Ways to Travel with a 9 to 5 Job

One of the draws of becoming a travel blogger or a digital nomad is the exciting prospect of traveling the world and getting paid to do it. Who wouldn’t want to live a life filled with new experiences every time you step off a plane?

The reality of it is that it’s not easy to just drop everything you have and become a travel blogger. Obviously, there are exceptions to that rule, and some bloggers have made it their career to travel and write about their experiences. But for the majority of us, travel just isn’t going to cut it as a full-time occupation.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop traveling though.

Working a full-time position usually provides you some benefits, like annual paid leave. Even if you only get 10 days or so a year, you can easily stretch that into a myriad of trips and adventures to fill the year.

Last year, I was able to go on 10 trips (only two of those were for work). I finally went to Japan (more than once, I might add), flew back to the States, went to Canada, explored the Philippines, and delved into China.

All it takes is some time, preparation, and planning.

So here are some useful tips to remember if you want to travel yet still keep your 9–5 job locked down.

Always travel over weekends or bank holidays

While this might be an obvious one for most people, you need to realize that a lot of people who doesn’t take advantage of the weekends or public bank holidays. A lot of public holidays takes place together with a weekend. These are the perfect opportunities for you to capitalize on an extended weekend, or a longer trip without using as much annual paid leave. As an example, I’m taking a 9-day holiday this Easter to Boracay, Philippines, and Taipei, Taiwan, but I’m only using 4 days of paid annual leave.

The only issue with following this game plan is that other people will try to plan their trips around holidays as well. Organization and communication with your colleagues are key to make sure you are all able to get the days you want without compromising your work.

Choose your homebase wisely

I understand that some people don’t have this luxury, but if you were planning on changing jobs or relocating, this could be a big one that you need to be aware of if you want a lifestyle that’s filled with travel without worrying about a stable income.

Choosing a great location to live in can open up a ton of different possibilities for you to go travel, especially if you’re being held down by a stable 9–5 job. For example, I live in Hong Kong, so a lot of different weekend trip opportunities are open for me. I can choose to fly to the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc. It’s as simple as finding a good deal for airfare and your set for an adventure!

Learn to get comfortable on planes at weird hours

Maximize your time on a trip by taking red-eye flights (flights that depart late at night and arrive early the next morning) or by taking flights that give you as much time at your holiday destination as possible.

For short flights that only takes an hour or so, I usually choose the earliest flight I can book (which is usually 6 or 7 in the morning) and spend the entire day walking around until I can check-in at my hotel or AirBNB. Then when I leave eventually, I choose the latest flight I can manage so I still have most of the last day there to walk around.

It might not sound appealing, but I’d rather have as much time as possible at my actual destination than waiting at home for a flight. This tip is one that a lot of people overlook because of how hesitant they are to get up early or to arrive late at night. When you travel with a 9–5 job, you’re going to have to sacrifice some things to enjoy your trip. This is one of the easier ones to deal with!

Trade overtime for travel time

Depending on your job, some places allow you to use your overtime hours as holiday leave. This tip is highly reliant on the type of job and benefits you get but is one that you should try to utilize.

When I was still working at my previous job, I would work overtime a lot, but I wouldn’t get compensated with pay, so instead, I asked for compensation in the form of holiday leave. With a base package of 14 holiday leaves every year, I compiled up to 30 days within a short time, and was able to use these to fuel my trips to further reaches of the globe!

Add onto your work trip

If your job requires you to travel, this is one of the easiest ways to earn some travel mileage. If you have a meeting, an expo to visit, or some other travel-related business venture to tend to, try to extend this work trip so that you can get a few days to visit the local scene (don’t forget to pack your camera or GoPro).

It’s easy to convince your company to change your flight time and extend your trip just a little longer. In a lot of cases, it might actually save your company some cash if you fly back on non-peak days.

You get to visit an amazing destination without having to worry about airfare (assuming your company is paying for your travel fees). What more could you ask for?

So here are just some of the tips that have really helped me in traveling with a full-time 9–5 job (9–6 for me actually). How do you work out a balance to travel while juggling a full-time job? Let us know in the comments below! Also, make sure you subscribe to our email newsletter for all of our latest posts! Thanks!


Originally published at route852.com on April 5, 2017.