Travel Easy - Finding Time off from work
How to afford non-paid time off
For those of you who would like to take time off but can’t find time to get away because you’re barely making ends meet as it is, you could think about creating some side-income. Many people seem to need every penny they earn at work and taking time off means missing out on that income. If you can’t miss out on any income, how could you possibly afford to travel?
If your credit is still in good shape, you could sign up to receive credit card bonuses (ONLY if you pay your full balance each month). These typically require that you spend a certain amount in a certain amount of time to receive the bonus - but, if you can arrange it to pay all of your regular bills with that card and then pay off the card right away then you can meet that requirement and receive $500-$1,000 in travel rewards or cash!
Another quick way to get started is to rent out your spare room or car. Listing your extra room on Airbnb takes less than an hour, or you could list your car on TURO within a few hours. The great thing about this is that you don’t have to have a house. Many people list their apartments, condos, or even list tents in their backyards successfully if they are in the right areas! Some people specifically arrange to rent out their room or house on Airbnb while they are traveling and use the extra money earned from that to pay for costs during their trip! Both places look over any applicants and will cover you for any damages - although we have never had any issues!
For a whole list of additional side-income ideas that actually work, check out the detailed list on our free Nomad Guide. Generating some sort of side-income seems to be the best way to afford to take time off from work when you really can’t afford to take time off. This side-income will offset the amount you don’t earn while you’re on your trip!
When you only have Evenings and Weekends
Many people only seem to have a day or two off from work at a time. Utilizing your evenings and weekends is a simpler way to get some travel time in. You could take a road trip to a neighboring town or city. Spend a night or two in a hotel there and explore that area instead. When we were living in Orlando, Florida we did a few mini-vacations like this to St. Pete Beach (Florida), St. Augustine (Florida), and Savannah (Georgia). They turned out to be really memorable vacations - even though they only lasted a night or two each.
You could even be a tourist in your own town or city. It’s interesting to think that many people never really explore their own areas. Many of the people we’ve met along our travels couldn’t tell us as much about the area they came from as the areas they’ve traveled to. When people ask me what to do in Chicago, the city I grew up near, I fumble for things to say because I never really explored Chicago as an adult or as a traveler. It might make sense to see what there actually is to do in your area and start putting together your own blog or website as you have the unique ability to be an expert in your own city. If you plan to do this, consider signing up on TripAdvisor and Yelp, or as a Google Guide, and put together a list of reviews. Soon, you’ll be considered a local expert and you’ll get many perks on top of website traffic for your helpful hints. Start by trying a new restaurant, check out the seasonal museum exhibits, or explore the local fairs and festivals. Do a search on Google for “best things to do in (your city)”.
Depending on your location, it’s even possible to do a weekend trip abroad. If you're flexible about the location, keep an eye on last-minute airfare deals from your home airport to get great deals on weekend trips. Some friends of ours keep an eye out for these deals and have picked up round trip weekend flights from Orlando, Florida to places like New York, Montreal, and Toronto! If you can find a great deal, the one or two night trip can definitely be worth it.
When you’re using Holidays and Vacation time to visit Family
It is difficult when your friends and family live a far distance from you. Many people end up using their vacation time to visit them instead of actually getting to go on a legitimate vacation. This is likely more of an issue for people who don’t have much vacation time to begin with.
You could try alternating years with your friends and family much like how some couples alternate holidays with parents who live in different states. Let your friends and family know that you’ll visit in the even numbered years and request that they visit you in the odd numbered years. This way you will be able to go on actual vacations every other year, and if they are insistent that you are the one who moved away, apologize to them, but insist that they consider your wishes as well. Use the holidays to go on that trip you’ve always been dreaming about.
Alternatively, you could arrange group trips. Many friends and family enjoy traveling with each other as it helps create stronger bonds between the people who go because they need to work together as a team and figure out the things that are different as a group.
Consider Work-From-Home/Remote Work
Maybe you just started a new job and don’t have vacation time accrued yet. Maybe you found a really great flight deal but it’s during a busy season at your job. Maybe you’ve already used up your vacation/paid-time-off for the year. Find out if you can do your job remotely. You may start off with just one or two days a week remotely, but with a global Wi-Fi plan your home office could be on a beach, up in the mountains, or even a comfy hotel room.
Have you been up for a promotion or a pay increase but your employer says they simply can’t afford it right now? If they are aware of your skills and you are a key employee, chances are that they’ll offer you the ability to work remotely for a few days per month instead of offering you more money. If so, you may have just found a way to take an extended vacation somewhere, albeit you may have to do a bit of work during the day on a few of those days, you can now explore a different place for a little while longer!
Work won’t let you have time off because they Need You
More than half of US workers don’t use their vacation time. Sometimes requesting or arranging time off can be challenging especially if it isn’t encouraged in your workplace. Here are some tips to help you:
Ask in advance and get approval in writing. You can send your request via email.
Have a plan delegating your responsibilities while you’re away.
If needed, offer to check-in and respond to urgent messages.
Request time off during less busy times.
Once your time off is approved, commit to your travel plans. You can always get travel insurance for emergencies in case you need to cancel, but most work situations that come up are not true emergencies. Some travel insurance policies do have cancel-for-any-reason options for additional prices. Check with your provider for their offerings.
How fellow explorers are finding time off from work:
“Work to live, not live to work” - Steven L.
“…I cover nearby place[s] which are under 50 km on Sunday by bike...and the[n] come back home at night....it keeps the stress level minimum...” - Shubham J.
“Australia has paid annual leave of 4 weeks per year. That excludes public holidays.” - Vico K.
“I try to plan something significant far in advance every couple years, put it on calendars, get commitment from manager, then actually buy tickets, book activities and events. With advance planning and spending, it is easier to push back on Last-minute work demands/requests. Then I lace this plan with lots of smaller more regional breaks through the year.” - Steven F.
“I have a well paying professional job, so i dont get much time to travel for long durations, so, i make do: Frequent travels, just shorter.” - Mike M.
“I quit…” - Mette P.
“I just travel twice a yr and during my holidays only max of 2 weeks.” - Dailila L.
“You can see a lot in 2 weeks, you just have to work harder to plan your trip! My last 2 trips have been 2 weeks, 10 days off work. This year I drove the Rocky Mountains (Vancouver - Calgary, Canada) and last year I visited Mexico, America and Canada sto[p]ping at New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville and Niagara Falls. You will be amazed how much you can fit into 2 weeks and slowly cross off your bucket list 😃” - Charlotte T.
“I' am now a self employed (I am the boss of my self ) so I have time for travel.” - Natividad R.
“I also work for myself and have done so for 13 years - including digital nomad. I also travelled all of my 20's. I created a lifestyle & study to fit in with the what I wanted. Sometimes pure luck other times intentional. Very happy with my choices ❣😎 Onwards and Upwards.” - Monique D.
“I do consulting / contract work and travel between gigs. American companies are the worst about vacation.” - Brent J.
“I’ve got my own business, so I can take off when I want (to an extent). I just leave my manager in control when I’m gone. I took 11 weeks last year. So far this year, only about 5 weeks.” - Jason B.
“There will always be another job.” - Lee-vi N.
“Work online. There are many job opportunities, just gotta look hard enough. Then you can travel all the time!” - Cory W.
“Ah, the joys of the 9 to 5 job :-) Yeah, it is tough to get your travel bug fix in, but totally doable. I agree with all suggestions above. I plan 2-3 week long trips and make the most of the holiday. I typically focus on exploring 1-2 countries at a time; you can see quite a bit in 2-3 weeks. It gives me something to plan for and get excited about every year. I also take advantage (where it makes sense to) of some organized tours so maximize the shorter trip time I have by cutting out the planning phase of traveling between communities or getting to far off places needing permits. The only downside to these smaller trips, is you end up spending a bit more on travel (e.g flights) to condense it. If I were to go for 4 months traveling, I could cut down on the number of long haul flights from North America, and just hop shorter flights between countries (e.g. Japan to South Korea to Taiwan - instead of 3 separate long flights from home). In between the 'once a year' larger trips, I plan lots of weekend/day trips. There's always amazing things to explore in your own backyard - remember- people come to your country/state/province/town for tourism...so take advantage of your proximity and be a tourist in your neighbourhood :-D” - Mecailla C.
“Self employed! Freedom to work and travel!” - Maria H.
“We're rich.” - Manjeet S.
“I chose flight attendant career! At least, if I HAVE to work I still travel! 😂” - Cynthia L.
“I don't work too often.....more time for travel that way.” - Petra O.
“Until recently I worked 50 hours a week (minimum, usually more) as a restaurant manager but had 4 weeks paid holiday. Using hospitality shift patterns to my advantage I’ve managed to visit 20 countries last year, mainly through weekend breaks, which I can schedule not at the weekend avoiding peak prices, and I can even schedule in an almost 3 day weekend without using annual leave by working early or late... Work hard but play harder! You’ve always got time to rest later.” - Jenni Y.
“Money returns, time doesn’t 💕 Make memories.” - Michelle L.