Balancing work and travel? Yes, it can be done.
I did and so can you…because you can now travel without quitting your job.
Don’t get me wrong, I have high regards to all travelers who quit and followed their passion to travel the world. I am actually, jealous. I really do hope that I can pack my bags, pick a place and explore it. It’s my ultimate dream. But with the current living situation that I have, it is nearly impossible. And I know I am not alone with these sentiments.
See, I ran away from home when I was still a junior in college. Let’s just say, major family troubles. You might think that I have all the right reasons to go backpacking and leave but I need to work in order to survive. Hence, I have to use my earned degree to find a corporate job.
But did I get stuck and just sulked in the corner? Definitely not! Juggling between work, travel and blogging can be difficult so here are the lessons I’ve learned through the years of traveling with my job intact:
Balancing work and travel? Tips from a Corporate Travel Junkie
1. Plan your vacation leaves accordingly.
In a world where travel yuppies are just awarded with 15 VLs a year, being wise as to when you are to take your vacations comes into play. Some people laugh at me as I already know the places to visit in 2016 (read: it is only 2015) but planning in advance gives me the advantage with the seat sales.
Also, plotting your leaves in advance helps you to have an ample time to do work transitions to your backup(s). Just a piece of advice though, never use your SLs for your travels (stop calling it scheduled leaves, guys). Karma’s a b*tch and you wouldn’t want to be caught in a lie by your boss.
2. Do a lot of research.
And I mean, a LOT. I prefer to do this even before I book a ticket just to have an idea on how many days needs to be consumed and to have an economic feel of the place (i.e. if it’s pricey, etc). Everything must be packed in 4 or at most 5 days. Remember, working citizens don’t have the luxury of time to explore them all. I know this and I feel you.
3. Choose the people you want to travel with.
In cases that you wanted to travel with your officemates, to which the dilemma is you can’t all be gone at the same time (BPO pips can relate here), this is still feasible. My work friends and I did a 3-day trip to Siquijor (with Dumaguete sidetrip), booked the earliest flight on a Saturday as well on the next Monday. It was a bit of a challenge but it can be done.
Furthermore, do some wise elimination. Admit it, they’re your friends but not all of them are bonafide travel buddies. Be with the company of the people you like. And if you are not comfortable having your maarte ‘friend’ in your trip, then ditch him/her. Always prefer having the peace of mind over budget hatian.
4. Factor completely.
As a working individual, you can be pressed for time hence convenient traveling is your way to go. You have to consider which factor are you going to prioritize. Are you the type who values accommodations more than transportation? Or a person who’s amused by the historical background of a place? From there, you can come up with a budget to work on. Travel smart and you’ll never have to shell out much.
I personally hire a local tour guide to help us navigate the place we’re visiting. It is one way of helping local tourism as well as saves time to avoid getting lost. Sorry, but I am not a fan of it. Well, that’s just me.
5. Save up.
A bit of cliché but a must for a fool proof plan. You have a stable income from your monthly sweldo right? Try to put at least P1, 000 on your travel fund. But if you are the type that does shop when stressed (well, I was too) try getting out of this habit. Weigh your priorities. Will it be to travel and have more memories or be temporarily satisfied by buying an impulsive item?
The travel fund aka the other savings ATM card should not be in your possession (mine’s with my bf). As much as you can, do NOT use the money unless needed for a legitimate emergency. And for the record, a Mango dress on sale is not an emergency.
6. Choose your battles.
For being a wanderlust, I have been the topic of my previous office’s chismisan. What I heard is that their ideal activity on their blocked leaves is to stay at home. I couldn’t believe it myself but hey, that’s their take. What I did? I kept a straight face. Whenever they ask me where I’ve gone, I tell them my travel adventures hoping that they’ll find it interesting. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll find the courage to go on a trip too.
Do not expect everyone to be supportive of your travel aspirations. Surprisingly, most people don’t understand the effects of the travel bug, so brace yourself. Don’t be too quick to be defensive either. Instead, give the skeptics the positive influence of traveling. After all, you are not guilty of anything. There is nothing wrong with exploring new places.
7. When in doubt, travel.
Have you been on that firm that doing overtime every single day and cancelling leaves at the last minute equates to being a hard worker? That you refuse to have a vacation just because you are afraid to be marked as tamad? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then, maybe you are not in the right workplace. And I bet, you are very much miserable right now. You have to keep in mind that vacation leaves (or even sick leaves) are mandated because everyone deserves a break. You are not a robot. You need some rest, too.
At times that your stress levels are on an all time high, take the time off. Seize the opportunity of having a well deserved vacation. You will be relaxed, refreshed and will have the much needed energy to conquer the world. A bit exaggerated? Fine, you will have that new perspective when reviewing those work piles you left behind. Lol.
By keeping your day job, you do have the advantage of financing your travels. With airline seat sales here and there, no one is stopping you to take a trip. But nobody’s pressuring you to travel the world all at once either. Deep breaths. Take one destination at a time. And never hide under the false pretenses of being hectic at work…because no one should be too busy to live a well-earned life.
About the Writer
Tody Dino is not a backpacker nor claims to be an adventurous mountaineer. She’s not rich either but prefers to travel organized and stress-free. Tody just happened to love traveling and dreams of having her own travel show one day. She is currently balancing her corporate job, traveling and maintaining her own blog, The Bella Travelista, a site which focuses on convenient travels for traveling yuppies.
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