We’ve heard it over and over again: lack of free time is one of the biggest challenges keeping people from traveling as much as they’d like to.
It can be difficult to get the time off work, juggle your kids' extracurriculars, and get the whole family's schedules aligned to make a trip happen.
But you don’t have to keep going through the same monotonous, daily motions without excitement or adventure. Let’s face it: you don’t want to regret missing out on the endless memory-making opportunities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences while they’re still available (whether you think they are or not)!
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year. How are you spending yours?
Prioritizing travel among so many other important responsibilities can be tricky. But with the following useful tips, you can make your travels more frequent and fulfilling - guaranteed!
1. Shift your mindset
"I just can't afford it." "I'm too busy at work." Far too many people view travel as an unrealistic luxury. The first step in making your travel dreams a reality is to change this mindset and make travel a top priority.
This will mean making sacrifices in other areas of life. Can you cut back on eating out and stopping by Starbucks every day? Ditch the cable? Take the bus instead of an Uber? By keeping travel on par (or higher) than the rest of things that you spend time and money on, you will more easily be able to work it into your daily life.
2. Prioritize your bucket list
There’s a vast world out there! This can make choosing a destination overwhelming and could even lead to decision paralysis - where you may end up not taking any trip at all!
Is your goal to visit all 50 states? All the countries in Europe? All 7 World Wonders? If you only have, say, 1 trip a year that you can budget time for, you better make it count! Be sure to put it in writing just like you would with any goal so that you are more likely to achieve it.
Then, assuming you have the most important tool for achieving your travel goals (a push pin map), place a pin in your map for all of the places that are top of your list. By visualizing these places daily, it will keep your next adventure always top of mind and remind you to keep your priorities straight! Don’t have one yet? Click here.
3. Plan your days off far in advance
A survey done by Expedia.com showed that one of the top reasons that Americans skipped vacations was because they weren't able to schedule them far enough in advance.
Planning your trips in advance gives you a better chance of getting your time-off requests approved and also saves you money.
And then you’ll have a vacation to look forward to! Sometimes the planning and anticipating can be just as exciting and uplifting as taking the trip itself.
4. Negotiate for more PTO
Whether you’re starting a new job or your annual review is coming up, instead of just asking for a raise, negotiate for more vacation time! Bonus: Travel makes you a better employee. You’re likely more adaptable, curious, open minded and a better problem solver.
5. Take unpaid leave
If your company is on a tight budget and can’t approve your request for more paid vacation time, consider asking for unpaid vacation time. Maybe you can make up for the lost income by taking on freelance work. Or instead of working more, try cutting some unnecessary luxuries from your everyday life. Remember, it’s all about priorities.
6. Find a job that requires travel
There are the obvious careers which frequently involve travel, such as a flight attendant, pilot, or cruise ship staff . But think outside of the box! There are often opportunities in sales or as a consultant where you have to foster relationships with clients across the US or the world. Or, look into working for a global corporation with offices around the world.
Other options include teaching English in another country, becoming an au pair or an international aid worker. The possibilities are endless! Check out this comprehensive list of the top travel jobs!
7. Extend work trips
Does your job already require travel? Extend these trips to the weekend to give you time to explore the destination (or add in a stopover in a cool place before you head home). You’ll save on tickets and flying time. If your work takes you to places you find uninteresting, take a look around to find a nearby town that may be more exciting.
8. Take time off between jobs
There’s a magical window of opportunity between leaving a job and starting a new one. Don’t let this time go to waste! Now, this isn’t practical for everyone, if you don’t have the money saved up, or if you aren’t thinking of switching jobs any time soon. But for many, it’s a prime time to squeeze in an international trip before settling back into a new job.
9. Take all of the time off you are given
Over half of Americans are still not using all their paid time off, leaving 768 million days of PTO on the table, according to a study by the US Travel Association. That's 768 million missed opportunities to recharge, gain new experiences and connect with family and friends. A real shame if you ask us!
Many people don’t use their vacation days because they feel guilty doing so, or keep them "just in case" of an unexpected event. Check your company's policies. Most allow for bereavement time and days off for emergencies.
10. Start an online business
Now, this isn’t practical for all career paths. But you could be a freelance writer, social media manager, web developer, graphic designer, etc. You’ll have to schedule time to actually be productive (typically 40+ hours). But you can spend the rest of the time exploring whichever destination you decide to work from.
11. Request remote work
Imagine sitting on the beach, watching the sunrise in tropical warmth, rather than the stuffy office. Now that we're in the digital age, remote work is much more common than it used to be. If your job only requires a computer and an internet connection, then technically it can be done remotely. Ask about your company's policy on remote work and then prove yourself and your productivity so that they trust this decision.
12. Ask for flexible scheduling
Depending on the nature of your work, consider asking to work ten days on and four days off. Or four days of ten hour work with three weekend days. This way, you have larger blocks of time to take small trips.
13. Add vacation days to holidays off
If you plan around holidays, you can really maximize your travel potential. And while it can be a chaotic and pricey nightmare at times, if you travel on the holiday itself, you will usually find smaller crowds and better deals. For example, adding only four vacation days to a three-day-weekend gives you a whopping nine days off from work!
14. Take the red eye flight
Red eyes are overnight flights, often used when you're traveling from west to east in the US, or from the US to Europe. They offer many benefits for travelers as they are often cheaper, allow for faster check in, and are not always at full capacity. Plus, you can sleep on the plane rather than in a hotel, saving you additional money and time.
15. Travel solo (or sans kids)
Traveling with another person can be difficult to coordinate, especially when you both have tight schedules already. If you are willing to go it alone from time to time, you will find it much easier to plan and make it happen!
16. Play tourist in your own town
“Traveling” doesn't have to mean crossing oceans or going thousands of miles away from home. When you can’t quite line up enough time or can’t find the extra cash for a longer trip, it’s time to play tourist in your own town! Think of it as a “staycation” where you can enjoy the same mood-boosting benefits of travel by exploring your own neighborhood - without spending as much or suffering from jet lag.
17. Take shorter weekend getaways
The trick is not to venture too far from home. Pick a destination that is less than a 4-5 hour drive or a 1-2 hour flight to explore for the weekend.
Realize that last minute weekend trips are far more dependent on flights than accommodation. You can always find low-cost accommodation if you need it, but you can’t always find cheap flights. So book flights as soon as possible!
Bottom line: You don't have to quit your job or neglect all of your responsibilities in order to travel the world. It is so possible to fit into a busy life by following these simple steps!
There’s a massive world out there, just waiting to be explored. And if you’re like us, you’re on a mission to see and do as much as possible in this lifetime.
It’s important to prioritize your bucket list and what’s most important to you so that you can be sure to make time to fit it all in! You don’t want to miss out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities or look back on your life wishing you had experienced more of the world around you because you were too caught up in the daily grind.
Good news! We are on your side and make it super simple to narrow down all of the destinations you want to visit, experiences you want to have, and travel goals you want to accomplish along your journey.
With our personalizable push pin maps, you can document all of the places you’ve already been, while noticing the gaps in your experiences so you can prioritize where you want to go next.
We’ve found that when your bucket list is always top of mind and made visual in your home, that traveling is much less overwhelming and more practical to make happen! You are less likely to make excuses, much more likely to place that next trip at the very top of your to-do list, and make it a reality!
Simply start by getting a great looking map for yourself. You can be on the way to achieving your travel dreams instead of watching time go by, hoping that “someday” they will just magically become reality.