I try to travel as frequently as I can. This year, I was fortunate to be able to visit 7 countries within the last two months. Today, I want to highlight a few things about being a working professional that’s always on the go. Before we proceed, it's important to note that everyone’s lifestyle is different— this is not a one size fits all mold for traveling! I do hope that something here will help you plan your next trip!
3 Quick Tips For Saving Money (i.e one of the top reasons people tend not to travel)
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, you just have to be open! Personally, I like to work backwards when planning my trips— i.e I see a great deal, then plan a trip around it, rather than being dead set on a destination. I’d rather snag a deal for $325 to Denmark (yes,
I’ve actually seen roundtrip deals this low), than spend $1000 because I’m committed to Hawaii. Additionally, I opt to stay in nice Airbnb’s, as opposed to hotels, which saves a ton, and I get more bang for my buck!
Rally a squad, and plan as far ahead as possible. I haven’t yet graduated to solo traveling, but I’m fortunate to have a solid group of friends that will commit to a trip and not flake. I often take the initiative to plan our trip, and it’s super important for someone be on top of it, or your trip will fall apart. The longer you wait to secure housing and excursions, the more expensive it’ll be. Additionally, the more people in your party, the better, as it reduces the amount of money you each spend on group things (like accommodations).
Stick. With. One. Airline. This one’s important. My airline of choice is Jet Blue. The only way I will use another company is if Jet Blue doesn’t fly there, or the price difference is absurd! Because I fly exclusively with Jet Blue, I accrue points for each flight. Points are your friend. Next, while I’m not big on credit cards, my main credit card is actually from Jet Blue. I earn points for every purchase! Finally, if I’m going international, I try to use a partner airline of Jet Blue. I went to Europe on a partner airline, and received Jet Blue points for every mile I traveled. “Okay Karissa, so we’re collecting all these points but you have to have a zillion points just to redeem one flight”— wrong. I’ve gone to Cuba, Puerto Rico (twice), Georgia (twice), and even booked some friends flights just on points I’ve accrued in the last year and change. When I use my Jet Blue points, I get a 10% rebate after my trip— WHICH MEANS THAT MY POINT BALANCE IS NEVER ON ZERO!
So now that we’ve dismantled some excuses for not being able to financially commit to getting away, let’s talk business:
Time Off: this is the key reason I mentioned differences in lifestyles. I work in a school setting, more conveniently, one that makes its own schedule— thus, I’m off more often than the average person. All but one of those trips in the past two months were taken during times I was already scheduled to be off! One way to increase your travel is to take shorter trips, and plan them around weekends or holidays! (I.E the difference between going away from Monday- Friday, and going away Thursday to Monday because you'll miss 3 days of work instead of 5).
Plan ahead: the more advanced notice you can give a supervisor for time off, the more likely they’ll be able to accommodate your request!
Know your fields “busy season” — in my experience there are times of the year that it is just unwise to plan a trip. In my field, that’s in September and June because of the beginning and end of the school year. Similarly for someone who does taxes, we know that January to April is like hell!
Understand your HR manual— know how many days you’re entitled to as an employee. Please note that employers are not REQUIRED to give vacation time, though most companies do! Please READ YOUR HR MANUAL before you storm into your supervisors office demanding vacation time! Additionally, be sure to check when you need to use your time off before you lose it!
Traveling for work? Use that to your advantage! Take the time to explore wherever you are on your down time, and stay an extra day or two if possible!
Be a good employee! Make sure that you’re on top of your daily tasks prior to your trip, and that you have a plan to keep afloat for when you come back. Vacations are a great escape, but the reality is that in the time you’ve been away, your work responsibilities didn’t go away with you!
Have any other tips? Give us a shout!
Be sure to visit our friends at @flighttofilm and @frannythetraveler — both are featured on our “Block Association” tab!