So often we hear from people that they’d love to travel more, but life gets in the way. The two biggest reasons that ALWAYS pop up are work and money. Either people can’t get away from work or they can’t afford the trips they want to take.
We are here to tell you that you can get around those two things! We use the following 9 secrets to maximize our own travel time, and we promise they will help you maximize yours.
Leave Straight from Work on Your Way Out
Find a flight that leaves in the evening on your last day of work before your trip. Travel days leave you jet-lagged and looking for a bed, so you might as well take a snooze on the evening you get there! That way you won’t waste a day and you’ll be ready to start bright and early on the first REAL day of your trip.
If you really want to go all out, you can even try and get a red-eye flight home and head straight to work from the airport. If you do these 2 things, you can fly out on a Thursday night, spend all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in a new place, then fly back Sunday night! You’ll only use 1 day of time off and you get a full 3 days in a new place!
Save Up Paid Time Off / Sick Time for Vacation
If you are a hypochondriac, this might not be for you. We NEVER take sick days at work. Why? Because that’s one less day we can use on vacation! If we are actually sick, we will bring computers home and work from there. Zach has even barricaded himself in an empty office before to make sure he isn’t spreading germs around the office, ANYTHING TO KEEP THOSE DAYS FOLKS!
You’ll want to save these days up and use them in chunks. When you are taking days off, use weekends and holidays to your advantage. Is Monday a holiday? Maybe use 4 days off and then BAM! You have a trip ready from Friday to the following Sunday night! a 10 day trip and you only had to use 4 days off!
We read Tim Ferriss’s book The 4-Hour Workweek (link below) and learned a TON about maximizing travel time. He goes into great detail about how to work remotely, create multiple forms of income, and maximize time doing what you love. In our case that means traveling!
Choose Destination Based on Flight Price
To maximize your time away from home, you’re going to need to stretch your money. The less you spend on each trip, the more trips you can afford!
We wrote a post about how to save money while traveling, but by far the best item in there is to choose your destination based on flight price. The flight is probably going to be the most expensive item, so anything you can do to minimize that expense will be HUGE!
First off, you have to make a list of places you’d love to go. We like to choose 5 to 10 places spread around the world.
Second, decide on dates you would be comfortable with. As we talked about earlier, ideally you’ll leave on your last day in the office and get home the night before you’re back in the office.
Third, set up a flight tracker. We use Google Flights. Set up the tracker for every destination on your list for the times you’re okay with, and let Google do the work. They’ll tell you when your flight prices look best, and what destination will be the cheapest. Choose the cheapest one!
If you keep a running list of places you want to go, then you can keep your flight tracker on all the time! Then you are basically guaranteeing you will minimize the money you spend on flights as you’re traveling around the world!
Go Places You Know People and Couch Surf!
Zach took a guys trip to Seattle this year, and the entire trip cost less than $200 for flight and room. Why? Because he tracked flights, and because he has a brother in Seattle!
The whole group (5 children trapped in adult male bodies) was able to crash on the couch at Zach’s brother’s, saving a couple nickels and making their travel money last longer!
In a new city, you won’t be spending your days inside your place. As long as you have a place to leave your bag and rest your head, then you’re good to go!
I know you’re probably thinking ‘yeah yeah we get it you’re obsessed with hiking, you talk about it in every freaking post.’ We do love the feeling of climbing a mountain or trekking through a forrest. But there’s another reason: hiking is free! At least it should be if you’re finding the right places.
Again a Seattle example, we wrote a blog about how there are 3 AMAZING hikes within 30 miles of the city. The best part? We did all three for a total cost of $0. Cheaper than a gum ball, folks.
Find Work on the Road
There are many opportunities to teach in other countries, this is especially true if you can speak and write in fluent English. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to teach in some countries, only a high school diploma. However, if you do have a bachelors or more, you’ll be able to make a higher salary than those with only a high school diploma.
Get Creative: Sell Your Products or Services
I certainly do not encourage anyone to become a “begpacker” BUT if you have artsy skills, there could be a way for you to earn money while you travel. I’ve met travelling hairdressers, jewellery makers, couple photographers and massage therapists throughout my adventures, mostly in hostels. If you have a skill you can offer to people, use it to your advantage and make some money as you travel.
House and pet sitting gives you the opportunity to “baby sit” someone else’s home and furry friend. Perhaps the owner is going away for work or spends half the year in another location, you’d be there to care for the house and animal(s) all while not having to pay for accommodations. Everyone wins. House and pet sitting isn’t taken advantage of enough. This is such a great option especially if you’re open and flexible with your travel plans or are able to work remotely and interested in living abroad for a longer time.
Become a Digital Nomad
Becoming a digital nomad does not mean that you are on a permanent vacation. It means your a small business owner, freelancer, entrepreneur, hustler, working all day and night (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled all nighters to get a video up or blog post out). The benefit? Having my office beach front one day and a jungle treehouse the next.
Take a Break
Save up some money and take a break from working! Some people call this a mini-retirement, others might call it a sabbatical. Whatever you label it, taking 3 months to travel across SE Asia and re-charge your batteries will always be a great choice!
Do you think that 3 years down the road you’ll regret backpacking through South America for a few months? I’ll bet my bottom dollar you won’t. But you might regret never pulling the trigger on your trip of a lifetime! Work will always be waiting for you when you need to go make a few bucks.
Then you can start saving for your next jaunt to a new continent!
Of course, budgeting will stretch your money for as long as possible. Without a budget, you’ll splurge on an expensive dinner or excursion, and you’ll spend all your money before you wanted to. With an effective budget, you’ll be ready to rock and roll!
Budgeting advice from Lonely Planet:
Once you’ve worked out how much you need, then you’ve got a figure you can save towards. Some people make this number their screensaver or put it on their fridge using this saving goal as motivation to go to work everyday.
Have your very own telethon-style countdown as you save towards the goal. If you find saving tough, try budgeting software like Pear Budget or Mint – the latter includes countdown functions for your savings and can suggest ways to cut your expenses. If you don’t hit your saving goal, then it might be time to go back and re-visit the budget – maybe that Singapore Sling might have to be in a more down-market bar.
The most important rule for your travel budget is flexibility. Allowing for on-the-road splurges (and the odd belt tightening) will take the stress out of your trip, but will also mean that when you get home you won’t be met with a huge credit card bill. A little planning at the start of the trip will save penny pinching, grouchy haggling and worrying about being ripped off at the cost of enjoying your trip.
Armed with these 9 secrets to maximizing travel time, you will be unstoppable! Send us a picture from your next vacation destination!
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