There’s a lot of hype about quitting your job and travelling the world. It works for a select few but will be a disaster for many. In my opinion, it is not necessary to quit one’s job to travel. Quitting job only makes things complicated- visa applications now face more scrutiny, funding your trip gets tougher, you’ve to constantly worry about unpaid bills and lots of time and effort goes in finding some freelancing work and more in getting payment.
Ever since my first international trip in 2011, I’ve been travelling regularly with my IT job on. I’ve been to 26 countries so far and few more are in the pipeline. I would like to share my experience of travelling the world on a budget and without quitting the job
How To Travel With A Full-Time Job – A Guide From My Experience
To travel a lot, you need 4 essential things- Time, Money, Motivation, and Research (+ Execution skills).
How To Find The Time To Travel
This will be the biggest hurdle for those who have a day job. Following are some practices that can help manage your time better
- Make use of long weekends+ few days leave(There’ll be several long weekends in a year- add 2-3 days of leave, you may get 6-7days for a vacation)
- Flexibility to work from anywhere, at least for once a while (if you’re accessible online and can support when needed, it might be easier to get leave)
- Maintain good working relationship in your team so as to manage your planned leaves better
- Split long trips into two or more shorter trips (Example: If you can’t spend 7 days at a stretch to explore Srilanka, plan two separate trips of 3-4 days each)
How To Save Money For That Big Travel Plan
Over time, I’ve managed to execute my trips in extreme budget. I book flights at their lowest possible fares, stay in cheap hostels, use public transportations, travel off season and so on- as a result, my trips cost half of what a travel company would quote for same destination and duration.
Flights: I rely heavily on airline sales and book tickets super cheap during a sale. I keep track of normal fares and have noted lowest possible fare to a destination. Using promotional fares I was able to travel to far away destinations like Japan, Australia etc for as low as INR 20000 return. These tickets are booked several months to few years in advance and there’s a risk of losing 100% if I can’t travel as per plan, but the tradeoff is usually worth it. I now run a dedicated blog for airline deals and news- Airline Blog where I list various low fare deals that come to my notice.
Stay: Most cities in the world have hostels and budget hotels- it is possible to stay comfortably for around 10 USD a night.
Transportation: Take some effort and learn how to use public transportation at a destination- it will save loads of money otherwise spent on taxi. Apps help a lot in case of language barriers.
Saving for travel is also about prioritization in life. If you can give up on various day to day habits-like ordering online food at Rs 300-500 a meal, expensive shopping, managing with a bike/public transport instead of car loan etc you will save several thousand every month, which can fund a few trips abroad each year.
I live a very simple life and save everything I can so that I can spend on a few international trips each year.
I do get many inquiries from friends and families on how to travel cheaply. But when I tell them about my super cheap tickets that need to be booked several months in advance and come with zero refund, they often back off.
I pay only 20000 for a ticket during a sale that normally costs 50-60k, but with a risk that I lose entire 20k in case, I can’t travel. I take this gamble because I am saving 30k. When someone books last minute, pays 50k, the way I see it, they have lost 30k already by paying so much more.
How To Find Motivation To Keep Travelling
No one can induce this to you – it has to come from within. If travel excites you then do some research, identify destinations that appeal to you, set a budget and target, work towards it. Many of us fall into the vicious trap of job-marriage-kids-home loan-EMIs which often suppresses all motivation to travel.
Execution – Putting That Plan Into Action Successfully
Plan and execute trips on your own rather than going for travel packages offered by travel companies. When you research and plan a trip on your own you learn a lot. Yes, there will be barricades-language, lack of information and so on. You might do some mistakes, but it makes you a better traveller and helps you plan your next trip even better.
What Inspires Me To Keep Travelling
I was a bit of an introvert from the beginning- typical things people of my age group did- movies, party etc didn’t excite me. But reading, driving and travelling did begin to excite me- inspired by a Kannada saying “Either read books or travel the world”- and over time I took them up fairly seriously.
Serious Advice If You Are Planning To Take Up Travel Blogging
There’re too many bloggers and influencers out there these days. Become a travel blogger only if you have a passion for travelling and travel writing, not because you see some people getting free trips or making money.
What Keeps Me Going
Because I have a day job, I don’t have to depend on my blog or travel for my expenses. Thus I am able to spend a small portion of my savings on travel. This coupled with extreme budget ways of travelling that I have mastered over time keeps me going
A Travel Incidents That Always Stay With Me
In one of my early trips to Malaysia, I lost a few hundred dollars to a group of fake police- who in the pretext of inspecting our documents and wallet cleverly stole some money.
In another incident, I got stranded in Lithuania’s Ninth Fort war memorial. This was several km away from town and I didn’t get any transportation to return. My attempts to seek help also failed as no one stopped. Eventually walked several km in the direction of town and managed to get a bus.
Places I Can Go Back To Anytime
Japan was a great experience- their dedication to work and punctuality (Train inspector bows to the compartment as a mark of respect)
Denmark was a lovely country to live in. Each country has its own uniqueness. I am looking to explore New Zealand, China, Canada and a few more countries over the next 9 months.