you love, at little cost to you.
Take A Weekend Trip
If you have a full-time job, and can’t afford to take time off work or don’t have the ability to take off, you can take a weekend trip. Weekend trips are great for those who have jobs and other commitments in their life. You aren’t sacrificing any work days, school days (if you or your kids are in school), or anything else you have going on during the week. You can wait until the weekend, maybe drive an hour or two to a place, and relax.
My parents are a great example of how people who can’t afford to take much time off of work still manage to travel and have fun! My lovely parents, who live in NYC, will drive about 2 to 3 hours to Pennsylvania to stay in Hershey or Allentown. They tend to go to either Hershey or Dorney park with my little siblings as a beautiful getaway from the big city. Or, they’ll drive to Connecticut to stay with family and do some activities together.
Travel During Holidays
A great tip on traveling with a full-time job is to travel during holidays. This includes any federal or public holidays you may have off for. If your job doesn’t require you to work during the holidays, or if you have the option to have off, then take advantage of it and travel!
Sometimes, depending on the job, the way holidays fall on the calendar can provide you with a longer weekend. For example, if the 4th of July fell on a Sunday, then your job may give you that Monday off. My job gave us both Friday and Monday off in observance of the 4th of July, so I had a 4 day weekend. Although I didn’t travel (because I traveled later on in July to Las Vegas), that would be a great opportunity for someone else to travel.
Take A Couple Days Off A Month Throughout The Year
If you are fortunate enough to have a job that has PTO for its employees to use, you can use your PTO to take a couple of days off each month throughout the year. That’s how I’ve been utilizing my PTO. Instead of reserving all of my PTO for one big 3-4 week trip, I distribute my time each month by taking 2 to 5 days off.
It doesn’t have to be every month. It can be every other month or every 2 months. That’s for you to decide. The point is that you can take multiple smaller vacations to travel throughout the year. Not only is it good for your mental health and wellness, but you’re also satisfying that wanderlust craving.
I’ve traveled 4 times this year so far just by spreading my PTO throughout the year and I still have more trips planned later on this year! (Stay tuned for future blog posts and YouTube videos)
Have A Travel Fund
You’re probably wondering what a travel fund has to do with traveling. Well, some of these trips, even if they’re day trips or staycations, cost some money to a certain degree. Even if you manage to get time off work, and get paid for that time off, you still need some money to travel and do the things that you love. I say this because everyone is different and some activities people like to do cost money.
If you have some money saved up for your trip, that eases the burden a little bit. You wouldn’t have to miss any travel opportunities because you didn’t have the money. I like to take a little bit of money from my paycheck and save it for my travel fund. By the time I’m ready to travel, I don’t have to worry or stress out about not having enough money to even go on the trip.
Travel While Working From Home
One result of this pandemic is the increased number of jobs that offer remote work. If you have a remote job then you can travel while working at the same time! You don’t have to worry about taking time off work. You’re making money while traveling and doing the things you love.
Last year, when my job went remote due to the pandemic, my friend Steph and I decided to drive down to Myrtle Beach. It was a 5 day vacation but I didn’t take time off work. I didn’t want to use my PTO as I didn’t have much at the time. So, I decided to take my work laptop and phone with me on my vacation. I managed to get some work done and do some activities without using any PTO. I got the best of both worlds.
Have Flexible Dates
The one thing about having a full-time job and trying to travel is being flexible. Try to be flexible with your travel plans and dates. If you’re flexible, you may be able to get time off work during low seasons for great prices!
Things don’t always go according to plan when you have a job and travel, so flexibility is important. Things can and sometimes do change, the more flexible you are the better.
Take Evening Flights
Another tip for traveling with a full-time job it to take evening flights. This is great for those who don’t want or can’t take off work but still want to travel. That way, you can go to work, travel in the evening, and start your trip.
An example of this is working all day on Friday, taking an evening flight to your destination, and doing your thing once you land. You don’t miss work and you’re still able to travel.
Do A Work & Travel Program
A great option for those who want to travel internationally is to do a work & travel program. There are a variety of programs, schools, and places that offer this kind of opportunity. You get the chance to travel internationally for work, earn some money, and travel in your spare time.
Traveling while holding a full-time job doesn’t necessarily need to cost extra money. Nor does it need to be an internationally trip, although many would still love to do this. With these tips on hand, you can travel, work, and do the things you love.
It’s all about working and traveling smarter and not harder! For others, traveling might be a bit harder to do but it is not impossible. Little staycations or day trips are all under the umbrella of travel. So, don’t discount them just because they’re not international trips to the Maldives or far off places.
You can travel in your own home location, usually for little cost or for nothing, and find some amazing things. You just have to find a method that works for you at this moment in time until you’re able to travel for extended periods of time and often throughout the year.