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Working full time and finding the time to travel is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. At the moment, my wanderlust levels are so high, I can barely make it through 30 minutes at work without opening Instagram and seeing the amazing adventures other people are on.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I work for an amazing company and some of the people I work with have become life long friends (in fact, I’ve travelled with two of them already and we have another trip to Salzburg booked this year!).
But. And this is a big “but”. I NEED to travel. Currently I have 30 days “annual leave” per year and because I am currently studying to become a Chartered Tax Advisor, 10 of those days are used as days off to study. That leaves 20 measly days a year to try and cram as much adventure into my life as possible!
So here are my top tips for making the most of your holiday periods while working full time!
Decide what you want early on – For me 2016 should have revolved around a 16 day trip to Zimbabwe to embark on a solo volunteering adventure. Unfortunately I had to cancel this trip earlier this year due to work/study commitments. Instead of booking another long-haul trip, I decided I would take lots of mini-breaks this year. It gives me something to look forward to almost every month and makes all of those deadlines and exams seem a little bit more bearable! Now I know exactly how many annual leave days I have left and will definitely need to use them wisely!
Make the most of your weekends – So you want to go away for 4 days? Take a long weekend, you’ll only use 2 days of annual leave and still get the benefit of a 4 day mini-break! On a similar level, don’t ever waste your weekends at home – go and explore your home country!
Take advantage of holiday breaks – My company currently close every year for Christmas and New Years for around a week and half – this is the perfect time to go away! A whole week away without using a single drop of your excess annual leave – perfect! The same goes for “bank holidays” in the UK. If you are being given an extra day off work, take it in your stride and do as much as you can with it!
Be a bit cheeky and negotiate – This isn’t something I would ever imagine myself doing. I always had planned that I would become qualified and then leave my job to travel the world extensively before returning to the UK and looking for a new job/reapply to the firm I currently work for. In a recent catch-up meeting with one of the partners at my firm, I mentioned that I love to travel and he immediately said “GO TRAVELLING. Do you want 6 months off after you’ve qualified? Do it. You have job security. Make sure the other partners are aware of it now so that we can start planning ahead”. Incredible. That is more than I could have ever wished for – don’t feel afraid, ask your employer what your options are! The worst they can do is say no!
Take this time to save – Remember that every moment you are working, you are earning money that can be set aside for travelling. Set up a special bank account dedicated to travel funds, do whatever it takes to remind yourself that this is a great time in your life and you’re aiming towards something even greater. Unfortunately travel isn’t free, so any money you can save now will really help in the future!
Never waste a day of annual leave – Are you feeling a bit tired? Feel like you might need to rest? Don’t do it. Don’t take that day of annual leave unless you really have to. You know you’ll regret it later on in the year when you have one less day of travelling.
Book early flights/transport to your destination and late flights home – If you’re doing lots of long weekends like me, make sure you book early morning flights to your destination and late night flights home. Make the most of every day and don’t waste days off work by sitting around waiting for flights when you could be exploring!
Travel with work – Unfortunately this isn’t something that I can do given that I work for a single-office accountancy firm in London. However, if your firm needs someone to do something abroad and you have the correct skill set – take the opportunity! One of my friends is always flying over the globe for work. Of course she doesn’t get to see as much of the destinations as she would like – but it keeps her wanderlust ticking over until the next trip!
So let’s summarise, I get 104 weekend days a year, 20 annual leave days that can be used for travelling, 7 days off at Christmas, 8 national bank holidays – suddenly travel seems a lot more realistic with 139 days to be played with!
Are you working full time and travelling? What are your top tips?
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