Are you trying to decide if you should quit your job to travel long-term, or find a way to take cool trips without sacrificing a location-based career?
Do you have incurable wanderlust?
This is where "vacation hacking" comes in.
Basically, "vacation hacking" is getting strategic and creative when it comes to how you use vacation time to maximize travel.
I think I just made up this term, I'm not sure if it's been used around the internet yet...? If so let me know, haha. Anyways...
Using "Vacation Hacking" To Maximize Your Travel
Basically there are two ways to travel:
1) Traveling without working
- Traveling on a vacation/holiday without working, whether this is outside a location-based job or travel job
- Or you are traveling indefinitely without working (ex: you saved up a decent amount of money to take an extended trip around the world, and later on when your income dips you plan on getting a job/earning some other type of income)
2) Traveling while working
- Working while you travel - what I call a "work + travel lifestyle"
- Working while you travel can be short-term, long-term, or open-ended (so any length of time)
For me, the key for my international travels is that I work somewhere else using my vacation time. However for shorter trips around the US I get strategic with my time and money without working.
Remember: "vacation hacking" means you can get creative and strategic with how you travel and use vacation time - whether you have a location-based job or not.
Hack your vacations without working while you travel
Okay, I'm sure you've noticed that there are a lot of travel blogs out there that say how they "couldn't stand the 9-5 life anymore" and talk about how they quit their jobs to travel the world.
That is one way to travel, and if you want to travel indefinitely and have completely open plans then for sure look into ways to make it happen!
It is possible, especially when there is endless inspiration - especially from travel bloggers - who have quit their jobs to travel.
You don't have to quit your job to travel, though. Currently I work full-time 8-5 in a non-travel job.
You can read all about how I took 8 trips in 2015 while working full time here, and more tips for traveling with a full-time job here.
My best tips for traveling around a full-time job/getting strategic with limited vacation time are:
- Accruing vacation time? Save it for longer trips or international vacations that require more travel time. Use weekends, long weekends, and holidays for shorter trips.
- Work with your supervisor and HR department. Make sure you get their approval before booking a crazy epic trip if you want to keep your job when you return! I always keep communication with my (luckily very supportive) supervisor when it comes to traveling and taking unpaid vacation time.
- If you use unpaid vacation...use it wisely! First, make sure your work approves, and second, make sure you can cover any bills or fixed monthly costs when your paycheck dips.
- Use weekends to your advantage. This includes long weekends with holidays. While this can be more expensive than traveling during the week, it doesn't use up precious vacation days. Check out deal websites like Skyscanner and Kayak for flight deals and TripAdvisor for travel tips.
- Book a flight that leaves after your work day is over so you can spare another vacation day (just make sure to be all packed the night before!)
- Red eye flights aren't that great, but can spare you a night of accommodation as well. You should try to reserve red eyes for only long flights if possible - unless you're really good at sleeping on planes, in which case I'm jealous.
Hack your vacations and work while you travel
A work + travel lifestyle is how I've managed to work multiple international travel jobs over the past few years. It is also the only way I've managed to afford to have both the TIME AND MONEY to travel internationally!
Seriously, I've been able to travel for much longer and for less by working while I travel. This is how I turned an attempted plan of traveling for not even a week in Europe to instead living in Italy for six months and traveling to 11 countries for my job.
Oh, and I only pick FUN travel jobs. It's still work, but I enjoy it. There's no point in working while you travel if you don't enjoy the work part of it too!
Luckily, there are a TON of work + travel opportunities all over the globe, so you're bound to find something that works with your time, budget, and interests.
My best vacation hacking tips for working while you travel are:
- First, choose the length of time you want to travel: short-term, long-term, or open-ended. This post goes over each of these in further detail.
- See which work + travel opportunities are out there that align with your interests. Popular travel jobs include finding something through Work Away, teaching english abroad, being a tour guide, or being a digital nomad.
- (A digital nomad is someone who is location-independent and makes money online, whether that is through working remotely, running an online business, or running a popular travel blog/website.)
- Work up to it! If your main goal is to get an open-ended travel job but you know it won't work out for a while, land a short-term travel job to travel in the meantime.
- Combine multiple travel jobs at once. For example, if you're working part-time remotely and can be based anywhere, look into a second part-time job that includes a travel component. So say you work part-time as a virtual assistant but also love skiing - look into winter ski resort jobs that allow you to work and hit the slopes, but still allow you time to complete your VA work.
Are you a side hustler?
Keep this in mind: do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.
I know there are many digital nomad or travel blogger hopefuls out there who are spending a lot of time at home to work and save before they later hit "success" and travel.
Yes, do what you have to do, but if you love traveling as much as the rest of us, then really try to find ways to travel in the meantime! It is possible!
Especially if you're starting a side hustle, it can sometimes take a long time to get things off the ground. Get strategic and find ways to travel in the meantime! Working while you travel can definitely help, and if you're a travel blogger then you've got more material to add to your blog. ;)