This is my ongoing internal dilemma. The urge to run away, to quit my job and travel new lands, discover new cultures and try new delicious delicacies… fighting incessantly against my need to nest and sit home under a blanket with a cup of tea and netflix knowing I’m so close to all of my favourite human beings. It’s a conflicted life I lead.
So as most things in life, I believe you have to find the perfect balance. And for me, that means having a full-time job in the UK and fitting my travels in where and when I can to try and sate that damn wanderlust a tad.
I’m not going to lie, it takes a lot of time management. But it’s something I’ve become a bit of a pro at and PRs are constantly shocked that I don’t do my blog full-time seeing as I’m travelling so much. And not to brag or anything but I’ve managed to fit in TEN countries this year. I mean that’s a little ridiculous considering in the past I was a one holiday a year kinda gal.
So how do I maximise the travel time?
Make the most of Bank Holidays.
Bank Holidays are ripe for the picking, people! 3 or 4 uninterrupted days to spend discovering a new country or is totally ideal. And you can always tag on an extra day of annual leave to really make the most of it. For example I went to Iceland during May Bank Holiday this year, which is just a Monday but when you add on the weekend and one day off work on the Friday and boom, 4 wonderful days in a glorious new country.
Weekends are your friend.
Some people dismiss weekends as being too short for an adventure, but it really isn’t! Jump on a flight after work on a Friday, spend the weekend on a little city break and fly home on the Sunday night. I mean mainland Europe is so close to the UK and most of us do not take advantage of it. There are some negatives to this option – one is that flight prices tend to be more expensive, the other is that you are usually knackered on a Monday when you’re sat at your desk. But all worth it when your travel addiction is everything.
Don’t use annual leave on errands.
I’ve made the mistake in the past of taking time off for general life admin. You know, like going Christmas shopping when the crowds of people are at work, or getting my hair cut on a week day to avoid waiting weeks for the next weekend appointment. NO. Not a good enough use of annual leave IMO. Buy the Christmas shopping online, book beauty appointments in advance and basically just get your shit together. It’s a bit of a ballache but when these annoying little errands are planned in advance I don’t feel the need to go ‘Ugh I’ll just take a day off work and sort it all out’. You know, leaving more annual leave for fabulous trips.
Don’t go crazy on big trips.
I find this difficult. And I have actually gone against it this year, but in my defence I’m going to Australia in November and two weeks was really the minimum time I could spend there with the 26 hour flight… But my point on this one is that I feel more satisfied when I have 2 x week-long trips a month or two apart than if I have a fortnight-long trip followed by months of travel drought. It keeps me going, basically. And you get to explore two destinations instead of one!
Plan the annual leave at the beginning of the year.
As soon as the annual leave restarts, be that January or April depending on how your work does things, start planning the annual leave asap. I like to make sure my trips are spread out throughout the year with little weekends away in between. The biggest annual leave mistake you can make is to ‘save it up’ and then December rolls around, you’re forced to take the annual leave and you’re too broke to book a trip because Christmas. That’s so sad. It’s even sadder when it’s March and there aren’t even Christmassy things to do.
If you’re moving jobs, give yourself a breather in between.
I moved jobs this year and planned my Bali and Singapore trip right in the middle! Obvs this means you’re not getting paid during that time so isn’t possible for everyone but I always consider the opportunity for travel whenever there is a gap in my employment.
My annual leave this year…
So this is exactly how I’ve managed to fit so much travel in this year, in case you’re nosey like that:
3 days in Amsterdam, Netherlands = 1 annual leave day + 1 weekend
3 days in Cardiff, Wales for Traverse 16 = 1 weekend (went after work on the Friday so no annual leave used up!)
4 days in Reykjavik, Iceland = 1 annual leave day + May Bank Holiday + 1 weekend
11 days in Bali & Singapore = In between jobs so no annual leave taken, but maximised use of weekends either side.
3 days in Lisbon, Portugal = A work trip!
3 days in Prague, Czech Republic = 1 annual leave day + 1 weekend
3 days in Geneva, Switzerland = August Bank Holiday + 1 weekend
5 days at Festival No. 6, Wales = 3 annual leave days + 1 weekend
13 days in Australia = 9 days annual leave + 2 weekends
4 days in Malta = A work trip!
52 days abroad in 2016! I’m actually pretty impressed with myself, I’m not gonna lie.
There you have it, some top tips for shoving as much travel into your life as possible whilst holding down a J.O.B. I mean I know they’re mainly common sense but sometimes I need a reminder that it’ completely possible to put another trip in the diary!
How do you fit travel into your life? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!