These days it seems that everybody either wants to travel or is a traveler.
If I’m to be honest, I call myself a traveler too, but I guess I’m not one in the true sense of the word. I do travel, but I don’t travel for a living. I don’t travel for 300 days a year. And I don’t live in exotic, foreign lands, living it up with the locals. But I do have some wonderful and memorable holidays every year and I get to have some fantastic travel experiences around the world. I’ve come across many people who always ask me how I manage to travel whilst still managing a full-time corporate job.
Trust me… it isn’t hard to do, it just takes careful planning and being resourceful. So here’s how I manage to travel the world despite holding down a full time and rather demanding, non travel related, career.
1) I manage to travel by picking my dates carefully
Since I have a full time corporate job (one that I do love), I need to find the right work-life balance. I wouldn’t want to travel during a period when I’m most needed at the office as my mind would be pre-occupied and I also wouldn’t want to exhaust my annual leave in the first 3 months of the year!
So it all boils down to planning. Using the public holiday calendar as a guide and creating small trips out of long weekends and long trips when there are no holidays, has been a strategy that has worked wonders for me.
Planning well in advance is the key here so that your work can be aligned accordingly and it would also be much easier to get that approval from corporate. A few impromptu trips here and there may not hurt, but planned ones are better for sustainability.
2) I balance domestic & international trips
It is quite difficult to afford many international trips if you have just started working or if you have a lot of other financial commitments. But you don’t need to skip international travel altogether. There are so many affordable places you can travel to. Usually, places close to your home country do tend to be cheaper as they are easier to get to and you don’t end up spending a bomb on the flight ticket.
While traveling from India, countries like Thailand, Singapore, Dubai, Maldives, Sri Lanka etc. make for amazing trips and are also easy on the pocket as opposed to European or American destinations where you pay 2x to 3x more just for the flight.
However, do not underestimate the wonders of domestic travel. Exploring new places, no matter how small or how close they are, opens up new experiences, new values and self-realization. I found my passion for travel while traveling domestically every year during my summer holidays. Years later, I’m still as excited to venture to new places each year within my own country.
I find that a combination of 2-3 international with 4-5 domestic trips works best for me.
3) I add to my ‘travel fund’ monthly
Probably the hardest thing to do, but it has to be done! I’m no financial advisor, but the easiest way this can be achieved is by setting aside money every week/month specifically for your trips. It’s easier to save or plan your finances when you split the expenses into 2 parts – pre travel and post travel.
In Pre-Travel – you will need a lump sum for taking care of the flights, visa, any tour agency or hotel advances and currency exchange that may be required.
In Post-Travel – you can cover your expenses using your credit card and then worst case convert it into an easy monthly installment in case you can’t cough up the entire amount. Post Travel expenses include hotel charges, shopping and other unforeseeable costs.
But you do need to calculate a rough estimate of all your expenses for each trip to be able to manage or plan for them.
You might also like: The Solo Female Travelers Guide To Staying In Hostels
4) I know that getting the best deals is a big deal
The internet is so full of deals that if you just spend a little time on it – you will get amazing discounts on your flights, hotels, experiences – everything! There are many apps that also help you track flight prices (like Wego or Skyscanner.) Something as easy as shifting your travel by one day, may save you some $$$!
Did you know that the more you keep searching for a flight, the more the price increases? Make sure you use the incognito/private mode of your browser and clear all your cookies and cache periodically to get the best rates.
5) I plan my itinerary around what interests ME
By just visiting a country, are you really making the most of it? No! You need to truly experience it. Many tour operators offer great itineraries at really discounted prices. Buy choosing the right itinerary is quite crucial in the entire process of travel – as this is what will determine the worth of all your hard work! No matter how much money you spend, or how much time you take in planning your holiday, if you don’t like the places you visit or if you don’t do the things you want to do – you will not like the trip and it may even discourage you from traveling further!
Time is precious, especially when you’re juggling world travel with a full-time job. For this reason I prefer to create my own itineraries. It’s a process I actually enjoy – but it’s not for everybody. If you don’t have the time to create your own itinerary, at least spend a little time exploring different itineraries online and looking at the ‘experiences’ they offer in each place rather than just the number of places you get to visit.
Getyourguide is a great worldwide tour booking service that will give you lots of ideas about what experiences are available to book in the place your visiting. You can also check the reviews and tour feedback from other travelers (instead of just relying on your hotel concierge’s recommendations – who will be getting a commission).
Now that you know this is all it takes, stop envying others and start traveling for yourself without compromising your career! I hope my sharing how I manage to travel will inspire you to do the same. Remember, those who get to travel as part of their work, are taking their work (and its pressures) with them on their travels – so it may not always be fun and games. But if you plan your trips smartly, you can get the best of both worlds!
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