Balancing Life and Travel: Your Advice

(This is part four of Life-Travel balance week. Be sure to check out the rest of the series!)

Earlier this week I asked both you guys, and the travel blogger community for advice on balancing life and travel. I ended up with an earful! It seems like this is an issue that many people struggle with, and although very few have it all figured out, lots of people had some really helpful advice.

Here are some of the best:

 Figure Out Your Priorities

The most important thing that people need to take in consideration before anything else is figuring out your optimal time vs money balance. Do you find security in money, or would you be happy to take leave without pay to really give yourself time away?

Once you have that figured out, it’s much easier to move forward with your goals and pick the right direction to go.

I worked full time, quit that life and then traveled full time and am now back to working full time and being a mom of twins.

How do I find that balance? I decided after coming home from my full-time travels in 2011 to find a way to create that work/life balance for myself. For us that meant taking some risk and starting my own company – not for the money, or because I didn’t enjoy working with others, but for the flexibility and the balance that I am able to create for myself – for the long term. Two years later I’m generally able to strike the balance that I’m comfortable with, whether that is work/life or travel/life or work/travel.

I am currently a full time postgrad student (trust me – a thesis takes up SO much time), and working two jobs to save for nomadic travel come October. I’ve found that the key to creating a work-life-travel balance (besides organisation) is to remember to take time out and remember what you’re working for. For me, that means things like stealing two weeks from thesis-writing to travel this July. There’s no point in working too much so that you’re completely worn out by the time you get to enjoy all your hard work.

Make Time to Travel

It’s best to plan your work and life around your travel rather than plan your travel around your work and life, otherwise you’ll never set foot on the plane. Make travel your first priority and everything else will fall in place around it.

I have a full time job that I love and is personally rewarding, I also like having my daily routine and a place to unwind. That being said I love to explore new places and make travel a priority. I like short term travel (a few weeks or less) and this style of travel is what works for me.

You don’t have to go halfway across the world for a “worthwhile” travel experience. If you don’t have a lot of time, look for new experiences in your city or your region–and don’t waste half of your vacation in airplanes, layovers and buses. Aim for the best travel value: getting the most relaxation/adventure/scenery/whatever it is you want in relation to the money and time you spend.

If something is important to you, you find a way to make it happen. You bend the will of the universe to yours, smother it with awesomesauce, and devour life on your your terms.

Accept That You Can’t Do Everything

For the past 10 months, I’ve been working full-time while traveling on a RTW trip with my fiance. The trip has been wonderful, but it hasn’t been easy.

Even when I make concessions for my work, even if I travel at a snail’s pace, even if I work two full days for each day of exploring, the most that I can do is keep up with my current work. That’s it. I can’t launch new initiatives or start passion projects. My limited free time is devoted entirely to keeping the business afloat, and that has been very limiting. I look forward to settling down in the UK this summer, having a less hectic travel schedule, and being able to take on the projects I’ve been dreaming about for the past year.

So far I’ve found the concept of trying to attain balance to be more stress than it’s worth. Instead I try to remind myself that sometimes, things will just be crazy and occasionally, I’ll “forget” my smart phone or computer to go out an just enjoy life once in awhile. I do also draw several hard lines in the sand each year, far in advance with plenty of notice to my day job, around dates that I WILL be traveling.

– Adina, Gluten Free Travelette

I know when I first started traveling, I was infatuated with the idea of perpetual travel. Being in a new location every couple of weeks was the dream, but moving around too often, I quickly found out, is exhausting.

Just like with anything, it’s important to balance travel with either going home or staying in one place for a while. The contrast is vital so we don’t come to hate being at home or feel like we never want to travel again.

Further Reading:

Full Time Travel, Full Time Work – is it Even Possible? -Adventurous Kate

“The ugly truth, the part that is hidden from most of the world, is that full-time work on top of full-time travel has made me stressed out, irritable, antisocial, and it has adversely affected my health.”

How You Can Work Full Time and Still Find Time to Travel– Besudesu Abroad

Grab a calendar and mark off any days you have off– mark your normal weekends, holidays, long weekends, etc. All finished? Now look and see where you can extend these holiday periods. This will really help give you more time to travel without using many vacation days.

How Do You Find the Balance Between Family, Work + Travel? – YTravel Blog

Clear out things and people from your life that don’t rock your soul. Seriously, stop letting things and people that don’t matter rent space in your head and steal your productivity. Dedicate time to things that move you toward your business, family, or life goals.

Travelling Occasionally: Finding the Time to Get Lost – The Occasional Traveler

Not all of us have the good fortune of being a globetrotting travel writer, or getting sent on media fam trips to exotic places – I love reading all these travel blogs because it inspires me and of course I get a little green with envy. So I wanted to start something which the rest of us can identify with a bit more. How do we, regular joes, get our travel mojo going and remain satisfied and fulfilled despite holding a full time job?

10 thoughts on “Balancing Life and Travel: Your Advice”

  1. After a break for full time travel I’m back to working fulltime in the digital space and loving it. I have no desire to be self employed for many reasons, but I do think it would be great to have 2-3 months off a year (as opposed to one) for the ideal balance…

  2. Thanks for including my article Steph!
    I’ve been checking out some of the others you listed and they all have some really great advice.

    I think it’s great to highlight the different travel styles of people, as most people seem to think all travel bloggers are people who have up and quit their career. And while many have, it certainly doesn’t apply to all of us!

  3. Like Briana (Casual Travelist), short term travel for 4 weeks or less at a time works for me, because I have a full time career and life that I love here in Canada. I think there are a lot of people that think that you can’t travel and have a normal life – that’s just not true!

  4. Wow really cool article Steph! I’m honoured to be featured, but I think my favourite part about this article is the myriad of advice from everyone and seeing the different types of travellers out there – it really brings home the fact that there is a travel style for you no matter who you are, as long as you love to travel!

  5. I like reading perspectives from other travelers. It’s good to know that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for even the top travel writers and you just need to find the balance that works for you

  6. Sometimes I get discouraged as I look for a job after college that travel will have to take a step back for a while. But then, I read these tips and think to myself – wow, if they’re doing it, it’s definitely possible. No allure or amount of money will keep me away from travel if I can help it!

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