Traveling the World While Holding a Full Time Job

09 May 2016

As I sat at my local Starbucks, coffee in hand, the busy Houston traffic zooming past me outside the window, I came to a realization. Time is a luxury I no longer have. The past two years have been a whirlwind of changes, but the biggest change of all was that of finishing my academic career and joining the 'real world' as some people called it. When I first landed my full time job a common phrase amongst my friends was 'welcome to the real world'.

The phrase irked me a bit. What exactly is the real world? There were unwritten rules that I was obviously not following, such as settling down, buying a house, or having children. While I have absolutely nothing against my friends who are doing these things, my real world is a path I have created for myself, and in the center of that path is travel. 

Let's face it. You can't do what you love without a solid foundation in life. So, as I write this on a sunny Saturday morning, I am not only blogging but also aimlessly scrolling through my work email. My full time job has become not only rewarding, but allows me to live the life I want to live. I would like to share my the secrets to traveling the world while still holding a full time job. 

You won't be able to travel unless you make it a major priority in your life. Chances are you are going to miss a lot of things: birthdays, parties, weddings. That is okay. Do what makes you happy and make the right choices to achieve that. 

I miss the days of jumping on a train in England and being transported somewhere new and exciting within minutes. Here, in the US, it's a little more complicated than that. A common misconception in the US is because it is so spread out, you can never truly visit somewhere within a weekend. I'm here to tell you that is complete crap! It may require a little research, but planning a weekend getaway is not only do-able, but can also be affordable! Weekend trips I have been able to plan without taking any time off include New Orleans, Dallas, OKC, Nashville, and even Chicago! With one or two days off, plus the added weekend, I've been able to plan trips to London and Dublin!

Planning your travels will take a lot of dedication and research. There are MANY factors you will have to take into consideration. Do you have enough PTO (paid time off)? Will you be able to request off those days? How many hours will you have to work overtime to make up for the ones you plan on taking off? My first few months were spent building my PTO. I barely spent anytime traveling. But because I did that I was able to build and build and build! Now I have the luxury of traveling without worrying about going into a PTO deficit. All I have to do is make sure I plan my trips far enough in advance so I can easily request my desired days off!

One of the most expensive parts of travel is accommodation. Other than transportation, accommodation is easily the biggest money drainer on any getaway. Why not visit that friend who has moved away? Chances are, you know at least one or two people who have moved somewhere new and exciting. Take advantage of that! Spend a weekend with them catching up and exploring their new city!

I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I am a good at saver. I always have been. It might have something to do with the fact that I am a banker's daughter, or maybe it's just because I am borderline OCD (you should ask my coworkers). Regardless of the reason, saving is essential to being able to travel. Set aside an account and automatically transfer funds every pay check, however small. Once it's in your savings account don't touch it. Don't even think about it really! Act as if it never existed and eventually it'll grow.

I recently caught a stomach bug. It had been going around and by the time I got it, it had become a full blown nightmare. I had to take of two days of work, which could have been two days of travel. Take care of your health and your body so you don't have to take as many sick days. Your growing PTO will thank you later.

Working full time can often be exhausting, especially when you are using every spare moment you have planning your next vacation! Print out the desk planner below to keep you motivated and on track for your next getaway!

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