Recommendations on how to travel without quitting your job. See 10+ ways to explore the world without giving up your work.
Quitting your job to travel, is not an option for everyone. Most have families and other commitments that they need to think of. Also, some people love their organization or are worried about employment security, and don’t want to give it up just so they can explore more often.
Personally, I love having my own digital marketing business that I can run from anywhere but that doesn’t mean everyone should do the same. There are plenty of ways to travel without quitting your job.
To help you get out there and see all your dream destinations, I asked these part-time travel experts to share their tips on globetrotting while keeping a regular job.
- Work abroad for your existing company
- Get more out of your vacation with stopover flights
- Using public holidays to take more vacations
- Going to industry conferences and trade shows
- Go on short breaks away (weekends and day trips)
- Convince your company to give more time off
- Making the most of your business trip
- Take a weekend job as a freelance journalist
- Become a local tourist
- Pay for more vacation days
- Working overtime and accruing hours to use for holidays
- Train others to do your job so it’s easier to take time off
1. Work abroad for your existing company
Chantell Collins, Budget Travel Babes
If you work for an international company, chances are you can apply for a job in another location or asked to be transferred. Even for companies that are domestically based, they might have an industry network that you can tap into. The library of the university I used to work at, had a partnership with other libraries in Canada. This meant that librarians could apply to switch with someone in the same position there and gain international experience.
Although this program wasn’t available to me, I requested to work remotely from the US for a few months. There was a lot of paperwork and approvals required but the process was worth it to be able to travel in the US while keeping my current position and an income stream.
When approaching your boss to ask if you can work remotely, make sure you cover these points:
- The technology involved: will you use your own laptop or a work laptop, do you need a virtual private network (VPN) to access company documents, etc.
- Communication: will you still be taking calls or only communicating by email, can you attend essential meetings on video calls
- Working hours: check the time difference and determine what hours you will be online and if they will overlap with the standard working hours at your company. I was working in the evenings in New York so it was morning in Brisbane. Although working different hours can also have its advantages, as you will be completing tasks while your coworkers are sleeping and could improve effectivity.
- Evidence of your work: will you provide timesheet or timed reports, do you need to show a list of completed tasks each week.
- Visa implications: what visa is required for that country and if you will be covering the costs and applying for it yourself.
Having a well-prepared case on why working remotely will not negatively impact your work but in fact may be beneficial for possible knowledge gain, improvements in productivity, and reductions in overheads, can help you travel more without quitting your job.
2. Get more out of your vacation with stopover flights
Ryan O’Rourke, Treksplorer
One of my favorite ways of squeezing more out of trips with limited vacation time is strategically using airport layovers to add extra cities into the mix – sometimes while even saving money! Here’s how to do it.
First, start off with a regular flight search through Skyscanner and take note of cities for the flight connections. Next, search for the same route on Skyscanner only this time using the multi-city option. You’ll need to include at least three different flights in your search:
- Flight #1: Origin -> Stopover City
- Flight #2: Stopover City -> Destination
- Flight #3: Destination -> Origin
What’ll surprise you most about this technique is that the stopover flights will often be the same price as the simple return option, and, in some cases, can become even cheaper by wedging in the third destination.
I’ve used this tactic numerous times to squeeze in a day or two in airline hub cities like Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and London on route to my final destination, a feat that would have otherwise been impossible on a time-crunched vacation.
One quick tip: Don’t forget to account for time zone changes. International flights often arrive a day later so be sure to double-check your arrival date in the stopover city before committing to the second flight.
3. Using public holidays to take more vacations
Nicole LaBarge, Travelgal Nicole
As a full time IT project manager in New Zealand, I am always looking for ways to use public holidays to take a longer holiday without using up my annual leave days. I find that one of the best opportunities to extend my travels is to travel over the Easter period when we have off for Good Friday and Easter Monday. I visited China one year by taking the week off leading up to Easter. It cost me four annual leave days and I was able to go for 10 days visiting Beijing, Xian, Suzhou, and Shanghai. It helped that I was able to fly into Beijing and out of Shanghai direct to Auckland to maximize my time in each city.
We also have a public holiday in New Zealand called Anzac day which falls on the 25th of April. On the years when Easter is in April, I have been able to take a holiday from Easter through to Anzac day and I traveled throughout Malaysia, Brunei, and Borneo during this time. I always have to factor in jet lag as well when traveling such long distances and crossing so many time zones but it is always worth it!
4. Going to industry conferences and trade shows
Looking for and attending conferences, trade shows or meetups relevant to your profession is a great way to travel while having a full-time job.
Companies do send employees to conferences for them to network and bring back sales contacts. However, more companies are also doing it for human resource development. They want you to learn from the best experts or thought leaders out there and bring the knowledge back to your team.
Once a year, I will submit an application to attend a conference related to online marketing. Marketing conferences featuring the most sought-after speakers usually take place in major cities like London, Singapore, New York, or San Francisco.
Thus, by attending one of these conferences, I get to learn from the best professionals in my industry, have my expense covered, get paid for it, travel in cities that are on many people’s bucket list, and write about them on my travel site.
When I go on business trips like this, I often apply for a few more days off, just so I can enjoy a city more while I’m there.
5. Go on short breaks away (weekends and day trips)
James, Travel Collecting
We tend to focus on longer trips when we think of traveling, but there are a lot of possibilities for travel on regular two-day weekends, either in your own city or on inexpensive weekend getaways. Travel guides for your own city can help you discover new museums, historic homes, activities, and neighborhoods. Many cities have ethnic neighborhoods; taking a walking tour around the area and exploring their markets, shops and restaurants can be a mini-trip abroad without leaving town. Buy Indian spices, eat tostadas, drink sake, admire the saris on display, or pick up a Cyrillic dictionary!
Or leave town on a weekend getaway. A 3-4 hour drive or flight from most places can find you relaxing on the beach, picking fruit at a farm stay, hiking in the woods or even taking a mini road trip around country towns. To maximize your time away, stay a little later each day during the week and your boss may let you leave a little early Friday. If you choose to fly somewhere, taking a Sunday red-eye back home lets you enjoy both days fully, especially if you fly west.
6. Convince your company to give more time off
My creative way to travel while being employed was to negotiate a pay cut in exchange for significant time off work. In 2017, my company was in cost savings mode, and I suggested this idea. For a 35% pay cut, I get approximately 21 weeks off work each year (including holidays). Because I work on special projects and work largely on a consulting-type basis, this plan was possible.
I try to take a maximum of 7 weeks off at a time, and when possible, I stay connected to check emails and project progress with some regularity. I’ve taken some amazing trips in the last year and a half including 7 weeks in Timor Leste and Indonesia, 7 weeks in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Somaliland, and a 6-week road trip in my new Ford Transit Connect camping van across Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota.
7. Making the most of your business trip
Wendy, Empty Nesters
I love to travel, but if I could only travel using my allotted vacation days then my opportunities to see the U.S., and the world, would be limited. So I’ve learned to make the most of my business travel.
First, when I have domestic business trips I try to arrive a day early or stay a day late (if this is around a weekend, it doesn’t even require a vacation day). Then I visit TripAdvisor and see what that city and its surrounding region have to offer. On a recent trip with a colleague to Boston, we made the most of our evenings and extended our trip by just one day. As a result, we walked a portion of the Freedom Trail, visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, had dinner in the North End and breakfast at Quincy Hall.
I have made four business trips to South Korea, and for each of these, I took a few vacation days after the business was concluded to explore other countries in Asia. In each case, I took advantage of free layovers offered by the airlines. As a result, I have now been to Japan, Hong Kong, and China. Yes, each of these trips was short, but I saved thousands of dollars on international airfares. I hope anyone who enjoys travel as much as I do will consider how to make the most of their future business trips. It can save money and make business travel more enjoyable.
8. Take a weekend job as a freelance journalist
Somnath, Travel Crusade
Recently after I joined some international journalism organizations, I’ve had the opportunity to go on media trips and paid vacations in my free time. The organizations I became a member of are the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance (ITWPA), and North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). With my full-time job and journalism, I’ve been able to find a balance between work and travel.
Getting featured by publications has also encouraged me to travel to new locations without any issues. I’ve gone to some offbeat destinations after getting a request from the editors to write on places and topics that they would like to feature in their monthly magazine publications.
9. Become a local tourist
Jules, Part-Time Passport
A well-traveled lifestyle isn’t just about getting on a plane and ticking off another country or continent. It’s about every day – discovering new places closer to home, exploring your local food scene and being a tourist in your own city. It’s amazing what you can find on your own doorstep – and what better way to fill your weekends in between trips abroad?!
For me, home is Bristol in South West England and the city provides endless opportunities for exploration; from street art tours to festival-filled weekends to one of the best independent food scenes in the country. I also know that within a couple of hours’ drive, I can be exploring quaint Cotswolds villages, hiking along beaches in Cornwall, or taking in the sights and bright lights of London.
Wherever you live, there is always something to discover close to home – and the best part is, you don’t need to use up any precious annual leave to enjoy it!
Check out the official tourist information site for your area, sign up to local alerts on Facebook and follow local bloggers on Instagram to find out what’s going on and to discover events and attractions in your area.
10. Pay for more vacation days
Audrey, Gumnuts Abroad
As a nurse working in Australia, I’m already entitled to a generous 5 weeks annual leave. But I’m also fortunate to work for an organization that allows staff to purchase leave. Many people have never heard of buying leave and are unaware this program even exists.
Basically, what it means is that employees can boost their annual leave entitlements by reducing their salary by the same amount. So, if you take four weeks annual leave and four weeks purchased leave, you’ll be paid for 48 weeks of the year spread evenly over the full 52 weeks.
Usually, you have to submit your application well in advance to allow time to calculate and spread out the reduced salary. This also gives employers time to plan and schedule work absences. Extended trips need a bit more research and organizing, so this also gives you time to plan your holiday.
If you want to travel more without quitting your job purchasing leave is a great way to do it.
11. Working overtime and accruing hours to use for holidays
It is possible to travel to the world and work full time – I’m a walking example of it. But you need to sacrifice a bit too and make travel your priority. Check if your work allows working over hours and instead of receiving payment for the additional time ask for the extra days off. If it works – you’re in a winning position! It’s not difficult to get these eight hours. Then you will be seen by others as a hard worker who is not afraid of any additional tasks to do.
I’ve been doing this for years and, even if it’s not always easy (I mean who likes waking up at 3 am or returning home at midnight and that happened too) you will never hear me complaining as every extra hour spent working means an extra hour for me to travel. And after a while, you will get used to the new routine and you won’t see it as much of a challenge.
In last year only I spent 121 days traveling while working full time (a regular job, 8 hours Monday to Friday) and many of these were thanks to the over hours I’m always happy to take.
12. Train others to do your job so it’s easier to take time off
Roxanna, Gypsy With a Day Job
Early in my career, I was driven to prove myself, to climb the ladder, and be definitively the best in my company. I worked diligently, acquiring accolades and accomplishment, but also more and more responsibility and hours.
Then, a very blunt but wise manager gave me advice. “No matter what you do or accomplish, if you disappeared tomorrow, the company would go on. Don’t let them think you are indispensable while you are here, or they will consume your life”. Being young, and knowing much more than anyone else, I scoffed. But, after a few more years of 70-80 hour weeks, cashing out vacation time, I understood. When I needed time off, it was “a heavy burden,” since no one could do what I did.
Since that time I have still worked diligently, but a portion of each week has been spent training and mentoring my subordinates. I have taught them every aspect of my position, and for routine tasks, I have written step by step work instructions. Now, when I request vacation time, I can also relay who will be covering my duties with confidence. Having fully skilled backups enables me to take my full 5 weeks of vacation time each year, without question.
Do you have any tips for traveling more without quitting your job? Tell us about it below!
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