How to travel the world while working a 9-5.

Having managed to visit 12 countries in 12 months last year, one of the questions I always get asked is “do you ever do any work?”.

The answer is yes, I do have a day job and yes I do work (though with my upcoming move to Yorkshire, I’m set to start a new career very soon). So when I want to travel, I have to fit it around my work commitments. Because after all, without work I wouldn’t have the funds to travel.

Like many, I have a standard 9-5.30 Monday to Friday desk job, with about four weeks of holiday allowance to take over the year. Obviously having to work five days a week isn’t ideal when you want to be off exploring the world, but flights and hotels and train tickets and new bikinis don’t pay for themselves. So instead I see work as a way of saving cash to help finance my travel plans. Plus, if you enjoy what you do for a living – like I do – then it’s a lot easier.


So, how do you make the leap from wannabe-traveller to globetrotting explorer? Here are a few tips…

1. Be savvy with your annual leave.

If you’re an ambitious traveller working full-time with only a certain number of annual leave days, it’s totally understandable that you don’t want to waste them. Take a day off to wait in all day for a package that’s going to be delivered between 8am and 8pm? No thanks, leave it with my neighbour. Take a day off for the dentist? No way, I’ll grin and bear the toothache.

It’s important to be clever with your holiday allowance. For example:

  • If you need to take time off for a medical appointment, see whether they do early morning or late evening slots, so you can still do a full days work.
  • If you’re travelling midweek, try to book an evening or night flight if you can, so you don’t have to take a full day off.
  • If you’re getting an early morning flight back, could you go straight to work from the airport?

Try to plan your travels around bank holidays and national holidays too, then you can go away for longer while saving a day of your holiday allowance for another trip. Sure, it’s usually a little more expensive around bank holidays, but weigh up the pros and cons (an extra day somewhere means more time to explore).

You don’t need to take weeks off to visit somewhere far flung either. I managed to explore a large part of India in just seven days, ticking off one of the top things on my bucket list: the Taj Mahal.


2. Spontaneous weekends away.

Don’t feel that you have to go somewhere for a whole week – a lot of European cities can be explored in just a few days. I also feel that for many of them more than a few days would be over kill (like Prague for example – you don’t need to spend more than two days there). It’s all about striking a balance.

If you live close enough, why not just pop somewhere for a weekend. Where I currently live in the UK I’m pretty lucky in that I have a choice of airports (as well as the Eurostar) available for spontaneous weekends away. Such as the random trip to Istanbul I took in October last year.


Also, my friend and I visited Barcelona in February earlier this year for a couple of days. We managed to tick off a lot of the must-see sights, including Gaudí’s Park Güell, and still had time to enjoy a couple of jugs of Sangria in the sun.


3. Go somewhere in a day.

What about going somewhere just for the day? Some of the girls from work (including Kellee from and I popped over to Denmark for the day last year. It worked out cheaper to fly in and out of Copenhagen in the same day then it did to stay over night and fly back the following day.

We had a great time, and managed to see just about everything the European city has to offer, all in six hours. Kudos to Kellee for organising it all and finding the super cheap flights in the first place.


4. Can you work remotely?

Does your job offer you the flexibility to work remotely? If so, speak to your line manager to see if they’d object with you working somewhere other than your house. Previously I’ve arranged to work while on the train travelling to the airport, as well as while at the airport. This meant I didn’t need to take a full days holiday when I was jetting off for the  week.

As long as I’ve got a reliable internet connection (and a quiet location to take calls should I need), there’s no reason why I can’t work from anywhere. Which is great because it means I don’t have to use my annual leave unnecessarily. It also means I can work remotely and enjoy views like this on my lunch hour:


5. Explore your home country.

Travel doesn’t have to mean packing your bags, grabbing your passport and jumping on a plane. There’s probably plenty to see and do in your own country (why else would so many tourists flock there every year?). So why not book a train ticket somewhere random and head off for a day or weekend trip.

Soon I’ll be living in Yorkshire, where there’ll be so much more to explore.



How do you make your travel dreams a reality? Have you chucked in your 9-5 for full-time global exploration, or are you a part-time traveller like me, grabbing every available opportunity for a break away? Drop me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

57 thoughts on “How to travel the world while working a 9-5.

  1. I’m lucky enough that, as a freelancer, I can work from pretty much anywhere in the world. I’m making the most of this and spending 10 weeks in Korea, this autumn but I’ll probably go back to a 9-5 job in 2018 so I’ll definitely need those tips. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Stephanie – hopefully some of these tips will be useful for you and you can try and get a few more trips in this year! 🙂 have you ever managed to go somewhere for just a day? Copenhagen in a day is a great starting point! x


  2. I need to be more savvy with my leave next year and remember to buy 5 extra days, I’ve got a 2 weeks holiday and a weeks holiday booked but i’m haing to use 17 days leave. Sadly i couldn’t work it around BHs this year

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh that’s a shame – but yeah, definitely buy extra days if you can – this will help you maximise your trips, even if it’s just taking a half day off here or there so you can go away for a weekend x


  3. i actually came back from a holiday last tuesday, arrived in the morning and went straight to work. jet lagged but pulled through! manager suggested i take the morning off but i didn’t want to use up my holidays for things like this

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love how well planned you are with your travels! I definitely want to visit somewhere in a day and I think we’re lucky being in the UK as they’re so many places we can visit quite cheaply too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s important to find a balance between spontaneous and planned travel I think – eg, next week I’m off to Mexico, not very well planned. But in December I’ll be heading to Iceland, so I’ve got loads of time to plan the trip! x


  5. This is really smart advice and good food for thought. I think you are extra lucky living in Europe that getting to an international destination is just a short flight away. The closest country to me is at least a 5 hour flight, which is the downside of being in Australia I guess. I definitely agree with you about making travel a priority though. I never buy new clothes and barely go out socialising. I save as much money as I can and reap the rewards for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, living in the UK definitely has its advantages: getting anywhere in Europe is usually pretty easy and not that pricey. Like you, travel is something I’d rather spend my money on (than say buying new clothes, makeup or the latest tech), but I do still socialise. My friends are a huge part of my life and have been really supportive over the last few months with everything that happened in my relationship. Unfortunately only a few share my passion for travel, and even less are able to fulfil that passion with me 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Day trips and weekend travel from London have been my life! When I was in a 9-5 I would utilise this time so much! Thankfully I’m heading on a longer travel journey soon and look forward to the change of pace!

    Rebecca x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great suggestions. I have 4+ weeks of vacation, but my wife only has 2, so we do a lot of long weekend trips to stretch out her vacation days as much as possible over many trips. After so many years of doing it this way, I have a hard time staying in one place for longer than 3-4 days.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes to all! Completely agree with all of your points. But I still don’t know how you managed 12 countries in a year! Well done, you. I’m also always planning my leaves in a way that I combine them with bank holidays or festivals to get more time. Tnankfully I’ve always had good bosses who understand my wanderlust and never create a problem in approving my leave as long as I give a good amount of notice before taking off 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A lot of people would say it’s impossible to travel while working. You just have to check out all your options and see what works. It’s possible and it’s going to be worth it.


  10. Love this post I definitely want to travel more and weekends away sounds a good idea! I also like the idea of going somewhere in a day – I definitely feel Paris would be a good one.


  11. I still work the 9-5 too *boo* but do a lot of your tips to cram in as much travel time as possible. I also work overtime in exchange for time back instead of pay which helps as well.
    We’ve been looking at Copenhagen and wondering if it’s possible to do in a day (hotels are SO expensive there!) So it’s good to find someone who has done it. Going to look and see if you have a post about it and might have to tweet you some questions if that’s ok?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh Helen – I’ve never actually blogged about the day itself, I must get around to it! We were there for about 6 hours though, and managed to cram in all of the things you’re meant to do there, so that says a lot about how small the city is lol 🙂 feel free to ping me


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