Friday Thoughts: How To Travel While Working Full-time

One of the many questions people ask me now is “How do you manage to travel a lot given by Monday-Friday work schedule?” I won’t have a clear answer if you asked me the same question 5 years ago. As the months & years of travel went by, I realized there is a pattern in almost every trip I take.

Looking back at the past years, 2013 was by far the busiest. I’ve been to Davao, Zambales, Boracay (twice), Kuala Lumpur, Cebu, Bohol, Singapore, Camiguin, Cagayan de Oro, Hongkong & Macau in a span of 10 months. 2015 & 2016 came next where I’ve been to Siem Reap, Bali, Taipei, Krabi, South Korea, Yangon, Boracay & El Nido. I’ve also been to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur (again!), Singapore & Japan twice in the past 2 years. Quite a long list, eh?

View from the shores of Padang Padang Beach in Bali – the place where the Eat Pray Love beach scene was taken

Imagine the number of days I had to take leave from work, the amount of money I spent for every plane ticket, accommodation, food, drinks, activities, etc. However, I don’t regret spending a lot on travels for the past years. Every trip was just worth it. The exposure I had & experiences I gained in the different places & cultures were far more valuable than the amount of money I spent.

Now let’s get back to business. Let me give you some thoughts on how you can travel a lot given your full-time job. Please note that all these pointers are based on personal experiences; one or two may or may not be true for you.

Plan where & when to go

You need to decide where you want to go. The world has so much to offer – relaxing beaches & islands, antique or modern temples & churches, busy city streets, laid-back cultural villages, stunning landscapes, etc. You may want to visit the beautiful islands of Coron & El Nido, the world famous sunset of Boracay, the untouched beauty of Batanes or the majestic cone-shaped Mayon Volcano of Albay. You may also want to consider the delicious street food & fun street parties of Bangkok, the amazing Petronas Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur, the famous Merlion statue of Singapore or the busy Shibuya intersection in Tokyo. It all depends on you on what you want to see or experience.

Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers

You also need to consider when you are planning to go. Note that prices tend to double during peak summer months & during holiday breaks. You also need to consider the weather or season of the place you’re going to. Generally, it’s expensive to go everywhere during summer & Christmas / New Year.

Manage work leave credits

After deciding on where & when to go, the next question is what dates should you take. For the past years, I mostly had trips during long weekends (+1 or 2 regular days) here in the Philippines. It saved me quite a few vacation leaves, plus I get to extend for another day or two in my destination. The Philippine government releases the list of  regular & special non-working holidays pretty early so you have a lot of time to plan on which long weekends to take.

Been a year since I went to Yangon, Myanmar; it was during the Chinese New Year long weekend here in the Philippines; photo taken inside Shwedagon Pagoda

Make sure to always include Saturdays & Sundays in your trips. Your leave credits will perish fast if you always leave on a Monday & go back on a Thursday. Take advantage of the other leave privileges offered by your company. In my case, I always use my anniversary & birthday leaves for travel; additional 2 paid day offs won’t hurt.

Book tickets as early as possible

Now that you know where & when to go & you already planned your vacation leaves, you should book tickets as early as possible. I don’t consider a trip ‘official’ if I haven’t booked plane tickets.

₱1-fare ticket I booked to Bangkok last year (photo from my previous post)

You might ask me why you should book as early as you can? Simple, you get cheaper round-trip fares. 2 weeks ago, Cebu Pacific Air had a surprise ₱1.00 sale for both domestic & international routes. Domestic round-trip tickets were at less than ₱600 while international round-trip tickets were as low as ₱1,400. Super affordable, right? Booking plane tickets early will save you some money which you can already add to your trip budget.

If you need some help in booking low-fare tickets, I got you covered. I blogged about it last month; click here to know more.

Set up a travel fund

Aside from conflicting work schedules & leaves, money is probably the other reason why most people don’t travel. They think travelling is too expensive. Yes, it may be for some; but it’s affordable for most young people.

So the travel dates, leaves & tickets are all set. The question is, where will you get the money you’ll spend for the trip? My only tip for you is to open another bank account for your travel fund. This account will be different from your payroll & savings accounts. Allot a certain amount of your monthly salary to your travel fund. You must also promise yourself that you will not withdraw any money from that account up until before your trip.

Tip: To avoid withdrawing money from your travel fund account, make sure to open a passbook savings account instead of an ATM savings account. You will feel lazy lining up in the bank just to get some cash.

Some of my previous travels (L-R: El Nido, Japan, Myanmar & Taiwan)

This tips worked for me; probably the reason why I was able to travel a lot while working full time for the last 5 years. I hope this entry will inspire you to travel more! ✈️

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email to You can also send me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.

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