Do you ever look back on a holiday and think to yourself how you wish you were still there, or still on vacation time, traveling the world? You’re not alone. It’s safe to assume it’s pretty common for people to get the holiday blues as soon as they head back to their full time job. For some, it may be months until the next getaway and I can definitely understand the frustration. But here’s a thought – instead of looking back to that time when you were lying on a beach in the Caribbean or trekking the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, how about looking forward to the next trip you are already planning?
Of course, I am not naive to modern day limitations that a busy working life and budgetary restraints impose on us, but there are some tips that might help you to travel more and get you exploring a little sooner than you might have thought!
- 10 Ways to Travel More
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10 Ways to Travel More
For the majority of readers, there are 2 main reasons why we aren’t able to travel as much as we would like: time and money. Time, because life has suddenly become so unbelievably busy. If we’re not spending countless hours at work, we have household chores, extracurricular commitments, deadlines to juggle. With all these balls in the air it’s no wonder that taking time out for a holiday can sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth. And if not restricted by work commitments, we are restricted by leave allowance, with some countries having it harder than others.
The second is money. Even if we did have the time to travel at least once a month, it can work out to be a pretty costly hobby.
Fortunately, these 10 tips are divided to address both of these concerns!
The Problem of Time
Maximise Weekends and Public Holidays
Let’s start with the most obvious – weekend trips. Head out to the airport as soon as you finish work on a Friday afternoon and select a holiday destination that’s not too far away. You could arrive in time for dinner on Friday evening, before spending the weekend exploring. Fly back home on Sunday evening, in time to go back to work on Monday morning. For some, this may be more trouble than it’s worth, but I’ve had some great weekend breaks over the years in cities like Vienna, Amsterdam, Munich and Paris. A weekend trip will give you a little taste of the city, allowing you to decide if you’d like to return for a longer visit.
If you’re looking to plan a holiday that lasts more than a couple of days, maximise weekends and public/bank holidays to squeeze out longer trips. This could mean either taking off a Friday and a Monday, or travelling over bank holiday weekends.
There are plenty of websites that can actually calculate how to maximise the public holidays in a year so that you can extend your holiday time depending on the country you live in. For example, if resident in the UK, taking off the 4 days following a Bank Holiday Monday allows you to book a 9-day holiday by only taking off 4 days of work. Easter and Christmas time also provides plenty more opportunities. Conde Nast Traveller offers a great holiday guide to follow for those wanting to learn more about which days should be taken off in 2020 to maximise holiday time.
Extend Work Trips
If you are fortunate enough to be able to travel for work, then why not have your partner, family or a friend join you. The sad reality of work travel is that you don’t get to see very much of the city you are in, but having a non-work companion join you will ensure that you get to enjoy the evenings and if extended – the weekend too. One of the best places I had done this was in New York – it was 3 weekdays of solid work, but the evenings and weekend were all about fun, shopping and champagne.
Explore Neighbouring Areas to Your Home Town
Sometimes, a plane ride is not necessary to experience travel. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines the act of travelling as ‘to make a journey, usually over a long distance’. That means that even a car or train ride taking you to a new or unknown destination could be considered travelling. Don’t discount the beauty of your own country – towns within the same country may have completely difference ambiences and character and could make for a lovely weekend getaway. For me personally as a London resident, heading off to a weekend break in Bath feels just like heading to a different country altogether!
For those with a limited time window, this is probably the least stressful way to get away for the weekend without having to spend hours at airports.
Admittedly, this depends hugely on the kind of work being done. If, however, you currently work at a desk job, have you considered asking your employer if it might be possible for you to work remotely for a certain number of days a year? This is something that I did personally back in 2014. Before becoming self-employed, I had previously requested to work for one week a month in Malta, my home country. I remember being petrified to ask and now I look back I think how silly that was.
The honest truth is that nowadays, so long as you have a phone and good internet connection, you can really work from anywhere (so long as you do not have meetings that week). Before asking this, be sure to have a good relationship with your employer who values your work and trusts that you need not be in the office to do a good job. If you have already built this relationship of trust, there is nothing stopping you from asking. Remember the worst they could say is no!
Some may be asking ‘but why travel to another country if you’ll still be working?’. Fair point – but wouldn’t it be so much nicer to work poolside from a villa in the South of Spain rather than a dreary office in grey London? And let’s not forget that in the evenings and weekend you are free to explore. Food for thought!
The Problem of Money
Start a Travel Fund
Probably not what anyone wants to hear, but here comes some good old fashioned advice: work, save, buy. Flying and holidays undoubtedly costs money – and unless you are cashing in those air miles (see below), you are not going to be getting anything for free. Make it a New Year’s resolution. Instead of buying your daily Starbucks, put that £3.30 into your travel fund instead. If you do that everyday for a year, it works out to over £1,200!
This is one of the big ones. The first step is to join an airline alliance programme and stick to those airlines each and every time you fly. I can’t stress this enough. Since I live in the UK, I joined OneWorld years ago and make it a point to only ever fly British Airways OR another airline under the OneWorld alliance program for work or pleasure. For example, if I am travelling from one state to another in the US, I make sure I am flying American Airlines, even if it is not necessarily the cheapest.
Once you’ve collected a fair few air miles by always flying airlines under the same alliance program, you can then trade in those air miles for either free flights (excluding taxes) or into upgrades on long haul flights. Also, the more flights you take, the higher up you’ll move on the alliance program’s tiers, which means MORE bonus air miles (and don’t forget, if you fly in a higher cabin, say business or first, that’s even more!). You can see how it easily goes up.
Flying indirect is another way that you can build up the points and it often brings down the cost of the trip. You’ll need to plan this well though, as some indirect flights can have awkward layover times. That being said, it’s not the first time I have booked an indirect flight and used it to check out more than one country on a trip.
In addition, it’s worth noting that some credit cards also earn you points whenever you use them. Most of the time, these points can be converted into air miles. Personally, I am a huge fan of the British Airways American Express Card. As well as earning points per purchase that can be converted into air miles, it also gives out one companion ticket per year if you spend over a certain amount – that is, one free flight irrelevant of class! We take advantage of these all the time, whether for our trip to the West Coast or Moscow, both in either first or business class. All you would need to cover are the taxes.
What I’m talking about is known as travel hacking and there are loads of blogs that teach you how to do it. Check out The Points Guy or Head for Points – both have some really good tips and even mention airlines and hotels that have any offers on at the moment.
Purchase Airline Flight and Hotel Packages
When purchasing your flights for an upcoming vacation, be sure to check any airline offers on combined flights and hotel packages. More often than not, buying both together will save you a significant amount than if you were to purchase them separately. The added bonus is that BOTH the flights and the hotels will contribute to your air miles account!
Visit Cheap Destinations
Having a lower travel budget does not mean you don’t get to travel at all, but it does mean that you need to be more mindful on the places you visit. It also doesn’t mean that the places you visit are any less superior – in fact some of my favourite holidays have been to some of the most undiscovered and least expensive countries. Uzbekistan is the perfect example.
Trade in places like Monte Carlo, London and Paris for Prague, Istanbul and Krakow – cities that are equally as beautiful but that will cost you far less for accommodation, transport and dining.
Use a VPN when Booking
This sounds a little more complicated than it really is. Simply put, a VPN is a virtual private network that works by routing your computer’s internet connection (or any device in fact) through your chosen VPN’s private server instead of your internet service provider. This means that when your data is transmitted to the internet, it comes from a VPN instead of your device.
‘Why does this matter?’, you may be wondering. It matters because airlines are known to use dynamic pricing – a difference in prices charged based on who is searching to book the flights. Various factors are considered including user location, previous flight data and shopping trends, amongst others, to form unique flight prices that differ for each customer. After downloading a VPN, set it to a specific location, open an incognito window and check if the cost of your flight is lower. You may want to experiment by testing the price change across a few countries before going ahead with the purchase.
Rent Out Your Home
To add to your holiday fund, why not place your property on Airbnb so that it can earn you some extra cash whilst you are away? The process is pretty straightforward. Simply take some pictures around the house and write a detailed write-up on what guests can expect from your home and the area it is located in. Sign up as an Airbnb host, list your property and just wait for the bookings to come through!
This may not be for everyone and there is much to be said about the precautions that need to be taken and things you need to be aware of. This could very well be a whole article to itself, but as someone who has used Airbnb to rent out my holiday home to travellers in the past, I can confidently say that it could be a healthy welcome to your travel fund and just a big help to save money in general.
What are your travel tips for getting to travel more often? Do you have any travel hacks that you can share here? Let me know in the comments section below!
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