How many pictures have you seen of friends posing outside temples, on top of mountains or with sedated tigers? Social media feeds are rife with ‘hotdog leg’ selfies and airport Facebook check-ins, so they’re pretty hard to avoid. The travel bug certainly seems to have spread like wildfire over the past few years and with so many wonderful things to witness on our humble, little planet, it’s easy to understand why. However, what happens when your wanderlust clashes with your desire to succeed at work? Learning how to travel and work is down to balance.
While there are many benefits to taking a gap year or career break to go travelling, it isn’t the right option for everyone. There’s nothing wrong with being career-driven, but focusing on your work doesn’t mean that you have to miss out life’s experiences. What if we told you that you can see the world without sacrificing professional success?
No, balancing work and travel isn’t the easiest way to do things, and it may take you a little longer to tick off places on your world map. However, it’s entirely possible and definitely worth it! Take a look at the advice below to find out how it can be done.
It’s all about timing
If it’s your dream to take an extended break to travel for a few months or years, you need to pick the right moment. Think about where you are right now, professionally speaking. Are you just finishing up your university studies? Are you on the cusp of getting your dream promotion? Are you looking for a completely new career path? Like with so many things in life, timing is everything.
Even if now isn’t the time, it doesn’t mean that the right moment won’t present itself. If you’re job hunting and there’s a vacancy slump, that could be the perfect opportunity. If you’re in a dead-end job that you hate but you have plans to move into something completely new, would it be best to break into your new industry first or to go now and come back to a clean slate?
At the end of the day, the decision is yours and only you know what will be best for you. However, thinking carefully about when to take your trip of a lifetime will mean that your career won’t have to suffer.
Spread it out
Sarah and Jon who you went to college with may have packed in their jobs to trek through the Amazon rainforest. Your university course-mates may have taken a gap year (or three) to party in Europe after graduation. Just because you want to get stuck into things at work doesn’t mean you won’t see the world. Taking years off at a time to travel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, everyone is different. The key for the travelling professional is to break things down into chunks.
Those temples in Thailand have been standing for hundreds of years and Mount Everest isn’t going anywhere any time soon. You shouldn’t feel like you have to do a whistle-stop-tour of the world within a short space of time to see all of its wonders. Write a list of all of your must-see places, then make a plan of the order you want to see things in. You can just tick them off as you go.
This way you have an idea of how to use your holidays and how much you need to save. Additionally, knowing that next month’s bonus is destined to buy your flights to Peru will keep you motivated and you’ll always have something great to look forward to!
Make the most of your weekends
Annual leave is a precious commodity. You may not wish to use this all up in one chunk, or you may have already used it all up to spend a month driving down Route 66. Don’t worry, the dream doesn’t have to end there! Satisfy your travel cravings by using your weekends as an opportunity to see new places.
Bank holidays or long weekends are great excuses to travel without eating into too much of your holiday entitlement. There so many destinations and cities that you can explore without spending too long on a plane. Enjoy a city break in Prague, spend the weekend sightseeing in Barcelona or go skiing in Switzerland, the mini-break possibilities are endless!
If you’re saving for a big trip you have planned or your budget is a little tight for whatever reason, don’t neglect places a little closer to home. Visiting and exploring somewhere new in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland is massively overlooked. We have some beautiful scenery and a rich history, get out there and discover it! True, Hadrian’s wall isn’t quite the Great Wall of China, but a ‘stay-cation’ will keep your wanderlust at bay until your next overseas adventure.
Travel with work
Your job could take you anywhere! If you’re presented with the opportunity to attend an event in a new city or abroad, jump at the chance. This way, you can keep your inner explorer happy AND get paid to do it – win, win!
Graduates (or anyone embarking on a brand new career path), think about how you can use your skills in a role or industry that requires a lot of travel. For instance, take a look at companies who have offices or branches overseas.
Alternatively, you could spend time living and working abroad. That way you get to experience life in another country, have a new base to travel from and gain valuable experience at the same time.
You see, you won’t have to choose between travelling the world and working on your professional success. You can have your cake and eat it! If you plan well enough and have both travel and work goals to work towards, you’ll soon be flying high.
For more job hunt tips and advice, take a look at our blog.