I’ve had a few emails recently from fellow bloggers asking how they can ‘be a fulltime blogger and travel the world’ and I feel like a fraud telling them that I actually have a fulltime job. Yep, I work 9-5 just like everybody else and have minimal holidays to travel. I don’t have the option to buy back holidays or take unpaid leave. But within the last 12 months I’ve managed to travel to Girona, Morocco, Canada, South Africa, India, Gambia, Cornwall and Belgium. Not bad for a girl that is in the office for most of the year.
So how do I manage to travel so much?
I work as the social media specialist for Flight Centre UK but most of the trips I take aren’t work related. My trip to Canada was for work and my trip to Morocco was a familiarisation trip but I still had to take that as a holiday. The rest of my trips have been blog trips for The Travel Hack or ones I organised independently that I have to use my precious holidays for.
So here’s how I make my holidays go that bit further
Always travel over weekends or bank holidays
This is an obvious one, I know, but planning to travel over long-weeks can save you so many holidays. I travelled to India over Easter so saved two holidays. It might not sound like a lot but that’s an extra long weekend I can save for later in the year. The only problem with travelling over holidays is that everyone wants to do it so you have to be organized to be guaranteed the time off work and so it doesn’t cost you a fortune. Which takes me to my next point.
Stay local and stick to shorter flights
Hands up if you’ve travelled to the other side of the world and explored some far-flung places that your friends have never even heard of but you’ve barely explored what’s in your own backyard. Until recently I’ve been guilty of this but having minimal holidays has forced me to explore areas that are nearer to home and allow me to be back in work at 9am on a Monday morning.
One of my favourite things about living in London is that I can be at one of three airports in around an hour which means I don’t need to book an afternoon off work. This means it’s super easy to take quick trips and take advantage of spontaneous last minute deals.
The Eurostar is also my new BFF and I’ve been to Belgium twice in the past 12 months and plan to go to Berlin and Paris soon too. I love the fact that I can hop on a train after work and be in a new country by dinner time. And if you were super keen, you could even take the first train back to London on Monday morning and be back in work for 9am.*
*I’m not being paid to love the Eurostar this much, I genuinely just think it’s the best thing since the invention of GHDs.
Extend work trips
I’m lucky enough to work for a global company and my boss is based in Canada and my team are spread all over the world. What does this mean? It means we all have to get together at least once a year and it might as well be somewhere fabulous. Last year we met up at Sun Peaks, a ski resort near Whistler in Canada, and extended the trip for team building in the snow. Not a bad business meeting, right?
Try to find a way that travelling can benefit your work*
I spend all day writing about travel on the Flight Centre blog, thinking about travel, tweeting about travel and encouraging people to travel. And if I don’t travel I have no motivation or inspiration to come up with anything new or innovative so I’ve made a deal at work that while I’m on holiday, I’ll spend one day on work projects. I’ll spend one day taking photos for the blog, interviewing people and writing up articles so we can use them in work. This is valuable for work and also eats into my holiday so I get a holiday back for all my hard work. It’s a win win situation. If I go away for 2 weeks then I get 2 days back and, once again, this is another long weekend later in the year.
*I know this option isn’t for most people but I’ve said before that I struggle to switch off and I’m constantly writing, photographing and blogging so I might as well do it for work. One day I will learn to switch off, honest…
Learn to sleep on planes
And if you can’t, take some sleeping tablets! I”m really lucky that I can usually get a good nights sleep on a plane, meaning I can take a red eye flight and be fine going straight to work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be exhausted and fueled by nothing but coffee by the end of the day but I’d rather be tired than waste a precious holiday on sleeping.
Don’t let your travels interfere with your work
I think the most important thing when you’re squeezing your travels between your 9-5 job is not to let your constant travelling affect your work. Sometimes my travels will benefit my job but I’m sure my boss would rather I was bright and perky every Monday morning and be ready to get stuck into my job rather than falling asleep at my desk after another epic weekend away. It’s important to find the right balance and make sure travelling never interferes with work.
So for anyone else out there who manages to travel with a full-time job, how do you manage to squeeze in your trips between the 9-5?