11 ways To Travel More When You Work Full Time

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase though my links, at no additional cost to you, which I’ll probably spend on more outdoor gear and travel to cool places.

It can feel like one of those catch 22 situations; you sit at your desk planning your next adventure, dreaming about leaving and travelling the world, but you know that you need to go to work in order to be able to pay for your next adventure.  While I’m self-employed and have a degree of flexibility in my work schedule, Menno is employed and works full-time as an architect. But I’m here to tell you that YOU CAN do both, work and travel. There are plenty of ways to travel more when you work full time 

But it is possible to travel more when you work full time. We’ve found a number of ways to get more travel and adventures into our lives and I want to share our top hacks with you:

Be a tourist in your local area

Ok, so this may sound like a cop-out, but bare with me. Have you actually visited the “tourist sites” in your area? I recently went on my local tourist office website and was really quite surprised at how many really cool places there were to visit that I didn’t know about in our local area. You get the bonus of seeing new places without the added costs of flights and hotels.

Man with red backpack hiking in the Alps
One of our weekend adventures on an overnight hut hike

Make the most of bank holiday weekends

Instead of a heavy night drinking and a 2-day hangover, or using your weekend to plough through domestic chores, use those bank holiday long weekends to book a mini-break somewhere. Anywhere. Just get out there and do something. Go and see somewhere new and make the most of that extra day off!

Negotiate Flexible Hours

Another way to travel more when you work full time is to try and negotiate flexible or reduced working hours. Menno negotiated to work a 36-hour week instead of 40, and over 4 days instead of 5, giving him Fridays off. While he does work long days, from and often ends up working close to 40 hours many weeks anyway (and clocking up overtime), he’s hardly ever had to go into work on a day off. That means every weekend becomes a 3-day weekend, which gives us much more time to plan in micro-adventures.

Travel while Remote Working

One thing 2020 taught us was that it is possible to work from home and be productive. Many employees switched to home-office during the pandemic, and many companies allowed their employees to more flexibility with working hours. As long as work was completed, and hours were met, many companies allowed employees to adjust their work schedules. Studies have shown that remote workers, in many cases, are more productive, so why not ask if you can try working remotely for a few extra days a month? Once your boss see’s that you are able to work remotely and still get the job done, ask if they are ok with you doing it from a location that isn’t your home…

Menno and I watching the sunset in Croatia after taking a week to road trip
Watching the sunset after a week of road tripping around Italy, Slovenia and Croatia

Travel to less-popular Locations

If you are happy to go wherever you can find a good deal, you’ll find lots of great places to explore that you might have never considered otherwise. One year for my birthday we went to Rotterdam for a long weekend. Why Rotterdam? We found super cheap flights on Skyscanner and we could fly out on Friday and home on Sunday. It might not be a tourist hub, but it was still an adventure, wandering around a new city and taking in the sights.

Rotterdam river Maas, Erasmus bridge and Nhow hotel

Save up your Annual leave

Depending on where you live in the world, you may have anything from 20-40 days of annual leave each year. If you can resist going on smaller holidays during the year and if your employer allows, why not save up your holiday days and take one long holiday. Taking off longer means you can consider a long haul trip and you’ll be able to experience so much more.

In 2015 we saved up our annual leave and took a 20-day trip around Madagascar as our belated honeymoon.

Weekend Warriors

Make the most of your weekends. Resist the urge to veg out on the sofa. Get your weekly to-do list items checked off during the week and when Friday rolls around you’re ready to head off on your next mini-adventure. Jump in the car and drive to somewhere. Road trips are a great way to see places without having to leave your own country. Just remember to give yourself the odd weekend off to just relax and chill.

Couple standing on a mountain top looking out at the mountains
An overnight in a mountain hut in the Tyrol

Become A Savvy Shopper (and Saver)

If you really want to work less and travel to more places, it’s time to get smarter with your finances. Unsubscribe from all of those online retailer newsletters, consider cancelling those subscriptions you barely use and sign up for airlines and holiday companies. Resisting the urge to impulse buy online and saving your money means that when a great last minute break deal comes up or an airline puts flights on sale, you’ll be able to grab that great deal. Make sure you sign up for travel loyalty schemes too. You can sometimes earn enough points on a long haul flight to buy you a free (or stupidly cheap) domestic or short haul flight at a later date.

I love my N26 online account as I can get cashback on all my purchases with my bank card and don’t pay any international fees using my card overseas.

Travel With Friends or Family

When you don’t live close to your family and best friends, many of your holiday days can be spent visiting them. Why not try to organise a holiday together instead? You get to catch up with everyone and you get a real holiday too. It’s a win-win!

Me and my mum laughing about something while traveling together in winter in the Alps
Laughing with my mum about goodness knows what

Plan Your Holidays Strategically

Make your holiday days go further by planning your trips over national holidays. You’ll end up using less of your annual leave from work, meaning you have a few extra days for a long weekend later in the year.

extend your Work Trips

If you are in a job where you get to travel, ask if you can take a couple of extra days off before or after your work engagement. The cost of the travel tickets should be the same for the company, so all you’ll need to cover is your accommodation and expenses on those extra days that you are there.

I like to do this if I’m shooting a destination wedding. I’ll add on a few days to my trip and where possible bring Menno along for the adventure too. We’ve been to some fun places, including some spots we probably won’t have travelled to otherwise, like Ibiza.

We have a number of friends that often tell us that they wished that they could travel as much as we do. But the thing is, we don’t work any less hours than most of them, or have more money. We have simply designed our lives in a way that allows us to prioritise something that is important to us – having more time off to travel and adventure.

Go and see the world. You too can work less and travel more!

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