How to travel with a full time job

Most of us have limited holiday time but it’s still possible to see the world while working a full-time job. Here are some tips to how you can make the most of your time off and travel more.

Making the most of your annual leave. Girl looking into distance

While many of us dream of chucking it all in and travelling the world for most of us it’s a dream that won’t come true. Real life all too often gets in the way. That said, it is still possible to see the world as a part-time traveller. You just need to be a bit savvy with how you use your annual leave. So whether you have 20 days leave a year or 30 here are some tricks I’ve learnt over the years to squeeze every last minute out of a day off.

Tips to make the most of your holidays and travel more

Use Bank Holidays 

An obvious one but Bank Holidays are essentially free days so if possible tie in your travels around a long weekend. That way you’ll get an extra day in your destination. However, keep an eye on the cost as it can be more expensive to travel. 

Depending on how the bank holidays fall you could get a good amount of time off for little leave. Particular bank holidays to look out for are Christmas & New Year and Easter & May Bank holiday where you could get a week or two off without using much of your holidays.

Take a long weekend

Booking a Friday or a Monday off work makes a lot of places much more accessible. Even just booking an Friday afternoon or Monday morning off can make a huge difference. Flying out on Friday night means you’ll be able to hit the ground running on Saturday morning. Depending on how far you are travelling you may even get a bonus Friday night in your destination. Taking Monday off means you can get the full weekend away. Plus you’ll avoid the Sunday night/Monday morning blues. A win win!

Get a head start on your trip by flying out after work

Instead of going home the day before your trip to finish packing and get an early night why not head straight to the airport? This is a great way to get a head start on your trip. If you are flying short haul you’ll be there for bedtime ready to hit the ground running the next morning. Time you would have spent travelling.

If you are flying long haul you can get on the plane, go to bed and pretty much wake up in your destination. I’ve done this a few times when I’ve been to Australia. I went straight to the airport on a Friday after work and landed in Sydney on Sunday morning. It makes for a long first day but is a great way to get as much time in Australia as possible.

Take a red eye flight home

To really squeeze every minute out of your travels get a early morning or overnight flight back and go straight to work.

I’ve done this a few times from Australia and the USA. The flights land back in London early in the morning so depending on where you live/work you could get home or into work, freshen up and be ready to start work at 9.00 am.

That said you do need an understanding boss in case of any delays. I had to once ring my boss and let her know I was still in Sydney instead of on my way to work from Heathrow. I eventually got home 16 hours late and turned up at work the next day!

Carry leave over to the following year – handy if you have a big trip planned

Some companies allow you to carry over unused leave to the next holiday year. Usually it’s around five days. If you are an avid traveller it’s unlikely you’ll have any leave left over each year. But if you have a big trip planned one year & don’t mind taking fewer days off the previous year this works pretty well. You take a hit one year but gain the next. So if Australia or New Zealand is on your travel wish list this is a good way of getting three or four weeks out there.

Buy extra holiday days

A benefit of working for some companies is the option to buy extra holiday days. This is usually up to five extra days. So it’s worth checking if this an option where you work. However, make sure you do all the calculations first as it can be quite costly. There could be less expensive ways to get a few more holiday days. 

Extend work trips

Are you lucky (or unlucky) enough travel for work? If so, why not add a day or two onto your trip to explore? Or instead of coming home at the end of the work week, stay for the weekend.

Use time in lieu

Some companies allow you to take any extra time worked as lieu. This can be handy as you can use this to unofficially supplement your holiday. Or if you have an evening flight you can use this time to leave the office a little early and travel to the airport.

Take unpaid leave

For special occasions or a one off long haul trip some companies will let you to take unpaid leave. So if you are planning that dream trip to Australia why not see if you can take an extra week or two unpaid and really make the most out of the long trek down under.

So there are my top tips for stretching your annual work holidays. If you have any other tips and tricks on how to make the most of you leave I’d love to hear them. Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

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