From the picture perfect squares of my Instagram it might be easy to assume that my life consists of nothing but traveling, but what might surprise you is that I actually work a full time job here in Zurich, Switzerland. In the middle of 2017, I decided to ditch the freelance lifestyle, move to Switzerland, and adopt a full time job in the Tech industry. I was excited, but there was a lingering fear in the back of my head that this meant I had to give up my love for traveling. However, since moving to Europe I’ve traveled more than I have in my entire life. In fact, in the last year I’ve visited over 18 countries all while maintaining a 42 hour work week! I say this not to brag but rather to instil a sense of hope. That it’s possible to travel the world without having to be a professional travel blogger or photographer. That you can still be a responsible adult who doesn’t have to quit their job just to satisfy their wanderlust. So in case you’re wondering how to travel with a full time job, I’ve shared 7 of my tried-and-true tips that will allow you to make this possible.
1. Take Advantage of National Holidays
One of my favorite ways to minimize the amount of vacation days I take while traveling is to take advantage of national holidays. If a holiday falls on the middle of the week, I often turn this into a 9-day vacation while only having to use up 4 of my vacation days! On Friday after work I’ll head straight to the airport and return Sunday night on the following weekend or early-Monday morning to get the most out of my holiday week. It’s a great way to see the most in a new city without having to squeeze everything into one weekend.
2. Work Remotely
My current and past employers have thankfully all been incredibly supportive of the “remote work” concept. With communication tools like Slack, and Google Hangouts, I can easily work anywhere in the world while still being connected with my team. While I understand working while traveling might not be for everyone, I don’t mind it at all. Working remotely is a great way to spend some time out of the office and in new surroundings, which I actually find conducive to feeling more inspired at work. Often times I’ll choose to allocate a few hours each day to working (usually in the middle of the day if the light is too harsh for shooting), which adds up to one or two days of full work that I don’t have to count as time off. If you are unsure about your company’s remote work policy, make sure to ask your boss or talk to him/her about implementing one if it does not exist already. You’d be surprised how many companies are beginning to be open to the idea of remote work. In fact some are even calling it the future of work!
3. Travel close to home
You don’t have to go far from home to travel! Often times we get so caught up in the idea that we have to fly to another country or travel states away to feel like we are actually “traveling.” However, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover in our own cities and just a few hours from them. There is nothing better than taking a roadtrip with friends, which is not only a more fun way to travel but also cheaper since you can split the costs of things like gas and Air Bnb‘s. When I used to live in Los Angeles, we would always gather a group of friends, pile up into a car, and roadtrip to places like Yosemite, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, or Big Sur for the weekend. And now that I live in Switzerland, it’s easier than ever to make short weekend trips by traveling just a few hours by train.
4. Make Long Weekends Your Best Friend
When you work full time, taking advantage of your weekends and extending them by a day or two is one of the best ways to travel more. This gives you at least three or four days for vacation, which is more than enough time for a trip – even if you want to travel internationally. This year I’ve been able to travel to places like Rome, The Dolomites, Austria, Morocco, Cinque Terre, Turkey, Copenhagen and several Greek Islands all while taking only one or two days off from work by extending my weekends. I often enjoy these trips the most because they require the least amount of planning and travel time.
5. Extend a Work Trip
If you’re going to a conference or business meeting in another city, make sure to extend your trip by a day or two before or after the event takes place. You most likely won’t have time to sight-see during the day, so it’s always nice to have a few extra days to explore on your own time. Not only is it cheaper because your flight is already covered, but it also gives you more time to spend in a city since you’re already there. I did this earlier this year when my company had a work meeting in Copenhagen for a few days, so I chose to stay an extra day afterwards to explore the city.
6. Take Shorter Trips, But More Frequently
Although I travel quite often, I usually only take one or two long vacations a year. By “long vacation”, I mean a trip greater than one week in length. I find that I’m more happy when I spread out my vacation days by taking shorter trips rather than spending them all on one or two holidays. This gives me a bit more flexibility for the rest of the year to take an extra vacation in case I NEED a break from work.
7. Negotiate Your Paid Time Off
Before signing your contract at a new job or undergoing your annual salary review, make sure to stress that time off is a priority and negotiate for more paid time off. If you’re up for a promotion, think about how you prioritize your benefits and consider taking less pay in exchange for more paid time off. If you value travel, it might be worth giving up a 3-4% salary increase for three extra paid vacation days instead.
Do you have any tips on how to travel and work full time? If you do, Please leave your answers in the comments below to share them with everyone else.