How to Travel More in 2017 While working full time

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A few days ago, a co-worker came into my office and asked "How do you find the time and money to travel so often?" While this wasn't a new question for me (my parents ask me the same thing all the time), it did make me think about how I've learned to incorporate travel into my lifestyle. To be honest, I don't travel nearly as much as I'd like to. These past couple of months of travel have been more like the exception to the rule. Because I work a full-time job that isn't travel-related and does not require me to travel often, I've had to learn to get creative and resourceful when incorporating travel into my life. 

So I've gathered some of the approaches I use to incorporate travel in my life, while still working a full-time job. Every person's job is different so some of these tips may be easier for some people and a little more difficult for others. Use the ones that work best for you and travel more in 2017!

Make travel a priority

Only within the past couple of years have I begun to dedicate more time to traveling. I realized the enjoyment and pleasure that I felt experiencing new places with friends and eventually with my husband and decided to position myself to be able to travel more often. Financially and socially, I've learned to cut back on things that don't bring me joy or that I can do without, to dedicate time to being able to travel and still saving and preparing for life as an adult. I pass on happy hour and nights out often, my car is 10 years old (but she's so reliable), and aside from special occasions, I do my own hair and nails. We'd like to buy a house eventually, but still want to travel in the process, so we said goodbye to our pricey downtown apartment and moved to the burbs (or "Egypt" as my friends affectionately call it.) These things work for me. Find what works for you.

Use Your Vacation Days :

Sounds simple...but a few months ago I stumbled upon a study by the U.S. Travel Associations Project Time Off that showed 55% of Americans did not use all their vacation days. According to the study, these workers gave up 658 MILLION unused vacation days and 222 million of those days couldn't be rolled over. That's 222 million vacation days forever lost! For most jobs, vacation days are built into the compensation package, so when you don't take them, you leave money on the table. Taking your vacation days is also beneficial for your health, leaving you less stressed and more productive and positive when you're at work. Seriously yall, #NoVacationDaysLeftBehind in 2017.

Plan trips around holidays and weekends

This is an approach I use often for traveling.  Bookending holidays and weekends can turn a 3-day weekend into a 5 day vacation. My husband I got married Labor Day weekend and was able to have a 15- day vacation while only using 9 vacation days. On our most recent trip to Denver, we flew out Thursday evening after work and came home late Sunday evening: 4 day trip, 1 vacation day used. Plan your trips strategically to maximize the time you're at your destination.

Take advantage of business trips

If you do get to travel for work, plan to add on a couple of days before or after your meeting or conference to maximize your time in a new place. Not only does it cut down on costs because part of your travel is paid for, but you'll get to spend more time in the place you're visiting. Depending on where you are, you may even be able to make a stop in a nearby city or state. 

Don't be afraid to go solo

 One of the things I wish I would have experienced in my twenties, or before I got married, is the pleasure of traveling alone. Not saying that I couldn't travel alone now, but I enjoy and prefer traveling with my forever travel partner now. Fear of the unknown kept me from trekking out solo, but don't let the fear hold you back. There are tons of resources and communities out there for solo travelers and sometimes if you wait on other people to be ready to'll never actually go. 

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How do you incorporate travel into your lifestyle while working full time? Comment below or follow on Facebook to join the conversation!