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As do many of us, I have a full time regular job. My job does not include frequent travel, however, I still travel between 30%-50% of the year. I know many of you are wondering how in the world this is possible. In order to travel more, you must maximize your number of travel days to the best of your ability. It is possible and certainly worth it. You may not think you could pull it off, but you too, could take the 5 tips below and use them to travel more often.
My company allows me to work from offices in other countries, within reasonable measure. This allows me to fly to a different location and work in the office there for a day or two in order to maximize trips requiring connecting flights.
To give you an example, I had just traveled to North Korea. Pyongyang can only be reached via Beijing, so instead of flying direct Pyongyang to Beijing and on to Singapore on the way back, to chose to work in Beijing for two days. I then flew to Chengdu on Friday night to see the pandas for the weekend. This strategy allowed me to visit two places on the same trip while only taking a couple days off.
The only downside of this is the time and effort it takes to organize such complicated as well as the extra cost that may be associated with breaking a flight out with a stop over both ways.
Your work may not have offices everywhere, and that’s okay. You may be able to negotiate work from home or the hotel. Just ask, you have nothing to lose!
2. Red-eye Flight
The is quite possibly the most important time-maximizer. Always check to see if a red-eye flight is available. A red-eye flight is an overnight or late-night flight on a commercial airline. If a destination can be reached between the hours of 8pm and 10am the next day, it is possible for a long weekend. To maximize your travel days, you need to recognize opportunities like this.
In order to get to Dijibouti, I had to fly via Dubai. The flights are 7 hours and 3 hours ling with a stopover and 4 hour time difference. Because I lived in Dubai, I know many people there, including my best friend. So of course, I didn’t mind having a few hours of stop over in the morning to meet my friends for breakfast. With the time difference, I flew to Dubai at 9pm Singapore time, landed at 1am, slept for a few hours, ate breakfast with my pals and landed in Dijibouti at lunch time.
3. Take half days off
Make the most of your half days! In Southeast Asia, usually places are pretty close, however connections are often in the middle of the day. In my opinion, departing at 3pm is a wasted day. So take a half day to return in the early morning, giving you full days and two additional evenings at your destination.
4. Shift Working Hours
Instead of working 8am to 5pm, work 5am to 1pm if your work allows it. This way, with a flight in the middle of the day, your work gets done early and you don’t have to use any vacation days. I have a global role, so I often have calls outside of working hours. Most of the stakeholders I work with are in the US, where working hours are midnight to 8am in my time zone. So, for me, working 5am to 1pm is a great way to end work early and head to a destination. Your boss may let you do this, even if your job is not global and doesn’t involve other regions. You could also take an early morning flight, landing you back at the office in the afternoon and requiring you to work a little late.
5. Take un-paid leave
This is obvious, however, not all companies allow it. Go ahead and ask though, what have you got to lose! After joining my current job, I negotiated a week of un-paid leave for Christmas. It was barely noticed as it was during the holidays and the whole company takes off for two weeks, and it didn’t impact my pay much. Un-paid leave is the hidden secret to prolong your vacation time.
Mar is an ultra-frequent traveler and expat from Barcelona but currently living in Singapore. She has been traveling across 90 countries in the last twelve years thanks to a global job, an incurable addiction to seeing the world and an insatiable curiosity. She likes luxury experiences as much as she likes getting lost in places nobody visits.
Mar Pages, Once in a Lifetime Journey Blog | July 11, 2016