I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked the million-dollar question:
“HOW DO YOU TRAVEL SO MUCH?!”
Before writing this post, I had a hard time answering those people who would ask me this. I never really thought about it much. I have no master plan or secret “hacks” for traveling while answering to beloved corporate America.
To be honest There is no guide. It is just something I do. I find a way to make it happen. If you are truly passionate about something you will find a way to pursue it no matter the circumstances are. And that is just what I do. Working a 9-5 (more like 9-9) has its restraints but you also have to see it for its perks and use them to your advantage. Below are a 7 tips to get you on your way to traveling more while not losing your day job.
1. Take advantage of holidays and sick days like your life depends on them.
US holidays rarely overlap with international holidays. So while it may be expense to fly domestic use those days to go overseas the prices won’t spike as much and you have the days off. If that means forgoing Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner one year, so be it.
2. Negotiate! You never know until you ask.
don’t be afraid to speak up, it never hurts to put it out there
- make your passions known – when starting this role, I made it known that traveling was my passion. This is something I needed to do to keep me motivated, inspired and coming back to do my job day in and day out. Being in a more of a creative industry helps. My leaders were receptive to my personal needs and helped me work out an agreement.
- Travel trumps money - when up for a promotion show them how serious you are, I declined a salary increase for more vacation days. In the end I was able to get a bit of both, but showing them that I valued travel over money was an eye-opener for the team.
- Work it out with your team - if your team trusts you, you are a true team player and you get your work done before jet-setting they should have very little hesitations to you wanting to take an extra day or two.
3. Save save save.
although a corporate job can suck sometimes, don’t forget, you are probably in a pretty good position to save. You more than likely have a decent (probably great) annual salary with opportunity for bonuses or commission. Don’t go blowing it on the next pair of Louboutin’s or Louis bag to impress your coworkers or people who really don’t matter. That is your next plane ticket and some!! Sacrifice is the name of the game.
4. Stack your days and USE THEM!
So often I hear people telling me they don’t use their vacation days. You have them for a reason, you are obligated to use them and no one will look at you crazy if you do (I will if you don’t). Personal and sick days are real, use them too! If you are like me and have the perk of having Summer Fridays tack them on to your trips. If you plan a vacation around a holiday, throw in a few vacation days and a summer Friday or two you’ve got yourself 6 days in South Africa my friend.
5. Flight deals should be your middle name.
become religious about finding flight deals, make it your night job. If you are serious about this, get serious about ways to cut costs on trips. Sites like theflightdeal.com apps like sky scanner, hopper, and skip lagged will save your life! Keep in mind this may mean long layovers and not always the most luxurious or quickest route to your destination but if saving a couple hundred bucks is important to you like me, you will deal.
6. Do your research, like it's your job.
nothing worth having comes without hard work. Start early and compile a list in excel or word in google docs (so you can easily access while away) of resources, activities, things to do eat and see in your destination. It doesn’t have to be exact but having an idea early on will save you time when you are there. Every moment counts when you don’t have a lot of vacation days. My point is don’t waste hours in Thailand on crappy Wi-Fi trying to find your next move.
7. Take advantage of work travel. Use those perks!
if you have the luxury of traveling with work use that time wisely, tack on vacations to your work travel. Extend a work trip and make it into a vacation or fly from your conference/meeting to your next dream destination. If your job isn’t that flexible, at least get those miles/points! It is completely acceptable. Don’t let that trip from NY to Cali go to waste. Next trip, store your frequent flyer number in your companies travel arrangement services.
I hope you find these tips helpful. It’s funny because to me I don’t travel enough! I am constantly trying to figure out ways to work around the inflexibility of corporate life so if there are other methods that work for you please let me know!