It is no secret that I love to travel. In fact, my boss asks me almost every Friday where am I off to for that particular weekend or he just assumes that I am taking the day off.

So, how do I do it? How to I balance traveling with a full-time job? Well I’m going to share a few of my tips.

Make Travel a Priority

Trust me. I know it can be hard to find the time and money to travel, but if you really are passionate about traveling then you need to make it a priority. When travel becomes a priority, it makes it easier to focus on what you need to do to reach your travel goals. This can mean working overtime to earn extra vacation days or cutting unnecessary expenses to build your travel fund. If travel is your priority then all the work is worth it!

Take Your Vacation Days

According to The Wall Street Journal, Americans left 658 million vacation days unused in 2015. That’s crazy to me! You work hard at your job and you deserve some paid time off. Plus, plain and simple, you can’t travel if you don’t take the time off. Plan out ahead of time when you want to use your vacation days so you can maximize your time off.

Plan Trips around 3-Day Weekends and Holidays

Planning is a big part of travel. So, look at the calendar at the beginning of the year and plan your travel around the 3-day weekends and holidays your employer provides. If you know you want to go somewhere where 3 days won’t cut it, then try adding your vacation days to the paid time off so you can maximize your vacation days. For instance, when I traveled to the Carribean at Christmas, I was off work for 7 days but I only used 3 vacation days due to the Christmas and New Year schedule. This allowed me to use my other 7 vacation days for other trips throughout the year (like my trip to Austin).

Take Advantage of Business Trips

I don’t get to travel frequently with work, but when I do I always try to tack on a day or two to take advantage of exploring a new place. This tactic will take some negotiation with your employer and some research on prices, but it usually works out. For me, my employer will pay for my flight and I’ll usually pay for the hotel stay on the extra nights of my visit. This has allowed me to spend a 3-day weekend in New York City prior to a work trip or 24-hours in Chicago.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Alone

This is something I am working on myself, but I am learning the advantage of traveling alone. Bottom line, it allows you to go when you want and where you want, and once you arrive you don’t have to worry about what your travel companion wants to do. My first solo trip was to New Mexico with National Geographic. Even though I was with a group, I didn’t know anyone prior to arriving but made some great friends in the process. I’m hoping to plan a couple of solo trips this year as well.

Take a Staycation (Explore Local)

If traveling is new to you, start local. Travel four to six hours away from home, book a hotel room for a long weekend and explore some place closer to home. If you can take the trip on a regular weekend, you just saved yourself a vacation day and saw a new place. If you don’t have the money or time to travel outside your city, treat yourself to a staycation and play tourist in your own city. Exploring home can be fun and give you a new perspective on your city, state and/or region. If you live in the south, check out some of these destinations.

Sign Up to Travel Newsletters & Sale Alerts

I’m a huge fan of travel and sale alerts as they can save you a lot of money on your travels. Sometimes these deals require you to be flexible with your travel dates, so I, personally, find those easier to book with long weekends. Some of my favorite sites are Groupon, Jetsetter, Roadtrippers and Hotels.com. For more spontaneous trips, check out the Hotel Tonight app (use promo code CNORTON70 to receive $25 off your first booking).

Just Go

I have now given you plenty of ways to travel with your full-time job, so it’s time to stop making excuses and take action! If you want to travel, you’ll find a way. Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions! I love helping people explore the world.

What unique ways have you found to combine travel with a busy schedule?

  • Christina Strickland

    Most Americans are probably in that situation of losing vacation days because they don’t make enough to save for the vacation expenses. Reasons why residual income building and entrepreneurship are so important 😉 I’m very sick of not taking vacations like I used to. Great tips for people on planning that out…not planned, won’t be saved for, definitely won’t happen!

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  • Allie @ Peachfully Chic

    Awesome tips! I’m in the same boat… travel as much as possible & just figure it out! xo

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  • Thanks, Allie! Winging it is a good approach too! Haha. Where are you off to next?

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  • Hey Christina! I wish you the best of luck with your planning! I find the “stay-cation” approach helps when my budget is tight. I always look on my city’s or state’s tourism sites to see what is going on in regards to festivals or new restaurants and then go check them out. It helps to keep my wanderlust at bay.

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  • Traveling with a full time job can be tricky but definitely doable!!! Love this post!

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  • Totally agree! Thanks for stopping by, Sara! Where are you off to next? Your recent trip to NOLA looked amazing. I’m hoping to get down there this year sometime.

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  • Boston is next on my list! I’ll be stopping by some of your recommendations for sure! It’s been yearssss since I’ve been there so I’m super excited to explore the city a little more on my own!

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  • I couldn’t agree more! I feel like I have so many friends who are always asking me, “How do you have so much time off work??” “How do you travel so much??” But I don’t use hardly any vacation days for trips because I do exactly like you said – plan, plan, plan! Planning 3 day trips is so easy. And you’d be surprised how much you can see in a new place in 3 days. And weekend trips work just fine for places around where you live. One thing I should do is take advantage of Groupon deals more often. I always forget how awesome Groupon can be!

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  • I absolutely love Groupon for local activities. It is definitely worth check out.

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