To Those Who Have ‘No Time To Travel,’ But Want To – Here Is How To Make Time
When sharing my travel experiences, one of the most frequent reactions is something along the lines of ‘man, I wish I had your life – but I have no time to travel around like you!’.
As they utter those words, they do not realize they don’t really mean what they are saying. To me, it just sounds like an empty phrase and it is.
Traveling, like anything else, is a choice. You have no time?
The truth is, time is the only thing you ever have.
You don’t know how much you get, so you better start using your time now. How you use it is your choice. And I absolutely acknowledge that, to a certain extent, travel is a privilege, but for most people who say that they have ‘no time for traveling,’ it is not a matter of privilege.
It is a matter of choice.
I didn’t just start traveling full-time from one day to the next – it’s been years in the making, gradually aligning my life in a direction that would make it possible.
No matter whether you have too much (responsibilities, work, children, …) or not enough (time, money, courage, company, …), I believe that if traveling is what you truly want to do, there are ways of doing it. But you have to actively decide for it. The sitting-waiting-wishing approach never worked.
Please, do not wait forever.
Why a life of travel is a choice
No matter which direction your life takes, the decisions you make play a major role. Whether you choose to do something or not do anything, even that it is a decision.
And every decision we make comes at a price, every decision for something involves a decision against the alternatives. Yes, the life of a traveler might seem like a dream, but there are downsides, too.
Going around the world requires you to give up certainty, job security, routine, comfort, your social circles, and much more.
Most people who tell me they have ‘no time,’ would, if they were truly honest with themselves, admit they are not willing to pay that price. Ask yourself one honest question:
Is travel what you truly want despite the negatives that come with it?
If yes, congratulations, your inner motivation is all pointing towards travel.
If the answer is no, maybe travel is not what you actually want. There’s no shame in admitting that constant travel is not for you – because it certainly is not for everyone. And just some food for thought: If travel is not what you actually want, but yet you say you long for the travel escape – maybe there is something else missing in your life?
As Stacey Ebert explains on the Rolf Pott’s Vagabonding Blog, having the freedom to choose what makes us happy is a beautiful thing – and those choices are going to look different for everyone. For some it will be roaming around the world, for others baking cookies at home.
How to make time for travel when you have no time
So, if I have not offended you yet with my honest words above and you’re still reading, then you’re probably one of those people who really do want to make it happen, just don’t know how yet.
Stay with me for some advice on how you can make more time for travel.
Use your weekends to the fullest
Even when you are tied to a full-time job, you can get a decent amount of travel into your life by simply seeing your weekends as an opportunity to travel. There are approximately 104 weekend days a year, plus vacation days, and public holidays – that is A LOT.
Out of environmental reasons, I don’t want to encourage you to hop onto a cheap plane every other weekend, but there is so much we can explore locally.
Have a look at the map and start identifying areas you have never been to. You can go for hikes, go overnight camping, go for a summer swim in a beautiful lake, travel to foreign countries and ancient times by going to a museum, have a bonfire night with friends… The possibilities are many.
A great place to start learning about how to plan epic microadventures is Alastair Humphreys’ blog – in fact, he even wrote a whole book about microadventures.
Have family? Great, take your kids with you! I am sure you can turn it into a family adventure, too.
Save up vacation days
Many employers are surprisingly flexible when it comes to how you use your vacation days. Maybe it is not your company’s standard policy, but a personal conversation can turn things around. Talk to your boss, explain your travel plans and see if there is a way to save up your vacation days to then take several months off at once.
Even overtime can be used to get more vacation days – if you don’t mind working hard for a little while for your dreams, you can get a big work project done in less time and then enjoy your well-deserved relaxation abroad.
Get a remote job
Ready to change careers? Maybe a remote job could be for you. With the economy becoming more and more digital, remote employment is skyrocketing. Especially in the context of the corona crisis, many employers opened their minds about remote work.
Being able to work from anywhere is definitely one of the biggest benefits of digitalization. Once you are abroad, you will have plenty of opportunities to explore the local culture and landscapes in your off-time.
If you don’t want to leave your job, talk to your current employer if they are open to discussing remote opportunities. And with a little bit of creativity, many jobs can be done while traveling, even the ones that you would not traditionally think of as ‘typical’ remote jobs like IT or online marketing.
Find a job that allows you to travel
Another great opportunity to make time for travel without quitting your job and leaving everything behind is finding employment where travel is part of your job description.
Whether it is seasonal work, working on a cruise ship, or flying out to international business negotiations, the possibilities are many. Countless jobs literally pay you to travel.
Take a sabbatical
An entire year without work. Sounds like a dream? Many companies offer sabbaticals, allowing their employees to take the time to travel or realize whatever dream project they might be planning.
Especially if you have been a loyal employee for many years and your company would love to have you back, your chances for making a sabbatical happen are high. The Sabbatical Guide has some great tips on how to go about asking for a sabbatical to make sure you actually get it.
Use your parental leave
If you have just had a baby, your life has been turned upside down. So why not change it just a little bit more and use your parental leave for family travel? If you are worried about the whole logistics, there are plenty of resources online on how to organize travel with a baby.
Traveling with a child can be exhausting, but you will also make precious memories that will last a lifetime. It can be a beautiful opportunity to connect with your partner and child while adjusting to your new life with a baby.
Make every day a journey
Even if your life is busy, exploring the world really is a mindset. While I was still working a full-time job in Germany, I tried to be a local explorer. Even with just a little time after work, you can explore a new way home. Try new cafés. Speak to people in the street you usually wouldn’t speak to.
You can learn a lot by viewing your home country through the traveler’s lens. In fact, you may gain a whole new understanding and appreciation of your local culture and customs.
And there is probably a reason why tourists from other places come to your country, right? Discover the magic they see in your everyday life and change your perspective onto the familiar.
Last but not least, the probably most important advice for making time to travel. Plan ahead. Way ahead. If traveling is what you really want to do, you need to bring your life into a direction that makes it possible.
If you are trying to find an agreement with your employer, talk to them early and involve them in your plans. If you want to leave everything behind, start saving up now and calculate how much money you need, plan how your travel will look like, and figure out the details as soon as possible.
It can take a while to make big dreams happen. The only thing I know is that it is always worth it.
P.S.: I’ll soon release a second article for the other excuse I hear a lot apart from ‘I have no time to travel.’ Can you guess what it is? Exactly, ‘I have no money to travel.’