Finding Time to Travel with a Full Time Job
How to Travel With a Full Time Job | Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd
Julie and I love to travel which should come as no surprise, after all, it’s why we started this travel blog! We love sharing our experiences, and hope that we can encourage more people to get out there and explore the world!
One of the most common issues we’ve come across when planning our trips, is how to schedule around our work commitments. We both have full-time jobs which are our primary focus (bills have to get paid!), so we often need to get creative when planning our vacations. Life is all about finding balance, right?
In particular, Julie’s teaching schedule is such that we have two open periods for trips longer than one week: summer, the peak and busiest of travel seasons, and winter, where depending on the destination, there’s a chance you may encounter some rough weather.
The key for us, is making the most of every available opportunity to travel, no matter the size of the trip. Here’s how we do that.
How to Travel With a Full Time Job: Day Trips
These are the easiest to plan since they can be worked out only days in advance, or even the morning of. While not necessarily as exciting as a multi-week vacation, a day trip can help satisfy the travel itch until you have time to plan for something larger.
As residents of Northern California, day trips are plentiful and I consider anything within roughly a 1-3 hour drive to be a viable day trip. Realistically, this could be pushed even further if you really want to extend yourself, but shorter distances are ideal for day trips. They’re also easy to plan and typically won’t break the bank. Some of our favorite recent day trips include Big Sur, San Francisco, and Yosemite (we may have pushed it a little bit with that one).
How to Travel With a Full Time Job: Weekend Getaways
Weekend getaways are great because in essence, they feel like mini vacations. These are the trips that keep us relatively sane and at ease while we wait impatiently for the big vacations. You can realistically go just about anywhere for a short weekend trip.
For us, a weekend trip means we work our normal Friday (maybe leaving a little early depending on the destination), and return home on Sunday. On a short weekend such as this, we tend to focus on California destinations that we can drive to or take a short flight to reach: Mammoth Lakes, the Shasta-Cascade Region, the Redwoods, or visiting family in Orange County.
How to Travel With a Full Time Job: Extended Weekends
An extended weekend usually includes a holiday of some sort and giving you that extra day, or two, needed for a longer getaway. Ideally, these are anywhere from three to five day excursions, depending on how much time off work you can sneak in.
With a long weekend, you can pretty much go anywhere both in and out of state, your heart desires. This is the perfect time to take a short flight to a destination where you won’t lose an entire day to travel.
For us, this means mostly staying on the West Coast. Limited or no time changes and easy to get to early enough to include a full day’s worth of activities upon arrival. Though these trips may cost a bit more, they are also some of the most fun! Great options include: Seattle, Portland, or Las Vegas.
How to Travel With a Full Time Job: Longer Trips
The crème de la crème, and our favorite trips to take. The BIG, week or two week (or more) trips that really let you release your worries and escape to a new part of the world. We do everything we can to take two of these every year. They require a good deal of advance planning and savings, but the payoff is oh so worth everything that goes into making these trips a reality.
Since we first started dating in 2012, Julie and I have had some great adventures. A few of our favorite vacations to date: London, Scotland, Ireland, the Canadian Rockies, Christmas Markets in France, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and Maui. I’m sure we’ll be adding more to this very soon.
How to Travel With a Full Time Job: Be a Tourist in Your Own City
Being a tourist in your own city is another way we scratch our travel itch. Visiting a local museum, trying a new restaurant, and doing other things that may be considered “touristy” can help you feel like you are traveling since you are experiencing new things.
If you are a parent, consider getting an overnight-sitter and staying in a hotel for the night. If you have roommates, or still live at home, this can be a great escape as well. Before Julie and I lived together, we took several stay-cations, which were a nice little break from our routines.
How to Travel With a Full Time Job: Take Advantage of Work Travel
This only applies to those of you who have to travel for work, but if you do, take advantage of every opportunity! For several of my business trips this year, I have extended my stay over the weekend, or by a day or two in order to explore the city I am visiting. I have even brought Julie along with me for a portion of a few of my trips – Chicago and Portland.
How do we afford it?
Julie and I both have modest incomes, but we make travel a priority. We value experience over “things” and save money for our trips instead of buying the latest and greatest electronics and clothes.
We also dabble in travel hacking by take advantage of credit card points and redeem them as airline miles. When we take longer trips, we use these miles instead of paying for our flights, which can be expensive. Speaking of flights, which are often the most expensive part of traveling, we take advantage of airline loyalty programs. The Southwest Companion Pass has allowed us to take a ton of trips in the past year because we essentially get two tickets for the price of one.
Travel Hacking may seem daunting at first, but in reality it is very easy to participate in this money-saving venture. Here are a few articles to help get you started:
Lastly, we are flexible with when and where we travel. We plan our trips around when cheaper hotel rates and flights are available in order to save money. For example, visiting the U.S. Southwest in winter is usually much cheaper and less crowded than the rest of the year. We also went to Europe in winter, which saved us a ton of money on hotels.
Do you have any tips for making travel work with a full-time job? Let us know in the comments below.
. . .
SAVE THIS POST FOR LATER