Travel the World While Working A 9 to 5

How to travel the world while working full time? Being a digital nomad sounds so alluring. To quit my job and travel full time throwing caution to the wind relying on my wits and charm sounds so romantic, but not realistic.

Quite frankly there are a million travel bloggers out there and I’m not the prettiest/funniest/insert adjective. I think to make a real go of this you need to have some niche that sets you apart. Well I haven’t found mine and until that day comes I’ll be living the 9 to 5 life. That doesn’t mean that travel is off the table, far from it. So here are some tips to maximize your travel while working a regular job. Travel doesn’t need to be an all or nothing thing. You can settle somewhere because the world is still out there!

Realize travel can be a part of your life

Travel doesn’t need to be an all or nothing thing. I know I get caught up in the whole “quit your job and just travel”, it sounds so nice. While travelling there are so many things you don’t have to worry about. No house cleaning, few bills, no office politics, the list goes on.  I work to fund my travel. My only real future plans are planning for the next adventure. The great thing about having a stable job is the financial security so you always know your next trip is just around the corner. I try to have a 4 month policy between “big” trips, 6  months at the most because if I don’t I go stir crazy and am miserable.

Make use of stat holidays

In Canada I think there is a stat holiday every month except March, but sometimes March for Easter reasons I don’t understand. That means you can get some serious vacation time in without using vacation time. I also have the luxury of working at a post secondary which means even more time off from the “average” worker.

Wondering how I made 10 vacation days translate to 45 days off (so far, I’m debating a trip to California at the end of September)?

When I went to Vietnam for 15 days I only used 5 days of vacation time. I worked overtime which I banked, made use of some rest and recovery time and a stat holiday to pull it all off. I am going to Hawaii for 23 days over Christmas and that is only going to take 5 vacation days because I work at a great place that gives us 2 weeks vacation for Christmas every year. I took advantage of stat holidays and took a few trips to the mountains.

So my advice is check your HR manual to see if you can bank overtime and take advantage of long weekends to make really long weekends!

Seat Sales

I try not to plan to go anywhere unless I see there’s a killer deal on airfare. That’s one of the reasons we went to Vietnam versus the more common south east Asian countries, there was a seat sale! Living in Canada makes things pretty pricey when it comes to travelling within our country. Maximize that cash you’re making and only go when there’s good airfare!

Take Shorter Trips

I would say there is a caveat here that this is dependent on where you live. Travelling within Canada is super expensive so any time you want to get a decent flight anywhere it usually means leaving the country. I would say the average flight for Canadians to go anywhere cool for a decent price is around 3-5 hours. That doesn’t exactly lend itself to taking 3 days away when you’re looking at such a time suck getting places. If you are one of the fortunate ones that live somewhere with more reasonable in travel costs and flight duration this is an excellent way to see more of the world.

Day trips are also fantastic, if you budget 3 hours of travel see how far that could get you by car, train, plane, etc and take a long weekend. If you leave after work on a Friday and leave late on Sunday you can get almost 48 hours of solid exploring time. If it’s a long weekend you can get even more time for one vacation day.

Be Organized

I am a bit of a planner when it comes to life, the universe, everything. I am aware of every stat holiday and random day off my work gives in a year so that when a sudden seat sale comes up I know how to stretch those days. Having a yearly calendar that is clearly marked with your days off on it can help you jump on those adventures when you see them.

Plan Ahead

When you are trying to maximize your time away it is worth while to have a good plan for your trip. Don’t tell my boss but I would say a good hour of my day is spent planning trips I’m not going on. I’ve budgeted out a trip to Kenya, looked at the best vegetarian restaurants in Ubud, priced airfare to Sri Lanka, just this week!

Be Spontaneous

One of the joys and some of the fun of waiting to plan a trip until there is a seat sale means you can go somewhere you may have never thought of. For Costa Rica and Vietnam I saw the post go up about the seat sale and booked within a day of seeing it.

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How much have you managed to travel while working? I can’t be the only one who sits at my desk and dreams of far off places.