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You want to travel more often, but you have limited paid-time off. Traveling is a luxury that takes both time and expenses. If you want to travel more while holding a full-time job, you may need to be open minded to more flexible opportunities. Consider the following tips to help you explore more of the world while you are working full-time.
1. Take more road trips.
If you are looking to travel more often, look to see what cities are within driving distance to you. A road trip can be a quick and easy way to see something new and travel. You can take a day trip to a new town, or travel just far enough to have to stay in a hotel for the evening.
2. Be a local tourist.
Look for tourist opportunities in the city that you are currently living in. If you want to travel more with a full-time job, see what opportunities there are for site-seeing downtown. You can search for off the beaten path guides in your current city, and see if anything new comes up.
3. Extend your work trip.
When you are traveling for a business trip, if there are not additional costs, many companies will allow you the opportunity to extend your work trip. You can either stay in the current city for a few extra days and pay for your hotel, or consider flying to a second city and paying for your own flight back home. If your work trip lines up with a weekend, consider staying a few extra days or having a friend fly out to join you.
4. Plan ahead for long weekends.
We only get so many long weekends in a year, so don’t let any of those three day weekends go to waste! If you are looking to travel more, make a list of places that you want to visit. As you are about two months out from a three day weekend, look-up the flights for all of those places and book something! You could also use a three day weekend for a longer road trip.
5. Seek out conferences to attend.
Even if you do not have a job where you have to travel for work, you can still find opportunities for your employer to send you on a business trip. Look for conferences in your industry, either for networking or for training. You can convince your company to pay for your trip, and you will get to experience a new city in the meantime.
6. Spend less time with family.
My husband and I used to fly home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas each year – this was in addition to flying home for weddings, graduations, and long layovers from work trips. Especially since the holidays are so close together, we now use the Thanksgiving holidays for personal travel, and only go home for the Christmas break.
7. Move to a city that is centrally located.
Moving with your full-time job is easier said than done, but if one of your passions is traveling, consider moving to a city that is more central and near a good airport. If you are passionate about the Pacific Northwest, consider moving to Portland or Seattle so that you are closer to more towns that you want to visit. If you want the flexibility of traveling anywhere in the United States, consider a centrally located city such as Chicago or Dallas that will have plenty of flight opportunities to either coast.
8. Suggest remote opportunities at your job.
Again, asking for remote opportunities at your job can be easier said than done. Depending on your office culture, consider seeing if you can work from home once a week, or even once a month. With the flexibility of working from home, you have an extra day to add to potential travel opportunities.
9. Look for direct flights for fast weekend trips.
Use a website such as Skyscanner, where you can search for the cheapest flights to anywhere. Keep an eye out for Alaskan Airline or Southwest Airline deals, that offer cheaper direct flights throughout the year. If you are limited to only two day weekends, you will want to look for direct flights so that you can maximize your time in the new city.
10. Be open to red-eye flights.
Honestly, the most difficult part about living in California is the fact that the state is so far away from the rest of the United States. If you do not mind sleeping on planes, look for red-eye opportunities if you need to travel a further distance. Red-eye flights are flights that occur overnight. You can try to take a red-eye flight and land in your new city on a Saturday morning, or use a red-eye flight to get home before going to work on Monday.
11. Consider unpaid leave opportunities.
If you want to travel for an extended period of time but do not have enough paid-time off, consider requesting to go on unpaid leave. Some companies may offer the flexibility of unpaid leave, and it is reassuring to know that you will have a full-time job when you get home. Keep inn mind that if you go on unpaid leave, you will want to be cautious of how that affects your benefits such as health insurance.
12. Add travel to your list of goals.
Traveling more with a full-time job is a commitment. If you want to travel more often, you will want to add traveling to your list of goals and plan ahead. Make a list of all the places you want to visit. Schedule your trips, even day trips, in advance so that you can pace yourself appropriately.
13. Set realistic expectations.
It is not easy to travel more with a full-time job. You have limited time available to you, and let’s be real – you have a limited budget. Traveling is expensive, and it can be difficult to justify the price for two day trips. You can try to fly somewhere new every weekend, but it is not going to be good for your health or your wallet. Unless you live in Europe, you won’t visit 12 new countries a year with your full-time job.
While traveling more with a full-time job has its challenges, there are definitely strategies that you can put in place to make it work. Be more open minded to smaller and closer cities. If you make traveling a priority, there are many ways to explore more of the world.