The world is amazing, there is so much to explore but like most of us I am somewhat burdened with a full time nine to five job. However over time I’ve developed a strategy. When I’m not in the office I travel, plan adventures and try to explore as much as I can.. In the UK we are fortunate enough (in most cases) for full time workers to be entitled to 28 odd days of PAID annual leave. You can increase how far this goes by being crafty when you take this time off i.e incorporate bank holidays.
In the space of 1 year using only my 28 odd days. I have visited 14 countries – in which I climbed 4 mountains, did a road trip with the lads, a handful of city breaks, and more. Each year I decide where I’d like to focus my travels, much of the previous year has been spent exploring places a bit closer to home. Kosovo, St Kilda, Minsk and Boa vista were a few highlights. The beauty is you can really go almost anywhere and divide your time how you like. Below are a few factors personal to me and my thoughts on how to maximise my time on earth.It’s a generalisation possibly not applicable to all or those who work shifts but I hope there is something you can take from my non ground breaking philosophy.
Go to the pub one night less a week, perhaps go to a cheaper pub. Fly with RyanAir rather than BA. Asda smart price baked beans are just as good as Heinz.
Time management and planning
This is the most important of my preparation for a year of travel – within my means. I know I’m entitled to 28 days + plus an extra day for every year of employment. So essentially a month of PAID leave. That’s pretty generous, but you can push this a little further. Incorporate weekends, and bank holidays in to your adventure calendar. Easter and Christmas provide ample opportunity for you to expand adventure travel time without encroaching too much into your paid holiday days. The royal wedding and jubilee celebrations were fantastic. With the way the bank holidays and weekends worked out I explored the middle east of two and a half weeks only using six days of my allocated 28 days… meaning I still had 22 days to do with as I wished. A standard bank holiday for me means nine days can be spent travelling while only taking four off work.
How you divide you holiday is another matter. Will you use it for one long adventure exploring the coast of Africa, or 10 city breaks? Personally I like a mixture, a few long weekends (I find 4 nights away over a weekend work well), a two weeker – backpacking through a region, and week snowboarding around Christmas with the Mrs which still normally leaves me with some time incase something unexpected comes up which I simply can not resist.When you have a destination in mind don’t feel compelled to stay in one place. When on a short break I often fly into an city only to use it as a base and use public transport to venture into a neighbouring county for a night or two. Or simply fly in to one airport and fly out of another. Booking flights far in advance means you’ve got something to look forward to, also they tend to be the best deals. When it comes to flying then I’ve normally forgot about the initial financial outlay many months ago as my bank acount has recovered by the time I jet off, it can even seem like a free trip – though it clearly is not.
Now I don’t mean complete sacrifice, don’t give up all your luxuries. After all life is for living and one should enjoy as much of it as possible. Ok, so this may be a bit of a cliche but simple sacrifices throughout the year can make all the difference. Go to the pub one night less a week, perhaps go to a cheaper pub. Fly with RyanAir rather than BA. Asda smart price baked beans are just as good as Heinz, don’t buy designer. It’s really about looking at your spending and tweaking your expenditure. Even if you can save a token minimal amount of £100 a year than that can still get you all over Europe.
It goes without saying if your employer allows you to be flexible with when you can take your annul leave then great – opportunities can pop up at anytime – take them!
You snooze you lose – or at least you snooze and you may pay a lot more than what you originally hoped. I’m guilty of this. An opportunity may present itself, perhaps a special or limited offer, I umm and arr about it, put it off till tomorrow and BAM, missed opportunity as the price goes up. Remember less unnecessary expenditure means more disposable income for travel and adventure. Last week I saw unprecedentedly low cost flights to Dubai at £229 – I snoozed and now the cost its over £300. That’s an additional £70 I could have spent on a low cost flight to somewhere in Europe. See an opportunity and act decisively. Take it, or pass on it, but don’t dwell over it. If you miss it don’t worry to much as there is bound to be a different opportunity around the corner.
Stash some cash
I have an ‘adventure fund’, a separate bank account which I keep topped up with a bit of any extra cash that comes my way. Whats more is you can set up a small standing order from your main account to siphon of a bit cash which you can spend on your adventure. Can you live without that extra tenner a week? Do that for a year and that’s over £500. Check out Alistair Humphreys book Grand Adventures where you can learn more how you can get the funds for your travels.