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The Ultimate Guide to Traveling More with a Full-Time Job

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Another common question that I get asked is, “How do I make travel happen with my full-time job?” These days, a lot of millennials have quit their corporate jobs to travel the world – myself included. That’s a scary thought for some people and somedays that thought still terrifies me. However, you don’t have to take a scary leap like this if you’re not ready. I totally understand that travel comes in many forms and you don’t have to part ways with your job to travel. I wrote this post for all my 9-5 friends who don’t want to give up their jobs but are still wanting to explore the world. Here’s how you can maximize travel while still having a full-time job.

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1. Change Your Mindset 

If you want to travel more while you have a 9-5, you’re going to have to change your mindset. I’ve had so many coworkers in the past who have used their jobs as an excuse not to travel and experience the world. You have to change the way you think. You’re slaving away 40 hours a week at your job so why not invest some time into your travels? I doubt that 60 years from now you’re going pat yourself on the back for being the best employee ever and never missing a day of work. But, I know that you’ll beat yourself up for not going on more trips while you were working. Stop giving your life and time away to a corporation and start allowing yourself to travel. It’s all about balance.

2. Determine Your Budget and Come up with a Travel Plan

Before you start traveling, you need to decide what your budget will be. How much are you willing to spend on flights? How much are you going to spend on accommodation? What’s it going to cost for your tours? Here’s a post I wrote that goes over travel budgets in more detail and I also give you a FREE printable that you can use when you’re budgeting your next trip. After you’re done with your budgeting, you can move on to the fun stuff. Now, you can figure out what destinations align with your budget and decide where you’re going.

3. Take Advantage of Weekend Getaways

When I was working my 9-5, I took advantage of weekend trips as much as possible. I typically flew out on Friday evening around 6 pm after work and got back on Sunday evening around 10 pm. You can also do a long weekend trip. You can take off work Friday or Monday or you can take both days off so you have a four day weekend. Because of this, I was able to travel to New Orleans, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, Toronto and more. It’s crazy how much of a city you can see in just a few days. Look for destinations with the shortest flight times and you’ll be all set. I highly recommend taking advantage of your weekend to travel because it gives you a chance to get away and take a mental break from work.

a photo of me and amos in front of niagara falls

One of my many weekend trips we’ve been on – Niagara Falls

4. Explore Your Backyard

You don’t have to go far to travel. I guarantee you that there are some really cool places that you can explore right in your backyard. Before I started traveling full time, Oklahoma City was home to me. Since I’ve been gone, OKC has become this really hip and trendy place with lots to see and do. That’s the perfect example of exploring your own backyard. On the weekends where I couldn’t venture too far, I took advantage of exploring OKC and it felt like I was on vacation.

5. Go on a Road Trip

Like I said above, there were weekends where I couldn’t travel too far. Those weekends were also perfect for going on a road trip. I was very fortunate because Dallas is just a few hours away from OKC. We would hop in the car Friday after work and have a fantastic getaway. We’d be home on Sunday night ready for work again. It was the perfect mini-vacation for us.

6. Add Vacation Days to Long Holidays

Let’s say for example that there’s a holiday on Friday and you have off on Friday. You now have a three day weekend. On top of that, use a few more vacation days. Now your three day holiday just became a pretty long vacation. This is more than enough time to explore a new country. I did this when we went to Barbados. A three day weekend turned into a ten-day vacation. Cheers to that!

a photo of me and amos at the beach in barbados

We definitely loved getting a longer holiday and only using a few vacation days for it.

7. Take Unpaid Vacation Time (If You Can)

I know this isn’t going to work for everyone. This is a difficult thing to do. However, if you prioritize your spending as I mentioned above, it’s totally doable. Start saving money ASAP for your travel fund and you can start taking a few days of unpaid time off to travel.


8. Plan Your Sick/Personal Days Strategically 

Please don’t send your company police after me for this next little section. But, here’s something that I regularly did when I was using up my sick/personal days. If there was a public holiday on Friday, I would schedule my doctor’s appointment on Thursday morning. After the appointment, I jetted out and started my long weekend of travels. Alternatively, you can schedule your appointment on a Friday and head straight to the airport after the appointment to have a three day travel weekend. I think I hear some sirens…

9. Ask Your Boss for More Vacation Time

Instead of asking your boss for a fiscal raise, ask for more vacation time. A raise doesn’t always have to be monetary. It can simply be a few more vacation days during the year. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

10. Skip the Holidays

I understand that spending time with family is super important during the holidays. But, to us, it’s just another ordinary day. If you can bear the thought of being away from family and loved ones during the holidays, you’ll be able to travel and explore more. For example, we went to Las Vegas for Christmas one year and had a few more days to explore because of the days off we had from work. We also went to London and Paris one year during the holidays. We were able to have a few extra days to spend in Europe because of the additional time off we had. Because of the holidays, we were able to maximize our travels. We have no problems ditching the turkey to eat chocolate croissants in Paris.

a photo of me and amos standing in front of the eiffel tower in paris at night

It was totally worth skipping Christmas in the States for Paris.

11. Ask for What You Want

I understand that this might seem nerve-racking to some of you, but if you don’t ask the answer is always “no”. Want to work from home on a Monday or Friday so you can have a longer weekend to travel? Ask your boss about it! The worst he/she can say is no. If you’re an ultra-high performer and you slay at what you do, ask if you can work remotely. Understand that the worst that can happen is your boss says no. If you’re serious about traveling more with a full-time job, you’re going to have to get comfortable with asking your boss uncomfortable questions.

Where have you traveled to while working a 9-5? Do you have any tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments below.

I hope you found this post helpful for planning your travels while having a full-time job. Don’t forget to pin it for later!

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Saturday 4th of April 2020

Thank you for this! I often wonder how much of a place I can really see in a regular weekend outside of hopping the train to a nearby city, so it’s great to know it can be done. I travelled so much after university, it’s been difficult to not dream of doing so since I settled into the 9-5. I do love my job, but travel forever beckons.

Disha Smith

Sunday 5th of April 2020

I know how you feel, April. You can still travel without going too far away. Thanks for reading!

Anastasia Schmalz

Friday 29th of November 2019

Hi Disha, this post is great! Before we left to travel full-time, we took every opportunity we had to travel during weekends. We also were able to cover most of our cost with money we earned from Airbnb - a win-win! We often get the comment from people that they would love to travel more but they're not ready to commit full-time. So your tips are super valuable!

Disha Smith

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Hi Anastasia! Thanks so much for reading! How awesome is it that you're full-time traveling! :)


Saturday 2nd of November 2019

This is me right now. I have a full-time office job in 9 hours a day for 5 days a week set up. My travels are mostly weekend or a holiday or weekend+holiday. ;) Great tip.

Disha S.

Monday 11th of November 2019

Thank you for reading!


Saturday 2nd of November 2019

This has opened my eyes so much on how I can travel more with my 9-5. I always felt like I had to quit or I was doing something wrong. This is so realistic and helpful for so many people, thank you!

Disha S.

Monday 11th of November 2019

I'm glad to hear that. Thanks for stopping by, Natalie!

Pauline Chicart

Saturday 2nd of November 2019

Love all these tips! We need to remember that there's no need to go far away for a holiday, we can just go on a road trip or super close to where we live and still have a lot of fun :)

Disha S.

Monday 11th of November 2019

Thanks for reading, Pauline!