18 Dec How to travel with a full time job
You don’t have to quit your job and sell everything to travel the world. I’ve often heard the reality of this is not as glamorous as it first may sound.
This year I have travelled to Noosa, New Zealand, London, Scotland, Ireland, Morocco, Greece, Arizona, every city in Australia (except Darwin) as well as various camping grounds up and down the coast of NSW, all while holding down a full time job.
Yes, that’s right – I work full time in a career I love – Digital Experience Consultancy. Bikini Adventures, is my part time passion.
Traveling the world has always been a priority for me, so I designed my life from early adulthood to ensure I had the freedom to travel often. Everything from my lifestyle choices to the jobs I’ve pursued has all been influenced by my desire to travel.
However, there are smaller steps you can take to help squeeze more travel in, rather than re-engineering your entire life around travel.
PLAN TRIPS AROUND LONG WEEKENDS
This might seem obvious but plan trips around national holidays and long weekends. Long weekends are busy and often expensive weekends to travel but if you add days to each end of the weekend you will save a lot of money on airfares. At the beginning of the calendar year, research how best to make use of long weekends and then submit your leave form for the year (before everyone else does)!
For example, I did this for Australia Day. It fell on a Thursday so I took annual leave on Friday and gained a 4 day weekend.
Easter is a great one, with Anzac Day in there too. Taking 5 days annual leave equaled a 12 day break once we took public holidays into account. So, off to New Zealand we went!
TAKE SOME TIME OFF BEFORE A NEW JOB
It’s so important to take a break between jobs to not only refresh your mind, but your body and health need it too. I see many people finish one job on Friday and start a new job the following Monday. If you don’t take enough time to rest and reset, your body will tell you. You may get sick and your body may even possibly shut down. I’ve observed this so many times – when new people start a job, they’ve only had a weekend in between and more often catch the flu or a cold. They’re run down. Their body is telling them to rest.
Respect yourself and ask your new employer for some time off. They often agree because a well rested new employee is much more productive and energetic compared to a burnt out one. Unfortunately, not everyone’s circumstances allow them this flexibility, but if you are lucky enough to enjoy a break, please do!
Between every new job I have had a minimum of two weeks to rejuvenate. This year between jobs, I negotiated a six week break so I could join my mum and sister on a trip to Europe. This is when I visited UK, Morocco and Greece.
Someone asked me “how did you manage that?”
My reply was simple – “I just asked”.
If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. And if your new employer doesn’t agree, then that is probably a good indication of how they might treat you when you’re employed by them..!
How refreshed and motivated do you think I was when I started my new job? I felt so grateful for the time off, I gave it 110% when I started and still immensely enjoying it 6 months in. Because they respected my time, they have my commitment, loyalty and hard work in return.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR EXTENDED UNPAID LEAVE
Sometimes the amount of annual leave we receive is just not enough. Especially if you want to fly somewhere like Europe from Australia. To pay for a ticket and travel all that way, you really want to make the most of it. So maybe a couple of months is more appealing?
If your manager likes you and values you, they’ll more than likely agree to extended leave.
Here are some examples:
- My brother has just enjoyed 6 months around the Americas, while is law firm holds his position for him.
- My colleague just took off 3 months to travel America and Canada with his wife and teenage sons. He’s back at work now, feeling refreshed!
- My girlfriend just came back from a 7 month trip around India. This is her third extended trip from the same high end corporate job. She also took 2 months off to travel to South America 4 years ago and 6 weeks off to travel Central America 2 years ago.
- My step sister in law was interviewing for a new job. On her third interview they verbally offered her the job. It was then she told them she was planning on going on a 3 month road trip around Europe, 4 months after starting the job. Do you know what they said? Sure – take it! She was obviously of value to them and they were willing to let her travel.
It doesn’t matter what age you are, or how long you wish to take off. The key point is to work hard to be valued by your organisation. Valued employees will be treated with respect and will most often be granted their desired travel plans!
BLEISURE – MIXING BUSINESS AND LEISURE TRAVEL
If travel is a priority for you, seek out a job that requires you to travel for work. There is no doubt that travel is a priority for me, so I consciously landed a new job at a global company that requires me to travel often. I am required to travel around Australia, Asia and occasionally to America.
When I travel for business, I organise to extend the trip and take some personal time off to explore new places. This is even better when my business trip ends on a Friday and I extend the trip over the weekend. For example, my recent business trip to Perth ended on a Friday, so I spent the weekend in Rottnest Island, which was both stunning and relaxing. With the flight paid for, it’s a great way to have a mini-vacation.
And I’m not alone. According to a Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card Survey, 78% of millennials intentionally carved out personal time on a business trip. Further, 60% of millennials said that vacation time benefits their business by helping them think big picture, as opposed to 49% of boomers.
By incorporating personal time into a work trip, it allows me to expand my sense of adventure. My employer also gains from this arrangement by having a happy and rested employee who is more likely to work hard and stay with the company.
Every job is going to be a little different and what works for some will not work for others. It is important to establish a trusting relationship with your employer and hopefully they will be more lenient when you request days off.