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How to travel the world AND keep your full-time job

How to travel the world AND keep your full-time job

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Do you ever check your social media and see it inundated with “inspirational” posts about how you should quit your job and travel?

*hands up*

And do you ever think…

Not in a million years, girl.

I mean – if you’ve got a career, a family and financial goals, quitting your job to travel the world is just not realistic.

Sure, it’s a possibility for some people.

But what if it’s not for you?

You shouldn’t have to quit your job to see the world.

quit my job to travel

You can keep your job AND travel the world

In 2015, the year before “the big move” to Boston, I had been working in finance for a couple of years. I never once thought I had to quit my job and travel the world.

In this one year, I traveled overseas to 8 different countries (and this is not even including the domestic trips I took!), AND I managed to have a fulfilling and successful career.

I don’t tell you this to brag

Here’s the breakdown of countries* I traveled to in 2015:

  1. Germany (10 days)
  2. Austria (2 days)
  3. Japan (10 days)
  4. Malaysia (4 days)
  5. Singapore (3 days)
  6. Finland (7 days)
  7. Sweden (7 days)
  8. Estonia (2 days)

That’s a whopping 45 days of vacation leave!

Now, I was living in Melbourne, Australia at the time, so all these countries are at least a 7 hr flight from my home city. Over half of them required me to travel 20hrs or more each way.

* This list also doesn’t include weekend trips.

quit my job to travel

Why am I telling you this??

Girl, we need to have a talk.

Having a full-time job doesn’t stop you from traveling the world.

If anything, it helps you travel the world.

Now, I don’t say this to brag – but in 2015 I had a pretty amazing year at work.

I was in a job that I loved, I was being challenged every day, and was getting stretch opportunities from my boss. I got that promotion I was working towards and was fortunate enough that my hard work was recognized through my yearly bonus.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I honestly think you can have it both ways.

Traveling the world shouldn’t stop you from leading a fulfilling, successful career.

quit my job to travel

Having a full-time job does not stop you traveling the world

With a bit of planning, it is possible to fit in overseas travel.

So, how did I do it?

Well, I’m glad you asked…

1. Lots and lots of planning

You can’t just decide to go traveling a month before you want to go.

Well, you can, but your boss and your family won’t be very happy.

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Unless your job is super flexible, plan all your yearly travels upfront.

I usually have a travel planning session at the start of the year or the end of the year

I map out all my public holidays, all my forced vacation leave days.

Then, I map out potential vacation ideas.

Choose your destinations wisely

You’ll notice from my list of countries that I visited that some of these countries aren’t too far from Australia. Countries like Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore can be visited over a short period.

I saved these closer locations for the times of the year where I could take time off around long weekends/ public holidays.

The overseas locations I visited when I had the opportunity for longer breaks, such as Christmas where my work had forced vacation time.

When you’re planning, choose destinations that are close-by for your long weekends.

Alternatively, if you want to take more than a 3-day break, take some vacation leave around the public holiday.

This means your 4 day weekend can turn into a 10 day holiday, and all you’ve done is take 3 days of vacation leave!

quit my job to travel

2. Work, work, work and more work!

I’m not going to lie.

For you to travel as much as I have, you will need a supportive boss.

Your ability to travel lots begins with more than YOU

You need a supportive boss and team.

But you also need to be mentally present at work all the time.

Make sure you check with your manager how they want you to approach leave.

How far in advance do you need to book in leave?

Are there certain busy periods?

Do you need to check with other teammates?

Do you need to check with your manager’s leave?

Have a solid relationship.

Also, don’t work for teams that are strict/tight about you taking leave if you can help it.

This is not always possible, but where you can help it before you accept a job, check with people who have worked with or currently work with your manager as to what their general approach to work-life balance is.

Is this a team that is constantly working?

Do the team members ever speak about taking time off?

If you can do this before you accept a job, your life will be a lot easier when it comes to living a life of travel.

Take pride in your work

Always be prepared and organized – show your manager that when you leave not everything will fall to pieces in your absence.

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Make it easy for teammates/your manager to take over your work in your absence.

Is there anything you can DO for them in advance so that it’s easy for them to look after your work when you’re gone?

quit my job to travel

3. Have a supportive family and partner

I don’t know about you, but my family used to comment about how I was constantly traveling and spending all my hard-earned cash on things that “didn’t matter.”

The important thing to remember is that: our family always means well

While dealing with difficult family members who don’t approve of your love of travel is a blog post in itself, having a family that supports your love of travels will make your life a lot easier.

The turning point for me personally was showing my parents that I wasn’t spending my money carelessly.

Talk about the future, retirement and your savings plan

I have a very open and honest relationship with my parents now when it comes to my earnings and what I do with that earnings.

They know that even though I am traveling a lot, I am also saving a big portion of my income.

I also don’t spend much money on clothes, shoes, eating out or alcohol.

Once they knew I was responsible when it came to my earnings, they stopped seeing travel as a waste of time.

Talk about safety

When I first started traveling a lot, I was lucky in that I had my boyfriend (now husband) who was my partner in (travel) crime.

Safety for my parents wasn’t such a big deal.

But, whenI traveled with my girlfriends or solo, my parents would worry.

When this happened, I made sure to print out my flight itineraries, accommodation bookings and had plans for when I would/wouldn’t have phone or internet connection.

Eventually, my parents stopped worrying, and I was the one who was giving them updates, whether they wanted them or not!

quit my job to travel

5. Save like crazy

It’s time to talk about the $$$

You need to be able to fund your travels.

Unless you have a fairy godmother or a trust fund, chances are you will be saving for your travels.

There’s no BS here – I was only able to fund my travels by making a lot of sacrifices.

Do you need to go out for drinks? Or if you do, do you need to drink that much?

Do you need to eat out that often?

Do you need to buy your lunch every day?

Do you need to buy that coffee every day?

Do you need that new blazer? That new dress?

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How many work clothes do you need?

How many pairs of shoes do you need?

You need to save as much as you can, where you can

There are always ways you can save money; it’s just about making an effort.

There’s no way I could have traveled overseas to 9 countries and paid for that many flights without making a couple of sacrifices.

quit my job to travel

How should you do it? Can you do it?

Yes, yes and YES!

I am by no means special when it comes to my ability to travel and hold down a full-time job.

I don’t have super powers; I don’t have a special trust fund to pay for it all. It all came down to the following:

  1. Planning as far in advance as possible
  2. Working hard and having a kick-ass awesome relationship with my boss
  3. Having an honest relationship with my family
  4. Saving and sacrificing so I could fund my travels

Holding down a full-time job AND traveling the world can be done.

You can do it too!

quit my job to travel

What about you? Are you a travel lover, wanderluster, and full-time career woman?

Leave a comment and let me know!

This part 1 of our 3 part series to traveling more in your everyday life.

Make sure you check out the other posts in this series:

Part 2: How to ask for vacation leave without annoying your boss

Part 3: Keeping the travel mindset in your everyday life

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  1. August 21, 2017 / 10:34 pm

    Awesome post! It is refreshing to see someone that does have a full time job and also travels frequently. That is my goal! My career is just beginning and it is important to me but so is traveling a lot while I am young- not waiting till retirement! Great tips!


    • Mae-Gene
      August 22, 2017 / 8:05 am

      Hi Amanda, I’m so glad you find my tips useful! And I agree 100% – it’s just not realistic for many travel lovers to quit their jobs. And sometimes if you enjoy your career/ job, you don’t actually want to quit your job! So happy to hear you found my tips useful 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful time on your travels x

  2. January 15, 2018 / 11:47 am

    I love this article! I always see ads or blogs stating to quit your day job and travel the world. Personally, I have a day job and still travel as much as I can. My job helps fund some amazing vacations and I appreciate that so much! Such a refresher to read! I am in Finance too.. haha!

    • Mae-Gene
      January 15, 2018 / 9:53 pm

      Hi Gretchen, I’m so glad to hear this resonated with you! It’s so hard to quit a full-time job to travel the world (especially if you have other life priorities) and it’s often not realistic! I totally agree – being able to work gives you so much freedom to travel and fund adventures! I hope you have lots of travel adventures planned for this year! 🙂

  3. April 23, 2018 / 5:34 am

    Quitting job to travel isn’t a good desition all time.Everyone needs money to travel and it can be an issue that you have no money for more travel. But I do not totally disagree with you.

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