How You Can Work 9-5 and Still Find Time to Travel

Unlike a seemingly majority of travel bloggers out there, I’m not location independent. I don’t get paid to travel the world through fancy press trips, and this blog certainly isn’t my main source of income.

And I’m happy with that.

You won’t find me selling all of my belongings and living the nomadic lifestyle anytime soon—or probably ever.

And while I find it very romantic and commend those who do live that lifestyle, it’s just not for me, and remember what I said about following your own dreams?. I like having a routine, I want to settle down and have a family, and strangely enough, I like working the mundane 9-5.

People often tell me how ‘they wish they could do what I do’ and ‘they wish they could travel often’– yet I’m not really doing anything that different. Yes, I may be living in a foreign country on the other side of the world, but I still work 9-7 every Monday to Friday, I pay bills, I buy groceries and I occasionally go out on the weekends.

So what’s the main difference?

I make time to travel.

Just this past year I’ve traveled around Hong Kong, Macau, China, Thailand, Singapore and Japan, all while maintaining a full-time job.

Yet somehow, everyone still seems to have this notion that it’s impossible to live a life of travel AND work the typical 9-5. But I’m here to show you it’s possible to have both.

Travel does not have to be made a lifestyle choice, but it can still be made a priority.


1. Make use of Long Weekends and Public Holidays

Grab a calendar and mark off any days you have off– mark your normal weekends, holidays, long weekends, etc. All finished? Now look and see where you can extend these holiday periods. This will really help give you more time to travel without using many vacation days.

For example, when I marked off all my public holidays I noticed that I could have a solid block of 10 days off, while only having to use two vacation days. Sweet deal right?


Look for when taking a vacation makes the most sense.

2. Gain Additional Vacation Days

Running low on vacation days? Find ways to gain more. If you are putting in a lot of overtime or are working public holidays, ask to be given additional vacation days rather than overtime pay.

3. Take Unpaid Leave

Just because you’re out of vacation days, doesn’t mean you can’t take any more vacations. Most companies are okay with their employees taking unpaid leave– just be sure you’ve budgeted beforehand so that you don’t find yourself in a bind financially later on!

4. Take More Weekend Getaways 

Who says travel has to be long? It’s possible to travel short distances thanks to weekend getaways. Visit a nearby city, state or even country for just 2-3 nights.

Remember that trip to Singapore I took last January? I went straight to the airport after work on a Friday and got back late Sunday night just in time for work to resume on Monday.

Philippines - Apr 2014

Weekend in the Philippines? Yes please!

5. Rollover Vacation Days

Often employees will be given money in lieu of their unused vacation days, but see if it’s possible to rollover the vacation days to the following year. This can give you also double the vacation days, which is perfect for far away destinations– and it gives you extra time to save more money!

6. Extend Business Trips

Going on a business trip for your company? Talk to your boss about extending the trip for an extra day or two in order to explore the area more. Promise to return inspired and well-rested to boost your productivity.

7. Work Remotely

Thanks to the internet, it’s become really easy to work from virtually anywhere. If your company is worldwide, see if you can work temporarily in another country’s office. If your company doesn’t have offices across the world, see if you can negotiate working virtually short-term. This would allow you to work anywhere in the world where you can access the internet. Who wouldn’t want to do work while lying on the beach?

Phuket - Nov 2013

I’d love to work somewhere with views like this everyday.

8. Take a Sabbatical

Didn’t get to take a year off after college to travel? That’s okay, do it now! More and more people seem to be taking sabbaticals lately, and many employers in the corporate world are even encouraging it. Usually sabbaticals range from just a few months to a whole year, and then you’ll return to your job as normal afterwards. It’s really a win-win situation for you and your boss.

9. Work Abroad

If none of the above sound good, why not take the leap and work abroad, I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds. This opens your options to experience a new country and culture for a longer period while working– and gives you unlimited opportunities for travel during your nights and weekends. There are many opportunities for working abroad; and while they may not all be in your ideal career path, at least you’re in a new exciting destination!

Hong Kong

Every day is an adventure working abroad.



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