I’ve seen so many posts recently about how to quit your job, travel and live out of a suitcase in order to see the world. I’m always wary about that topic when I read different posts because that doesn’t work for the majority of people and for me, it’s never appealed to me for a number of reasons. The first, is that I like to travel a certain way and to do that, I need to earn money, which in turn means I need a job. Secondly, I happen to love the profession I chose and love my job as an Interior Designer and my career is still a priority in my life. Thirdly, I enjoy having a home base (which I’ve talked about here) and I enjoy the life I’ve built here in Portland, enough that I don’t want to just give it up to live out of a suitcase. The thing is, it’s still entirely possible to hold a successful job, to have a home life in your city of choice and to still travel often. And today I’m here to tell you that you can indeed keep your job and still travel the world as much as you want.
Choose a profession you enjoy that you don’t want to escape from.
I think one problem many people face is that they choose a profession or job that they don’t enjoy, which in turn takes its toll and makes you want to escape from it. And while I definitely have days when the last thing I want to do is work or when I’m beyond frustrated with job-related things, the majority of the time I love what I do. If you choose a profession or job you enjoy, it will make all the difference. The first step to being able to travel and keep your job, is to love your job enough that you don’t want to quit it to travel.
If you want to change jobs, look for jobs with travel opportunities or good PTO.
If you are, however, in a situation where you don’t like your job and it’s making you think about quitting, then I would suggest, in order to keep a home base and travel, that you look for jobs with travel opportunities (there are actually a lot more out there than you think that involve travel) or that have good paid time off options. My company offers both (travel opportunities and PTO) and I take full advantage of both whenever I can. There are also many companies out there that offer sabbatical time or personal leave time as well which can come in really handy for trips.
Set aside money each month for travel and don’t use it for anything else.
Nick and I have been doing this pretty religiously ever since we started traveling a lot about 4 years ago. We put aside any extra money into a savings account that is deemed only for use on travel related items. This includes all reservation expenses as well as spending cash while we’re traveling. Almost the entire amount of money I make from my side business as well goes into this account. It’s an account we don’t touch for anything else, which helps it build up quicker than if we were often drawing from it. It may even be as little as $25 per paycheck, but over time that can really build up if you don’t touch it except for travel.
Use every holiday and weekend at your disposal + vacation days to travel.
The question I get asked most often is how can we take so much time off of work to travel. I know it may look like we’re out traveling constantly from this blog, but if you watch my Instagram feed or know me personally, you’ll see we only travel on weekends or holidays for our small trips. For larger trips abroad, we use the vacation days we’re allotted, no more, no less. In the US, we’re given around 15 vacation days a year (this varies a bit per company but that’s what ours end up around). We use all of them but it takes planning and research to make everything work as well. That’s why at the beginning of the year we sit down and plan out our travel year ahead, that way we can make each vacation day, weekend and holiday count as much as possible. You’ll be able to add a lot more travel to your normal day to day life when using holidays and weekends to your advantage.
Learn to see more in a short period of time.
Another thing I hear a lot of is how we see so much in a short period of time. People always say to me “you’re going there for only a day? You need more time to see it than that.” And the fact of this is that everyone is different. Nick and I don’t need to linger a long time at a place, we like getting there, seeing what we want and moving on. If we love it, we’ll go back another time. If we don’t, we saw what we wanted to and experienced it. To be able to fit a lot of traveling into a normal working life, it’s important to take advantage of even small chunks of time to see what you want to see. People thought we were crazy when we went to Iceland for 3 1/2 days, but you know what, we saw a lot of the country and it is still one of our favorite trips to date. You can make short trips work to your advantage if you’re willing to take advantage of the time there.
This is perhaps the most important part of being able to keep your job and your home and still travel: planning. Without planning ahead, you won’t be able to take advantage of time off or the best deals to save money. I suggest sitting down at the beginning of the year and looking ahead, planning where you want to go and when it will work best for you. Plan out your days off, plan ahead on how much it will cost and go from there.
*Note – I’m not touching on the financial aspects of this lifestyle in this post but have in other posts previously. But I will say that it is entirely possible (with hard work) to live in the US and travel abroad frequently if you choose to do so.
You can read about some of the budget savings strategies I’ve outlined for financial tips to travel often here:
How to Travel To Europe (from the US) on a Budget
How to Get Around Europe (On a Budget)
Easy (& Less Known) Ways to Save Money While Traveling
How to Add More Travel to Your Life