Seems impossible, right?
Thousands of people - if not millions - consider their full-time job as the main reason why they don't travel more.
Lack of time and/or money are indeed two seemingly insurmountable obstacles when it comes to traveling.
But are they, really?
This guide gives you keys to traveling more, even if you have a full-time job. As travelers living the dream explain here, there are many ways to incorporate more adventures to your life starting from this year.
You can jump directly to the part that interest you the most:
- Take Shorter Trips More Often
- Find a Full-Time Job in a Company that Allows you to Work Remotely
- Become your own Employer
One way or another, everyone can do it. Why should you give up on travel?
Take Shorter Trips More Often
Don't dismiss this solution right away, as it is actually one of the best solutions for workers short on time and money.
Actually, that's what I've started doing this year and found that it resulted in a perfect balance between work and travel.
The Key: keep an open mind for the destination
Taking a trip at the end of the world during the weekend (even a long one) might the be the best option: you're going to spend your time in the transports rather than at your destination.
But wherever you live, there is always a place to visit which you can reach with a flight of a couple of hours or so. This option has (at least) two advantages:
- Shorter flights are usually cheaper. Since you are saving money, your budget isn't as big a problem.
- You are saving time in transit and therefore have more time to actually enjoy your trip. That's a key to traveling better.
- If your flight is delayed or canceled, it will be easier to find an alternative way to reach your destination.
Yaya from Hand Luggage Only actually started traveling this way. With his second job, he was looking for cheap flights to anywhere, booking them, and figuring out the rest of the logistics later.
"Booking really cheap trips like this meant that we would be able to afford to travel a lot more."
You might also realize that shorter trips are more satisfying than longer ones, as they are usually more intense: you're not wasting your time and do only what really matters.
Skyscanner is the perfect tool to help you do just that. The search engine has 2 great search functions that will change your life if you want to travel more while working full-time.
Instead of choosing your destination, select "Everywhere" in the "to" field: Skyscanner will pull out all the possible itineraries departing from a specific city, and rank them from the cheapest to the most expensive one.
In addition to that, Skyscanner lets you select a whole month or the "cheapest month" instead of a specific date. That means that you will be able to see the prices for a whole month at one glance and then plan accordingly.
Learn more about how to use Skyscanner in this complete guide.
Negotiate for a Compressed Workweek arrangement
The University of California, Riverside, defines a compressed workweek as an "alternative work arrangements where a standard workweek is reduced to fewer than five days, and employees make up the full number of hours per-week by working longer hours."
In most cases, you work 4 days per week instead of 5, with the Friday off, with no impact on your salary. It may be tough to work for 10 or more hours a week, but on the bright side, your weekend lasts one more day.
It's a very good option to travel during the weekend, even though you have a full-time job. With that additional day, a trip to a destination further from your home now becomes more interesting. Not to mention that tickets would also be cheaper if you leave on a Thursday rather than a Friday.
I gathered tips from experts in the section to help you negotiate with your boss - use them to get a compressed workweek arrangement!
Use your Vacation Days smartly
Just because you can't negotiate a work arrangement like a compressed workweek with your boss doesn't mean that you have to give up on traveling!
Vicki created her travel blog MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld.com because many people are in this situation. "Those who want to travel more but feel constrained by a 9-5 have to first change their mindset, and second start planning leave and travel in advance", she says. It's a lifestyle choice that everyone can make:
"Having set plans and making the most of weekends and short breaks is a great way to keep yourself motivated at work whilst still making travel a priority in your spare time."
A smart way to use your vacation days is to take them to create long weekends. Leverage national holidays by booking your vacation days so that they bridge to the weekend.
It's also a good way to save on transportation: if you're leaving on Friday evening and coming back on Sunday evening, as everyone else does, you can be sure that you are paying the full price. But with this technique, you could leave on a Tuesday (one of the cheapest days to fly).
Find a Full-Time Job in a Company that Allows you to Work Remotely
Have you ever considered doing the same job, but not in the office? Just because it isn't part of your contract doesn't mean that you should rule it out.
Some companies are getting increasingly flexible with their policy. As long a you get the job done, whether you do it in the office or somewhere else doesn't really matter.
Convince your Boss to let you Work from Remotely
The goal here is to get your boss to agree to let you work remotely for a long enough amount of time.
If you manage to pull that off, you can leave to your dream destination for some time to work from there.
Granted, you still have to work, but when you don't, you are free to fully enjoy your destination. As long as you meet your manager's expectations, you can organize your time as you please.
Tim Ferriss has largely popularized this method of traveling while working remotely through his best-seller The 4-Hour Workweek. I can't recommend the book enough if you don't know what to do during your next flight or while commuting! Tim walks you through the step-by-step process of how you can make be more productive and save more time to do things that matter to you.
As this post from Lifehacker explains, the key to build trust between your employer and you. Without this, your dreams of transitioning to a life of remote work will stay just that: dreams.
You first need to make sure that your job CAN be done from home. As pointed out by Vicki from Make Time to See The World, "whilst it is becoming more and more popular [to work remotely], and in some cases, is better for work life balance, at the end of the day, some jobs simply require a physical presence due to timezone, customer facing requirements or other constraints". The latter can include special softwares accessible only from your office network or physical tools for instance.
You should be able to measure your results to show your boss that you can meet expectations even out of the office. Maybe even surpass them! Measuring your performance (the actual results, not just the number of hours you work) will go a long way to strengthen your argument that your working remotely can be beneficial to the company.
"Employees would have to prove that they can still get the job done when unsupervised and for a sustained period of time. Remote working is not suitable for everyone and some people simply do not have the discipline and self control for it to be a success."
Explain your boss how working from home will have a positive impact on your work: since you won't waste time commuting both ways, you will have more time to get more work done.
Negotiate for small trial periods. Start with one day a week, then two days, then a week etc. Your boss is much more likely to accept if you are not greedy right from the start.
It's going to be scary for your employer to have you work from home. There is a simple reason for that: your boss might have the feeling that they can only be assured of your productivity if they can see you, physically seating at your desk (or imprisoned in your cubicle).
The best thing you can do is take the lead on the experiment. Assure your manager that you will send them your work at the end of the day or present the results on the next day. Be proactive, more than you would if your were working in the office. Following-up on your work shows your boss that you can work in autonomy and be responsible, that when you are not in the office, they don't have to chase after you to get the info that they need. Offer to have a call with them at the end of the day if they want.
Provide your boss and your team with a convenient way to reach you at any time. Don't forget that more than just your productivity, it's the performance of the whole team, the whole company, that matters. You must prove that your working from home won't deteriorate the work of the rest of the company.
Join a Distributed Team
So what's a fully distributed team?
In such a team, co-workers are in different locations, most of the time spread across several timezones, but work on the same project. The team doesn't have an office, or if it does, not everyone is working from there. At ClaimCompass, we have people working from several continents!
These companies usually have a very different approach to work than most typical companies. Very result-oriented, they let their members have a more flexible schedule, as long as their work is done.
Even if your company wasn't built with the thought of having a team of remote workers, you could change that!
Taking place in Bali, Indonesia in June 2018, the Running Remote Conference 2018 is carefully curated to teach you next-level, actionable strategies, and tactics you can utilize the very next day to manage & grow your remote team.
Learn from the best with speakers from Gitlab, Atlassian, Doist, Flexjob, Remote.co, Buffer, and Empire Flippers. You can still book your ticket for the event right here.
Become your own Employer
It's not as hard as it seems, especially at a time when you barely need anything more than a laptop and an internet connection to run a business.
Because when you have a full-time job, your boss can easily put an end to your dreams if they refuse to let you book the vacation days that you ask or vetoes any kind of atypical work arrangement...
Adopt the Digital Nomad lifestyle...
Digital nomads are people who get their work done from anywhere and travel the world when they are not working.
For Barbara, who provides valuable information for aspiring digital nomads and online workers on her blog, Barbaralicious, freelancing is a good starting point. She recommends that you identify what you are passionate about, and "put it online".
What does that mean?
Well, if you're good at teaching, start teaching online or coaching. If you're good at writing, write books or a blog.
For example, blog owners can make money by joining "affiliate programs": when people purchase things by clicking on your affiliate link, you get a commission. Booking.com has a very popular affiliate program. ClaimCompass' Affiliate Program has been listed among the best affiliate alternatives to Booking: join now!
To make the digital nomad lifestyle work for you, the key is to go the "nomad hotspots", according to Barbara. These are the places where digital nomads from all nationalities gather. Most of the time, the cost of life there is cheap and the internet is good. But more important, nomads have built a community in these places.
"Community is the most important thing, I've learned. It's the best for your mindset, to create an awesome working environment, to enjoy freetime together and to inspire each other."
Popular nomad hotspots include Bali in Indonesia, Chiang Mai in Thailand, or Medellin in Columbia. But as pointed out by Michelle, Founder and Director of IntentionalTravelers.com, there are tons of off-the-beaten-path small town destinations that are perfect alternatives for digital nomads.
You might be in the same situation as a digital nomad without even realizing it! If that is the case and this situation seems appealing to you, why not ask your employer to let you work from home?
... But don't do it lightly
"It is often the case that people sell everything they own and head off into the world, with no plan on how to sustain themselves after their funds have run out, thinking they will figure it out along the way."
While finding a remote job is possible, it's not easy. You need to "have a set plan in place for it to be a success". Be aware of the challenges inherent to the digital nomad lifestyle. You may find the idea of living day by day and traveling with your life in a suitcase or backpack attractive for a time, but in the long run?
Before living everything behind, figure out whether it's a phase or if you intend to become a digital nomad for a longer time.
Here's the thing:
Passion is great and you should pursue your dreams. But set yourself up for success right from the start. If you have a side project that you want to turn into a full-time job, don't quit your current job on a whim! Here's what founder of Nomadlist Pieter Levels recommends instead:
I see a lot of ppl quit their job and just go full time on a side project which I wouldn’t recommend, instead:— Pieter Levels 🏝 (@levelsio) March 20, 2018
👉 build your side project while you have stable income from a job
👉 when the revenue from the side project surpasses your job for 6 months consider quitting
Plus, as proved above, becoming a full-time digital nomad isn't your only option to travel and work at the same time!
Bottom Line: You Can Travel More, Even With a Full-Time Job
Sure, with the emphasis that our society puts on work, it's easy to give up on travel when you have a full-time job. But consider the alternatives:
- Without a job, you're likely to lack the money to travel: it doesn't take a fortune to wander around, but you still need some money.
- If you work full-time and postpone traveling to when you don't work, you're giving up on your best years to travel: sure, you can travel when you're retired, but will you enjoy it just as much as you would now?
So whether you're ready to become a digital nomad, get a job that allows you to work remotely, or simply make the most of your vacation days by taking shorter trips more often, there isn't much stopping you from traveling more now!
Let me know in the comments what seems to be the best option for you!
If your flight was delayed, canceled or overbooked in the past 5 years, you may be entitled to up to 600€ in compensation.