By Jessica Russo
We get it - finding time to travel isn't easy. Maybe you're new at your job or maybe you're trying to land a big promotion; either way, taking a week off sounds impossible.
Sitting at your desk, you find yourself scrolling through your friends' vacation photos - hey, it’s ok to be jealous! Your mind wanders to quaint cafes in Paris, the glistening blue sea surrounding Santorini, and the Kerry green hills of Ireland. Suddenly, your daydream ends and you snap back to the reality of meetings and computers.
Well, we're here to share some good news: traveling with a full-time job is not impossible. Here's how to make those daydreams real dreams, and how to turn that reality of meetings and computers into a reality of bucket list adventures.
Say "yes" to quick jaunts
Traveling abroad doesn't always mean grand, 2-week-long exotic adventures. If you find a good deal, why not take a long weekend trip? Just 6 hours from the East Coast, cities like London, Edinburgh, or Dublin make the perfect mini-adventure. Live on the West Coast? Escape to Mexico or Cartagena for a few days! Let's face it - you'll never feel like you had enough time in a destination, no matter how long you stay. With proper planning, you can get the full feel of a city in less than a week. And hey, more short trips means more places crossed off your bucket list!
Be honest with your boss
Cut the "I think I'm gonna' be sick all week" nonsense. Hate to break it to ya', but you're not fooling anyone. Instead of sneaking around and lying your way across the world, simply be honest. Your boss and co-workers will respect your decision to travel much more if they are told the truth in advance. Think: you won't have to worry about what you or your travel companions post on social media! C'mon, post that picture of you eating gelato in Rome. It's your turn to make them jealous.
Straddle holiday weekends
As a full-time employee, there is no more perfect time to travel than during holiday weekends. Okay, we don't necessarily mean Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any of the "big travel" holidays; we mean those less-celebrated holidays when airports aren't jam-packed with turkey-hungry family members. Pack on a couple days of PTO to a three-day-weekend and, voila! A week to travel!
Keep an eye out for deals
Even if you don't plan on traveling anytime soon, it never hurts to check for good deals. Who knows when you're gonna find that too-good-to-pass-up offer!? Usually, you'll be able to book something months out, which will give you some time to plan and confirm dates with your boss.
Plan out your PTO
Lay out a calendar and black-out any important meeting, event, or holiday dates on which you're unable to travel. Next, highlight those beloved three-or-four-day holiday weekends, on which you know you'll have off from work. With those two major factors in mind, begin planning! Have your travel companion do the same, this way you two can compare your calendars and find dates that work for both of you. Visually seeing months in-front of you can help put planning into perspective.
Take overnight flights
A little sleep, a lot of extra leisure time. A Thursday-night flight means that you can still go to work on Thursday, sleep during the flight, and wake up on Friday in a brand new place! It's the perfect way to maximize a short getaway.
Use your vacation days
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you wouldn't believe how many people don't take advantage of their vacation days! We get it - one thing leads to another, you have important meetings - and then all of a sudden, the year is over, right? Be sure to keep them in mind and plan when you're going to use them in the beginning of the year. Let no vacation day be forgotten!
Don't be afraid to travel alone
This one is huge. Imagine never visiting your dream country, just because you couldn't find anyone to go with you? C'mon, you only live once! It's perfectly understandable to be afraid of solo travel - it can be super intimidating. Before we traveled alone, we felt that exact anxiety. But, guess what? Almost everyone who travels solo says they'd do it again. Of course, traveling with friends and loved ones is amazing, but there's something special about experiencing something totally on your own. There are also tons of safety-net options, like guided tours! Make new friends while you travel, or simply enjoy the comfort and convenience of traveling with a group. All-in-all, don't rely on others to make your dream trips a reality.