Work + Wanderlust: How To Travel While Working Full-Time

How To Travel While Working Full-Time

If you are not aware, I have a full-time job. I know that may be hard to believe for some people because it appears that I am always traveling. However, I get four weeks of vacation each year, and I use them all! Trust and believe.

Now, I know that the pandemic has been brutal for some people, and I genuinely empathize with everyone. However, the side effects of the pandemic have been beneficial for me in so many ways. Listen to my podcast episode below of how my summer went during COVID-19.

My Summer of COVID

One of the best ways the pandemic has benefited me is the fact that my company has had us working from home since the pandemic hit in March of 2020. Working from home has allowed me the fortune of being able to work from anywhere, and I mean anywhere. Because of this, I have lived the nomadic life that I have always wanted, and I still get paid for my 9-to-5. 

Now I know many digital nomads frown upon a 9-to-5 or encourage you to quit your job and travel the world, but that is not me. I am not about that life. I am a huge advocate of living your best life, fueling your dreams, and stepping out of faith. At the same time, I know that God gives you the spirit of common sense, and you know when and if you can actually quit your job and travel the world or not.

So, if you are one of those people that can’t quit their job, sell everything they own, and travel the world, then I am your girl. And I am here to help you find ways to travel the world with a full-time job.

Now, if your company has you working from home, then the tips that I am about to give you will be pretty simple and easy because you can work from anywhere in the world. Even if your job has hauled your ass back into the office or you are unable to work remotely, you will still find some helpful tips in this blog as well.

The best way on how to travel while working full-time is by following my best practices below.

Combine Business and Leisure

how to travel while working full-time

The easiest way to travel for pleasure while working is to go the weekend before your meeting. If your meeting is at the start or end of the week, you can use the weekend to stay over. The most significant expense of any travel is usually the airline ticket. Since your company is already covering the plane ticket’s cost, this should be an easy transition for you.

Always check the price of your plane ticket for the different days so that you can show your company the cost will be the same or less if you go in earlier or stay later. If the price is higher, see if you can pay your company the difference or simply have them take it straight out of your next paycheck.

With your plane ticket squared away, the only other thing to do is foot the bill for the difference in the hotel stay. Now you can enjoy and explore the destination in which you are conducting business and turn your business trip into a leisure trip—better known as bleisure travel.

If your business trip’s destination doesn’t sound too appealing, you can always jump online or ask your favorite travel agent to see if there are some hidden gems in the area. Plus, you never know, maybe that place will surprise you with its trendy restaurants, fun bars, and lively night scene. Sometimes doing the same things in a different location is all you need to feel refreshed and revitalized.

Use the Holiday Weeks To Maximize Your Travel Days

how to travel while working full-time

There are plenty of holidays that fall on a Monday. Therefore, if you schedule your vacation days around those weeks, you will be able to get a free day of travel without using a vacation day. That way, you can maximize those weekends plus a Monday for a long weekend getaway.

Take my four weeks of yearly vacation as an example. If I take all my vacation days during holiday weeks, I can turn four weeks into five weeks because those Mondays don’t count as vacation days—they are holidays, so you get four or even five freebies! You’re welcome!

Those holiday weeks and weekends are your best option to maximize your vacation days so that you can have more time to travel.

Build Trust

Without trust, nothing else matters. Once your boss or manager recognizes that you are disciplined and able to get your work done, they are more comfortable with you traveling. During my time out of the office during the pandemic, I started traveling while working remotely after about six months. My manager had no issues with my traveling and working remotely from places like Jamaica, Mexico, and California because I remained productive and completed my tasks.

Explore on Nights and Weekends

how to travel while working full-time

When I was working remotely from Jamaica and Mexico, I continued to work my regular work hours from the comfort of my resort room. However, I explored not only my resort but my destination at night and on the weekends. During the week, I worked my work hours, and once I got off work, I left my room, went to the pool or beach to decompress, then went to dinner and nightly entertainment. On the weekends, I left the resort and enjoyed the local area to the fullest. It is possible to work a full-time job and enjoy the destination at the same time!

Travel Work Days

If you have to travel on a weekday, be transparent with your company or manager about your travel day. If you follow me, you know that my number one tip for workcations is to depart from home on a Friday. That way, you can arrive at your destination, ensure that everything is ready for Monday morning, and then enjoy your weekend.

If you travel on a Friday, communicate with your manager to avoid taking the day off. Explain that you can work from the airport, get wi-fi on the plane, and arrive at your destination ready to go. As long as you’ve built that trust that I mentioned earlier, your boss should have no issue with your plan, and you will have extended your “vacation time.” 

Be Mindful of Scheduling

how to travel while working full-time

When selecting your time to travel, be mindful of your busy times of the year. My most busy times are the beginning of each quarter; therefore, I know that is not a time to book any vacation. On my personal calendar, I mark those times out at the beginning of every year to not forget. I definitely don’t want to commit to a friend stating that I will travel with them and then realize later it is not a good time for me work-wise.

Tell Your Co-Workers Ahead of Time

how to travel while working full-time

A best practice for traveling with a full-time job is communicating with your team members or company ahead of time when you have vacation days scheduled. An easy approach is to send out a calendar invite that is marked “free” for the days that you will be on vacation. This information puts a calendar marker on all your team members’ calenders without blocking off their calendar.

Another good practice is to put your upcoming vacation days in your e-mail signature at least two weeks before your vacation to allow people to prepare for you being out of the office properly.

Ensure you complete all your work before you leave if you are taking a full vacation. Notify your co-workers ahead of time and prep them for your time out of the office. Doing this allows others to put in their requests and wrap up with you before your departure.

If others you work with put in the effort to ensure they request what they need from you, it is your responsibility to ensure that you wrap up everything on your end and complete all tasks before you go. In other words, never leave anyone hanging. Not only does wrapping things up beforehand provide a smooth transition, but it builds trust, thus making it easier in the future to take vacation time.

Understand Your Manager

Before the pandemic, I had a manager that was not comfortable with people working from home. Some people are traditional and feel like you need to be in the office to perform your job; others do not. If you take the proper steps to reassure your manager that your work performance will not suffer due to your traveling, that is a start to changing the game. Once they see the possibility, you can enlighten your manager on how you will still get your job done. It all goes back to building trust.

Work Within Your Time Zone

time zone

Are you in the same time zone as your team while traveling? If not, clearly communicate your work hours. When I decided to quarantine in California—the west coast had a 2-hour difference from Nashville. Since it was not a big difference, I worked 6 am – 3 pm while in California, translating to 8 am to 5 pm in Nashville. Since this time zone would not cause conflict, I did not need to communicate with my team.

However, you have to decide the times you need to work to coordinate with your company and if it is too much of a difference, then communicate your work hours with your manager or company. Manage expectations and clearly communicate your ways of working to make everyone feel comfortable and trustworthy.

Make It Work!

Working a 9-to-5 job does not mean that you cannot live your best life through travel. You don’t have to buy into the trend of quitting your job, selling everything you own, and working odd jobs to travel the world. For those who can’t leave their job, you just have to find ways to maximize your schedule and make it work for your travel lifestyle. It may not be exactly what you want every time, but it sure as hell beats never getting to go anywhere!


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