Learn How To Travel The World And Maximize Your Vacation Days
So you’re not a travel blogger, you have a full time job (like me) and you also want to travel the world. What is between you and an epic wanderlust lifestyle that you see on instagram? With a little planning you can keep that 9-5 and still sneak off to travel the world a few times a year, despite pressure from your boss or even your family. It’s your life and you have to live it in a way that works for you, your budget and your boss.
So, let’s discover some tricks that can help you go far and wide with just a few days off from that essential job that will pay for that plane ticket!
- Use long weekends to stack up a 3-6 days trip. Request one to two of your banked holiday/sick days off. Combine it with a federal holiday and you will create a window with enough time to go as far as Europe.
- Does your company offer birthday float holidays? If so, these are usually valid for one month before and after the actual date. Tack this on to a long weekend if possible or a (cough-cough) sick day.
- Set up Google flight notifications. This will allow you to keep and eye on multiple flights and price fluctuations. Once your vacation days off are approved you will be ready to book.
- Set up an account with hotels.com. Similar to the google flights strategy you will be able to keep an eye on hotels to match your flight and price needs once you are ready to book. Look for free cancellations if things at work go wrong. I book many hotels throughout the year and keep them as a place holder until I can get the flight booked too.
- Look for direct flights and most importantly the red eye flight, which will save you a whole day to explore. It will be essential that you sleep well on the plane so when you arrive all you need is coffee and to stash your luggage at the hotel.
- Here are my tips for Red Eye Flights: Skip caffeine the day of your flight, take a sleep aid, have a cozy jacket to keep warm, an eye mask, ear plugs, slippers (ditch your shoes while keeping it civil), get a window seat and eat some sleep inducing carbohydrates before the flight.
- Above all, don’t wait on anybody else. Buy your ticket when it works for you and your work schedule. If that friend can join you that is fantastic. If not, go and meet up with all the other solo-travelers out there, the experience will really be yours and yours alone.
How Far Can You Go?
- I recommend having a minimum of 4 days to go to Europe. Big city hubs like London, Amsterdam or Paris are easy to get to, don’t require a visa and direct flights are frequent and cheap. Take a red eye flight to your destination and choose a late flight home. You will arrive home late at night but you will also be in time for work the next day. That’s the day to drink more coffee.
- If you only have 2-3 days of time off there are many shorter flights that will allow you to have a memorable adventure. Try a relatively shorter 3-5 hour flight to Hawaii, Caribbean, Tulum, Vancouver, Montreal, Miami, San Diego, Portland or Nashville. Of course it will depend on your starting destination.
Admittedly, I am a planner. I plan, book and secure my trips 6-12 months ahead of time. The best prices can be found with a bit of notice, you can even get a deal on a great hotel room.
Take note of “vacation request” filling dates and then file on time. Pressure in the work place can be lower around Thanksgiving, Christmas and also when your own boss is on vacation; so think about making a run for it around these times without missing much in the office.
Keep in mind Michelin Starred restaurants, concerts and popular tours will sell out. Reserve and purchase tickets ahead of time to catch those special events and outings that you will remember years from now. Planning ahead allows you to not miss out, a fundamental position I hold.
If You Can’t Plan Ahead
If planning ahead is really not for you consider using a few tools to help you with your last minute escapes.
Try the app Hotels Tonight to book a hotel that same night at a great rate. Also, look for last minute deals found on sites like Hotels.com, Cheap Tickets or Google Flights (see the “explore” section).
Alternatively, take a last minute road trip. If you waited until last minute and it is also Fourth Of July weekend, avoid the insane expensive without missing an adventure.
Popular road trips include: The South West, Big Sur to L.A, The Florida Keys, Vermont, the Oregon coast or the closest National Park to you. Road trips are usually a lot cheaper and can be a ton of fun since you can pack all your outfits and toys for beaching and hiking alike.
Have An Itinerary
Read blogs (like mine) or take a travel guide, (like Lonely Planet). Keep a list of important must see sites for yourself to ensure that you are maximizing your vacation time and fulfilling your dreams of seeing the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower (go very early) or dinning at Noma in Copenhagen (book very early).
My strategy is to divide out each day with a plotted list of the sites & events you have in mind. I usually have a concert, tour or a special dinner reservation and a few museums (know their off days). Keep a few open slots as your plans might get derailed for some totally awesome reason that you couldn’t have planned, even if you tried.
Happy travels and best wishes for those vacation requests. I have a few I’m waiting on too. Tag me on Instagram! I can’t wait to see where you go. #girlwelltraveled xoxo