How To Travel The World With A Full Time Job - Allie M. TaylorFrom 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

How to Travel The World With A Full Time Job - Allie M. TaylorMy 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

How To Travel The World With A Full Time Job - Allie M. TaylorWhen 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

How To Travel The World With A Full Time Job - Allie M.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.

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7 travel hacks for packing a carry onAs much as I love traveling, I’ve always loathed the packing process and making decisions on what to take with me and what to leave behind. I think we can all relate to a time when we overpacked or had to pay extra baggage fees, and then ended up not even wearing half of the things we brought with us.

For a long time when I traveled, I was mostly the girl who carried a giant “check-in” only suitcase with her. But then when I came to Europe and traveled solo for awhile I realized it was nearly impossible to continue traveling like this. Lugging a 25kg suitcase up and down stairs and into trains by myself was becoming a hassle, and my back was beginning to feel the pain from pushing my entire life around on wheels. I knew it was time to make some drastic changes, which is why I chose to say goodbye to my big, bulky suitcase and go carry-on only.

In the beginning, traveling with just a carry-on was a huge challenge, but helped me set reasonable limits on what I packed. I had to replace my usual last minute packing rush with a more thought-out strategy limited by my luggage size. I had to start really thinking about the items I was putting into my drastically smaller suitcase, which ended up making me feel much more content with what I brought.

Keep scrolling to read my tried and true tips on how to travel with just a carry on, while still looking stylish and having everything you need. 

Carry on packing tip #1: Make a pre-packing listThe first thing you should do before you start throwing clothes into your suitcase is to make a pre-packing list. Take some time to think about, or even better, write down what activities you’re going to be doing on your trip and what the weather will be like. Then think about what you plan to wear for each activity and whether it is weather appropriate. If you’re going out for a nice dinner in the evening or if it looks like it’s going to rain – then make sure you bring what you need to be prepared but nothing more than the essentials. If something doesn’t apply to the activities you’re doing, then don’t bring it with you!Carry on packing tip #2: Plan and layout your outfitsAt least a week before you leave, try to plan and lay out specific outfits so you can get an overview of everything you have. This will not only reduce what you bring with you on your trip, but will also make getting dressed a breeze since you’ll know exactly what you’re going to wear for each activity. If you’re going to be on a long trip then make sure you bring tops and bottoms that you can interchange with each other to create new outfits. This hack has been an absolute lifesaver for me!Carry on packing tip #3: Roll your clothes instead of foldingIn the roll vs. fold debate, there is one clear winner. Rolling your clothes not only saves you a ton of space, it also leaves your clothes with less wrinkles compared to folding. And if you have delicate items you’re bringing with you like jewellery, then wrap them in clothes to keep them safe and untangled.Carry on packing tip #4: Bring travel sized toiletriesDitch your normal-sized toiletries for TSA approved plastic bottles which are cheap, refillable, and meet-hand luggage requirements. Fill these bottles with liquids that you already have at home like shampoo and moisturizer to reduce the amount of weight and space you take up. You can usually find these bottles at your local drug-store or on Amazon. I recommend condensing these bottles down into one ziploc bag in case one of the bottles leaks or opens during transit. I usually use the plastic zip bags provided at airport security since Europe has a strict 1 litre liquid limit and it makes it easier to get through security.

Carry on packing tip #5: Stuff shoes with socks and extra items

If you’re running low on space, shoes are a great place to stuff things like socks, bandanas, t-shirts and cords. This is one of my favorite tricks to make sure there is no wasted space.

Carry on packing tip #6: Limit the shoes you bringLike most people, shoes are my packing downfall and take up so much space! It’s important to really think about what you’ll be doing on the trip and to limit yourself to no more than 3-4 pairs. I suggest bringing one pair of tennis shoes for walking in, a pair of flats or sandals, a pair of heels to go out to dinner in, and also lightweight hiking shoes if you’re doing a lot of serious hiking. And for an extra tip, I store my shoes in a laundry/plastic bag so that the rest of my clothes stay clean.

Carry on packing tip #7: Stick to the basicsThe key to having many outfits to wear when you’re limited on space is to pack basic colors that you know you’ll look good in. While tempting, stay away from bold patterns or experimenting with wild colors that you don’t usually wear. I like packing colors like white, black, ivory and grey since they generally go well with each other and lend themselves to many outfits.

Have any other “carry-on only” packing tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments!