I feel like many travel blogs I come across are along the lines of this: hating your job and cubicle life, spending every day dreading the office, and then quitting that job to travel the world.
There's nothing wrong with that - I believe you should do what makes you happy. If working at your job doesn't make you happy, work somewhere else! Or find a way to quit and travel.
...But what if you like your job? And still want to travel?
Before I graduated college, I was beyond afraid of committing to a full-time job in fear that it would make me "stuck" and prevent me from seeing the world. I ended up moving to Italy for about six months to work abroad. I had an great time traveling around Europe. But then I returned home and was on the hunt for a full-time job.
Now that I actually have a full-time job, I'm realizing that a full-time commitment isn't as scary as I thought it would be. And I actually really like my job. That's not something you come across very often - a travel blogger who actually is okay with working 8-5! (For now, at least). Even though I'm not traveling constantly, I work in a rewarding position that allows me to fulfill one of my many passions in life: working with students in higher education.
But I still ache to travel everywhere. That's where holidays and vacation time come in. In a few weeks I'm going to New York for a quick 3-day trip. This summer I'll be in China for most of July. Shorter trips to see friends and family around the US are scattered throughout the year as well.
Traveling with a full-time job is doable. Here are a few ways:
1. Actually use your vacation days
Apparently 40% of Americans don't use all their vacation time. Knowing that most Americans get about 5-10 vacation days per year in entry-level positions, that makes me want to cry. Using your vacation days lowers levels of stress, making for an overall happier life filled with new experiences - or even just a relaxing couple of days off.
So, please, use your vacation days. Not just to fulfill your aching desire to travel, but for your health and sanity.
2. Travel on holidays
From a budget traveler's perspective, traveling on a holiday would be "taboo" in most cases since the price of flights, hotels, etc. tend to spike during holiday times. However, a holiday off work is a precious day off, and, if used wisely, doesn't have to be too expensive.
3. Schedule vacation days around work holidays
Since many work holidays fall on Mondays or Fridays, you've already got a 3-day weekend. Build that 3-day weekend into your trip schedule to maximize your time. This allows you to use less vacation days for one trip...meaning you can put those toward another trip later in the year.
4. Go somewhere nearby for a weekend getaway
Road trip somewhere close. Maybe you're traveling west to the beaches or to a winery a few hours away. Maybe you live close to New York and can just hop on a bus to get there. Maybe you live in Europe and a few hours on a train will show you to a new country.
5. Take red-eye flights
I'm slightly dreading the red-eye flight I'm taking to New York in few weeks. Melatonin for the flight and a large iced coffee upon landing should do the trick, though. It beats spending a majority of a day in transport since my time over there is short.
6. Extend your work trip through the weekend
Ask your boss if your flights can be flexible. For example, if your work trip is Wednesday - Friday see if you can return on Sunday. You might be able to stay at the hotel through the weekend - out of your own cost, of course - or find an alternative place to stay.
7. Use unpaid vacation days (wisely)
If your job doesn't offer paid vacation time, or you are over your maximum amount, see if you can look into taking unpaid vacation. You'll need to make sure you budget accordingly and assure you can still cover your rent and other expenses when your paycheck dips.
8. Work remotely
If you are able to work remotely with your job, you might be able to extend a trip with another week or so (or even longer) in a destination. Keep in mind that you still need to actually be working. Though you still have your off-hours to explore wherever you're at!