How to Make Time for Travel When You Have a Full-Time Job
Traveling is amazing. You get to visit new places, discover new cultures, and learn a ton. But once you have a full-time job, it can be hard to make time for travel. It’s expensive and requires a lot of planning. Plus, oftentimes when you have a break, all you want to do is lie on your couch and watch Netflix. But just because you’re working full-time doesn’t mean you can’t make time for travel. Here’s why traveling is so important, and how you can make time for it!
Why Traveling is So Important
Growing up, my family would often travel to a new state every year. I remember loving to try new things in each place. I learned all about colonial history when my family traveled to Colonial Williamsburg. I also learned a ton about the pioneers when we traveled to South Dakota, and so much about the natural landscape of Alaska when my family took a cruise there.
Now that I’m older, I can appreciate even more about going to new places. This year, I’ve been studying abroad in England. Getting to discover many new cities around the UK and Europe has been incredible. I discovered breath-taking natural beauty in St Ives, England, unbelievable art (not to mention food) in Florence, Italy, and fascinating history and beautiful architecture in Vienna, Austria. Going to so many places has only made me want to travel more. There is so much of the world to see and appreciate and learn from. Even when you have a full-time job, it is important to continue to discover new things and make time for travel.
How You Can Make Time for Travel
Ok, so we’ve decided that traveling is important. That still leaves you with the question of how to make time for travel when you’ve got a full-time job and are juggling all of the responsibilities of an adult life. It can certainly seem daunting to try to plan a vacation when you’re already managing so much. However, it’s totally doable! If countless families are able to plan trips when they’ve got several screaming kids to constantly worry about, you can too.
The first step is to simply sit down and look at your calendar. If you can’t imagine taking off work right now, you can start off with somewhere close, like a beach or nearby site. Then, you can do a weekend trip. This is a great place to start, since many jobs give you weekends off, and you won’t have to miss work. (If you don’t get off weekends, you could plan a day or two-day trip on the days you do have off each week. The site would probably be less crowded!). Find a weekend before a week where you don’t have a ton on your plate. That way, you won’t be stressing about work while you’re gone. Then, book your travel and have a great time.
You can realistically schedule weekend trips like these several times a year. Perhaps you can take one every quarter, depending on how hectic your work life is and your financial situation. They’re a great way to see a new place and get away from the hustle and bustle of your hometown without having to worry about planning anything elaborate.
However, it is also fun and fulfilling to plan a longer trip too. Many jobs will give you a few weeks of paid vacation per year, so if you’ve got it, take advantage of this! Pick somewhere you’ve always wanted to travel to, and if you’ve got the finances for it, go for it. If you can’t swing the money for a big trip yet, start saving now. Put a little bit of your paycheck aside each month towards your vacation. When you finally get to travel to the place you’ve always wanted to see, it will be totally worth it.
Planning Your Travel
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So now that you know you can make time for travel, you actually have to sit down and plan your trip. You may think that this will be just as time-consuming as actually going on your vacation. Planning travel doesn’t have to be painful though! And there are tons of great (free) tools out there to help you plan the best trip within your budget.
1. Find the Best Airfare
First, you need to decide when you want to travel. If you’ve got a few weeks of vacation time any time, it might be better to plan your trip during off seasons, such as in spring, fall, or winter (other than during the holidays). This is when prices will be lower and crowds will be thinner. You can also use airfare search engines to try to find when the cheapest flights to your desired location are, and plan your travel around that. Airfare Watchdog is a great resource you can use to find cheap flights. You can put in your home airport and desired destination and it will send you notifications when flights along that route become cheapest. I recently wrote a whole article about finding the cheapest airfare, so if you’re planning on traveling by air, check it out!
2. Choose a Place to Stay
Once you’ve figured out how to get to your destination, you next have to find a place to stay. There are also some great online resources for this too. Home Away finds great properties if you want to live like a local in a cottage or apartment. They’re also super reasonably priced, and often cheaper than hotels. Endless Vacation Rentals is another good option if you’re looking for a packaged deal. They have many options for places to stay that will include things to do as well. However you choose to book though, just make sure you read lots of reviews about a place before you decide to stay there. That way, there won’t be any unwelcome surprises when you arrive.
3. Figure Out What You Want to Do
Now that you’ve found your travel and hotel, the only thing left to plan is what you’re going to do. If you have no idea where to start, check out a resource like Viator. This can help you find tours that will hit all of the sites you’ll want to see. However, if you’re strapped for cash and don’t want to rely on a tour, just make a list of your personal must-sees and research how to visit them on your own. I’ve also discovered that just walking around a new city and seeing what you happen upon is the best way to discover a new place. You’ll get more of a flavor for the local culture this way. Plus, you won’t have to stress about fitting everything in. Then you can just relax and enjoy your vacation.
So there you have it, how you can make time for travel even when you have a full-time job. I know it can seem daunting to plan a full vacation when you’re working all the time. However, it really is doable. And once you’re finally on that longed-for vacation, you’ll realize it was totally worth it.