This year I’ve been visited eight countries, and been on trips ranging from three days to two weeks. I can’t even count the number of people who have said “wow, do you have a part time job then?” or “you must get loads of annual leave”. Well… no, not really!
I’m an office manager for a charity, and I get a grand total of 20 days holiday a year, plus bank holidays. There’s a few easy tips and tricks though on how to travel more when you have a full time job:
Use bank holidays
Free days off, yes please! Flights can sometimes be more expensive on the day itself, but booking a trip over a bank holiday can give you an extra day without using your precious annual leave. Try booking over Easter to benefit from not one but two bank holiday days – package holidays are usually much more expensive because the schools are off, but you can get some good deals with budget airlines and hostels are often still in their off peak pricing months. Bonus!
Use overtime hours
I often have to go to events on a weekend or a bank holiday as part of my job. I don’t get paid overtime but do get days off in lieu if I’m not volunteering, so all of my additional hours are used to have extra trip days. If you do shift work and often cover other people’s shifts, see if they can cover yours when you’ve got a trip planned to repay the favour; you’re still working the amount of hours you should be, it helps your colleagues out and you get a day off when you actually need it – win win!
Fly out on a Friday and come back on a Monday
Use the weekend to your advantage: why go Monday to Thursday and use four annual leave days, when you can go Friday to Monday and use two?! If you’re heading off on a longer trip, look at flights on a Friday night and come back the following Sunday – for 8 full days (and a bit of the Sunday), you only need to book five days off, which sounds like a pretty good deal to me…
Book late flights
Ah, the late flight! You can really use night flights to your advantage, as you can go straight to the airport after work. You might think “yeah, but I’m gonna have to book the next day off anyway so why pay for an extra night accommodation?” Well, flights at unsociable hours are often a lot cheaper than flights at 2pm in the afternoon and, even with the extra night’s hostel added on, can still save you some cash. Also, more importantly, you can get up and get straight into the trip knowing that you’ve got a full day to explore, rather than wasting half of it on the flight, waiting for hostel check in etc – if I’ve got the option of going Thursday night or Friday lunchtime, I’ll pick Thursday night every time to give myself that precious extra half day, without needing to take more time off.
Pack in more than one destination
Visiting more than one place on a trip is a great way to get the most out of your travel time. Last year I started in Bratislava, then got the train to Vienna, then finally Budapest. If I’d have visited each of those places as individual trips, I’d have needed much more time off to fit in all the flights and airport time – or I’d have had to spend less time in each city, which would have been a real shame. Travelling from city to city by train in one trip can help you see much more of Europe, in much less time.
Do you have any tips on how to travel more when you have a full time job?