Think you don't have time to travel? Think again.
I traveled to India, South Africa, and Panama as a full-time student
I traveled to Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and San Fransico as a full-time worker and well...adult.
Travel has always been a major priority in my life, even before I ever left the country. I knew I wanted.....no, I knew I needed to see the world. I also knew I needed to study and work, so I became very strategic about finding time to travel.
Before quitting my job, people would question whether I actually worked - even my own coworkers despite seeing me on a daily basis. The truth is that I worked 40 hours like most people did. I was working with a measly two-week vacation limit just like everyone else. I was just VERY VERY VERY strategic about maximizing my time off.
So, don't quit your day job(unless you really want to...like I did). Here are some ways to travel whether you're a full-time worker or a college student.
1. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
Studies show that employees are happier when they take vacations(DUH!) and have increased productivity when they return to work.
If travel is something you really want, you've gotta start prioritizing it! Save up your vacation days for a specific trip. Establish a plan and start saving now. Create a separate savings fund for a big trip to keep you motivated.
Finally, remember that you don't have to quit your job to travel the world(unless you truly want to). Instead, change the way you view "vacation". A 3-day vacation can be just as refreshing as a 2-week vacation. A domestic trip can be just as transformational as an international trip. Possibly reframe your idea of travel and how it could fit into your life.
RELATED: HOW TO MAKE TRAVEL A REALITY TODAY
2. EXTEND YOUR WEEKENDS
ALWAYS TRAVEL OVER THE WEEKEND! NEVER BREAK THIS RULE!
Whether it be Thursday through Sunday or Wednesday through Monday, weekend travel will help you save vacation days. Essentially, you'll have 2 extra vacation days that you'd otherwise be using if you traveled throughout the week.
i.e. Instead of traveling Monday through Friday and using 5 vacation days, you can travel Thursday through Tuesday and use only 3 vacation days. Instead of traveling Monday through Friday, try traveling Friday through the next Sunday - this gives you 10 vacation days opposed to 5 using the same amount of time off, because you included the weekend before and after.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HOLIDAYS
Think of it like this: A Holiday = A FREE TRAVEL DAY
It may not seem like it, but one day can make a difference. Tag this onto a weekend trip and you've got yourself a three-day trip!
Tip: Avoid crowds by starting your day earlier
4. WORK FROM HOME
If you have the ability to work from home, you're pretty lucky. Take advantage of your flexible work arrangement and work in a new city. It's 2018, so you should have no problem finding wifi(or a Starbucks, if all else fails).
Use your free time explore when you get off, especially in the Spring and Summer when the days are longer. And of course, the time really adds up when you include weekends(See #1 again)!
5. STAY CLOSE TO HOME
You may have to hold off on far-flung destinations until you've racked up more time off. And, that's okay! There are plenty of close destinations for you to visit. Knock those out first. You don't want to waste half of your vacation in the air anyway!
There were some places that I really wanted to visit while working, but the flight duration wouldn't have made sense. Instead of a 19-hour flight to Thailand, I took a 3.5-hour flight to Costa Rica.
6. TAKE SHORTER TRIPS
I understand the desire to really "get to know" a place but a 5-day trip will always be better than no trip. Squeeze the most you can out of the time that you DO have!
Instead of using a full week or 2 weeks vacation on one trip and having to wait such a long time to travel again, use a few days here & there to visit some locations that don't require as much time. It may not seem like it but a 3-5 day vacation(with weekends included, of course) is sometimes all you need. You'll get to take more breaks and you'll still get a chance to visit some awesome places.
7. START EARLY
An early morning start will help you beat large crowds, and it literally doubles the time off that you do have. If you are on vacation and you wake up at 7 or 8 am instead of 11 am or 12 pm, you've added 4-5 hours of daylight back into to your day.
8. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES AT WORK
If you work as a consultant or a company that allows you to travel for various events, you should try to make use of the trip that you're taking. If you happen to have a Wednesday - Friday conference, consider asking your manager to arrange your return flight to leave on Sunday instead of Friday especially if it is at no additional cost to the company. You can then spend the weekend exploring at no additional cost using no additional days off. And even if you can't choose your flight days, you can spend your evenings exploring the city that you're in if you plan accordingly.
9. USE VACATION DAYS WISELY
Every vacation day is precious when you love to travel. Did you know that most people never use their vacation days? USE YOUR VACATION DAYS and use them wisely. Do you hear me?
Instead of taking a day off to spend watching Netflix, playing video games, or just because you feel like it, save that day off for a trip! If you have a doctor's appointment you can arrange it early in the morning and return to work or you can arrange it later in the day instead of taking that full day off. It may not seem like much, but you only have so much time off and each day adds up. Why use a day off doing things that could be done in the evenings or on the weekend?
Dear college students: You've got all the time in the world. With winter, summer, and spring breaks, you have plenty of time to travel. You've got time AND scholarships. Heck, you can even do a semester or year abroad(and you should). If you do have to work and/or take summer classes during those free months, you can still apply each of these.
RELATED: 5 REASONS YOU NEED TO STUDY ABROAD
10. GO SOLO
If you wait for people to join you, you'll be waiting forever. Seriously, unless you've hit the jackpot with a travel-obsessed friend, you'll be waiting forever. It's difficult to align schedules and budgets, so you should consider traveling solo! It just might change your life like it did mine.
Combine all of these tips at once, and you've got yourself a vacation. It is definitely possible to travel with a full-time job or as a student. These tips will ensure that you are getting the most value out of your limited time off as you slowly(but surely) travel the world. You should spend your time off however you want because it's precious and you only get so much of it. However, if you truly want to travel and you're wondering how you can find the time to do it, you've gotta start getting strategic about it!
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