Traveling is addictive. However, I enjoy my home base, my gym, my pets, my family close by and, thus, part-time travel is my kind of travel. However, trying to balance life and jobs with travel can be a struggle. Things that make being a part-time traveler tough:
- Guilt from leaving your job and/or family
Struggling with Time
PTO. Vacation days. Sick days. Taking days away from work.
However you want to put it, you have to be able to take time away from work. Many times this means strategically calculating how many trips you can take in a year and booking a red-eye flight to save a day of PTO.
It often limits how long of a trip you can take and how much you can see while you are abroad. I’ve learned to finagle my days to get 10-day trips using around 6 PTO days (give or take on both). However, once you take into consideration travel days, across the pond and to your next destination, you really are limited on what you can see. It often leads to us trying to see too much with our limited time (we are trying to get better at this )
How to manage Time
Best advice for overcoming the struggle with time: be thankful and enjoy the time you get. I know it sounds gross and cliche but time may be something you can’t change. Just be sure to maximize the time you get. That can look different for different people. Some prefer spending all of their time in one location to experience everything they can in one place. However, we tend to be faster travelers and prefer seeing a few different places while abroad. For more information on maximizing your PTO, click here!
The Money Struggle
Limited time allowed for each trip means you don’t get the most bang for your international-flight-buck. You pay the price for a flight from the US (especially a small airport like Little Rock!) and you want to be able to stay as long as possible in your international destination. When you can’t, you just don’t get as much out of your money.
This means frequent, short trips. And truth bomb: many have proven that full-time travel is cheaper than paying for a mortgage and all the “settled down expenses.” Plus you have to add the short-term travel expenses on top of the daily living expenses. It all adds up to really limit a lot of people from part-time travel.
Travel truly is a privilege.
How to manage money
Despite the increased price of part-time travel compared to full-time travel, when you prioritize travel it is absolutely doable. Here are some tips I’ve used to continue my part-time travels:
- Minimized mortgage and vehicle payments
- When we were house hunting we didn’t go big and extravagant. We bought what we needed and nothing more. Our mortgage actually decreased with our recent move
- We’ve also recently paid off our vehicles and intend to ride them until the wheels fall off
- Decrease “toy” payments and splurges
- We are from Arkansas- toys are abundant! Campers, boats, ATVs that cost more than my vehicle, etc. We don’t have any of these at this time (we would eventually like a camper!), so our monthly expenses have really been minimized
- Obviously this doesn’t just count for toys. This goes for any extra hobby or splurges that significantly increase monthly expenses
- Travel Budget
- I know I will always want to travel. Once bills are paid, I put money to the side that I will allot for travel (how much you set aside will depend on income and how luxurious you like to travel). I kind of treat it like a monthly expense!
- Travel Cards
- I know there is controversy over credit cards. However, I have bought MULTIPLE flights to Europe using my travel credit card. However, I wouldn’t consider myself a “credit card hacker.” I don’t open cards every few months in order to get the bonus miles.
- I simply put every monthly expense I can on one of my two travel cards and pay it off at the end of the month. You’ll be surprised how the points add up and anything helps! (my favorite is the Capital One Venture Card– this link will give me “refer a friend” miles, just FYI. I have one more, but to redeem for travel you have to book through their portal and I just don’t prefer it.)
The Guilt Trip
As a part-time traveler, that means I have a job and a family here at home. To travel means I may leave one or both of these behind.
I am a physical therapist. I build a rapport and trust with my patients, and I get some guilt when I leave them with someone they aren’t as comfortable with. I’m sure this happens in other settings as well.
Aside from occasional work guilt, I also have some family guilt. My husband can be busy at times when I am free, so I feel guilty when I travel without him. Although he is 100% supportive of me traveling without him, I still feel bad about it at times.
How to manage the guilt
Just go on the trip. The guilt typically dissolves once you are on the trip (LOL)!
For real, though. I typically do some extra work prior to and after my trip to off-load whoever covers for me- this makes me feel better about leaving. It also helps when I have great people filling in for me; I know everyone will be in good hands while I am gone!
Family guilt. Whether it’s a partner or kids, if everyone doesn’t get to go on the trip then there can be some guilt. Many people allow this guilt to keep them home and won’t go on trips without the family. To each their own; but know that many times the guilt gets better and you won’t regret the trip! Or, take the family! Any way to get your travels in.
The Fomo Struggle
Although I prefer part-time travel over full-time travel, there is always a part of me that feels like I am not traveling enough, and I get a little FOMO when I see other people take trips frequently! Let’s be honest, some full-time travelers make it look like the best life!
How to manage the fear
Have something planned! I am NOT a super far out planner (unless someone else plans and invites me), but I feel much better about my day to day activities if I have a trip planned for the foreseeable future!
Part-Time Travel Perk
Perk: part-time travel is better than no-time travel! Even if you can’t or don’t want to travel full-time, traveling part-time has its definite benefits! Despite the struggles of part-time travel, it is WORTH it. My advice is to do whatever you can to make travel work!
Are you just beginning part-time travel? Here are some resources to help plan your trip!