I'll be the first to admit that I love to travel but I have bills. Adulting requires me to work a full-time job which means that I have a dedicated amount of time off from work. Thankfully, I've been working for my current employer for a few years so I've accrued a few weeks of vacation time. However, I still have to use it carefully.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "I only receive 2-3 weeks of paid time off from my employer. How am I supposed to travel with that?"
Your full-time job doesn't have to get in between you and your quest for wanderlust. Check out the following five tips that will allow you to maximize your time off without breaking the bank.
1. Don't Disregard the Power in a Weekend Trips. Vacations don't always have to be lengthy to be enjoyable. Are there any nearby cities or states that would be great for a quick trip? Since Dallas is its own country (just kidding), I love taking quick road trips to Austin and Houston. When I lived in Virginia, I use to love driving up to cities like Washington, DC, Baltimore, and New York for the weekend. A quick escape from life's monotony can be the perfect reliever.
2. Fly During Off-Peak Times. Many travelers choose to fly to and from their destinations on Fridays and Sundays. I do the opposite. Airfares are typically higher on these days. Instead, try flying out to your destination on a Saturday morning and returning on a Monday or Tuesday. You'll find that flights are less expensive, airports are less crowded, and hotel rates are cheaper. During my last trip to Phoenix, I booked an early Saturday morning flight. I arrived to Phoenix at 9am, grabbed an early breakfast, and was already off exploring before my hotel room was even ready. I returned home on Tuesday and ending up spending $96 on my round trip flight.
3. Travel During Holidays that People Overlook. Many companies in the US give employees time off for holidays such as Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Columbus Day, etc. Use these days to your advantage! I love planning travel around government holidays that fall on Monday or Tuesdays. By combining one of these days with a weekend, and taking an extra day off from your you can easily have 4 days towards a vacation.
4. Use Business Trips to Your Advantage. Corporate travel doesn't always allow time for much downtime. Before you head off, do a quick search on Yelp for great local restaurants that are in proximity to your hotel. You can also do the same on TripAdvisor to search for the most popular attractions and things to do.
5. Use Half Days When Needed. There have been times when I've left work early and headed straight to the airport. The same can be said when returning back home from a trip. Don't dismiss the power in taking a half day off from work. This can easily give you a jump-start or extender for your trip.
Do you work full-time? What are some strategies that you use to plan travel around your work schedule?