Part of what I am proud of is that we manage to hold down 2 full time jobs, run a household, look after 2 house rabbits and travel as much as we do. Yes, we don’t currently have any children so it is a little bit easier but it does take some pre-planning.
Come January my first job is to sort out what time off we want in the following 12 months to get the most out of our days. In the UK we have a statutory minimum of 20 days, if you’re lucky you get bank holidays on top of this and if you’re even luckier you will get more than the minimum. I understand that some jobs come with a requirement for holidays to be at certain times which can make it a little tricker but it’s all about making travel the priority.
If you really want to travel put it at the top of your list.
Part of what I struggle with is not having enough time, or money, to take a long trip every month. To be honest I think that is most people’s struggle whether they want to go away or not. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to never have to work and see the world without a care!
How do I combat this? Well, I like to make the most of long weekends. We go on at least 2 city breaks a year that straddle a long weekend. Most of the time this only requires 1 or 2 days of our annual leave. You can see a lot in a couple of days and if you get a bit more choosey about when you go you can get even more.
Our preference is to travel to the destination, by plane, car or train, the night before after we finish work. This can mean a late night but it does mean we wake up where we want to be raring to go. This isn’t for everyone and does generally cost a bit more but we think it’s worth it. The other option is to travel early in the morning – not practical for 2 non-morning people!!
Depending on where you live i.e. near an airport or if you aren’t going far you could even travel back on the morning you go back to work! Ultimate maximisation of time.
This does go hand in hand with long weekends if you want to go that bit further. Now I am aware that not everyone gets bank holiday but any public or national holiday counts. If you don’t get them off then just work your shifts to give you time off at other times in the week. All you need is a few days.
I find for longer trips bank holidays can be the key, pretty much every long trip (more than 5 days) we take straddles a bank holiday. Whether it’s at the beginning, end or middle it gives us an extra day (or 2 at Easter) to give us more time.
Take this year as an example, we went to the Lake District for 5 days leaving Friday and returning Tuesday. Normally this would mean 3 days of leave but as we went over Easter weekend it was only 1 as the Friday and Monday were bank holidays! Result!
This did mean it was a little busier and the weather wasn’t peak season but it gave us the most for what we had. It’s again putting travel at the top of your list, make your own coffee at work for a month to afford the higher flight prices over a holiday weekend for example.
We then used another bank holiday in May when we went to Hungary, a whole week off only needed 4 days.
Mid-week to mid-week
This is a way to make you feel like you’re off for longer than you are and help the purse strings.
I like to try and travel during the week for longer trips to make the most of cheaper flights, quieter airports and if it’s 2 week holiday makes me feel like I’ve been off for 3.
If you travel Wednesday to Wednesday over 2 weeks you get days off in week 1, all of week 2 and some days in week 3. Result!
It doesn’t have to be far away
So, you’ve put travel at the top of your list but you don’t want to go far or you don’t have the funds to. That’s okay, go somewhere local or visit your town/city as if you were a tourist.
Travel doesn’t have to be round the world or to instagram popular destinations, it can be a one night camping trip 20 miles down the road. Or, an afternoon visiting museums and quirky coffee shops in your local town. It’s something I sometimes forget, everyone has so much on their doorstep there isn’t really any need to go far away meaning anyone can scratch that wanderlust itch.
In a world where climate change is happening and being sustainable is becoming ever more needed, I’m conscious that a lot of our trips require flights and are long distance which doesn’t leave us with a great carbon footprint. I’m determined to discover more of what’s on my doorstep and in my own country. Watch this space!!!
Tack on time off to a business trip
This is one that we very rarely take advantage of, mainly because neither of us have jobs which require us to travel to new places (other than London) but is something which could be widely useful. I added this onto the list after reading about a friend adding a trip to Las Vegas onto a business trip to the States and it really is such a good idea.
You use less time off because you are already in the place you want to be. Plus if you’re really lucky your flight home will be covered by business expenses!
This list is nowhere near complete, I am sure there are tons of other tips on the internet that can help you maximise your time. I’m looking forward to adding new tips to my list.
It is hard work if you want to see the world and hold down a “normal” adult life, we make sacrifices like not buying coffee or clothes and not going out every Friday, all to afford those trips we want to take. Knowing how and when to take time off to get the most of your time makes it a little bit easier!
Do you have any tips I’m missing!?
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