How often can you take a vacation while keeping your full-time job and not lose it because you are often away from the office traveling? A lot is the short answer! Meet the travel bloggers who keep working full-time in order to fund and fulfill their travel dreams. Even if you don’t have a lot of paid vacation days, learn the secrets that help these part-time travel bloggers explore the world without leaving their day job.
Who wants to wait until retirement age to hit the road and check off their bucket list? Not me. Luckily there are many simple ways to maximize your time off from work, especially if taking vacations is your #1 hobby and priority. You just need some advice, motivation, and true-life examples of people just like you who work full-time, love to travel and make blogging about it their part-time career.
There is no reason to leave your full-time job if you have a rewarding career that you enjoy but worry that there is not enough time to pursue your passion for travel. However if you hate your job but need to keep working to pay the bills and support your family, quitting is just an empty temptation. Regardless it is possible to tweak your work-life-vacation balance to have it all. That is why I want to introduce you to this list of part-time travel bloggers.
When I search Google for a place I want to visit, travel blog posts are almost always on page one. Of course you’ll also see search results for top sites such as TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet in addition to the official tourism website for a destination. It’s always worth reading travel bloggers take on a destination as they are a great source of inspiration to book new destinations. Travel bloggers know how to turn an amazing trip experience into a captivating story full of facts, photos, and real-life travel advice.
You’ve probably heard about the handful of travel bloggers who are referred to as “digital nomads.” They seem to live the good life by roaming the world full-time while sharing incredible non-stop travel experiences. Ask how do they earn money to afford this constant state of travel? I’ve learned that it is not as glamorous as their Instagram feeds appear. Digital nomads are often limited to a strict budget and constantly on the search for paid gigs, sponsored trips, and partnership deals. Do you really want work from the hotel while on vacation?
The rest of the travel bloggers you’ll find on the search results page I call “part-time” travel bloggers. They have a fixed home and job to return to after each trip and are limited as to how often they can be on vacation. Many do work remotely or are self-employed like a contractor, freelancer, or consultant which gives them the flexibility to do their job while away from the office. Either way they found the secret formula to have a career without giving up their travel lifestyle.
The reason why travel bloggers are your ultimate inspiration to get out there and take more vacations is what they do on the side – they all publish travel blogs. Now anyone can start-up a travel blog and you’ll find thousands of them if you do a quick Google search for any destination. Most bloggers don’t stick with it for long so you’ll see tons of amateur and abandoned websites. Only the successful keep on traveling and sharing their vacation stories year after year.
Part-time travel bloggers who have been doing this for years prove that you can have a satisfying career without postponing your travel dreams until retirement. That is why I want to highlight some of the top travel bloggers on the Web who stay fully employed or have a partner with a full-time job that supports them both. These are all people who have figured out how to turn their weekends, company holidays, compressed work weeks and limited vacation days into a massive amount of travel opportunities. They are not vacation deprived so you don’t need to be either!
My list of inspiring travel bloggers interviewed below all share a common lifestyle. They each live in the U.S. or Canada and have a regular job just like most of you. Their paid vacation days, holidays and time off benefits such as PTO are as limited as yours (none have an unlimited vacation policy). The key difference is how they turn that challenge into an opportunity to pursue the best work-life-vacation balance every year.
By blogging about their travels and sharing stories, photos and videos on social media and YouTube, you can see what’s possible with a full-time job. Read and follow these hard-working travel bloggers to learn their exclusive travel hacks and how far you can travel even for a weekend. Most important, they haven’t had to quit their job to travel the world and for a good reason as you’ll soon learn.
I interviewed Dan and Mikkel of Sometimes Home about how child-free couples can deal with very different vacation policies (one is self-employed and the other has a fixed set of paid vacation days) while not missing the opportunities to visit destinations near and far.
We are Dan and Mikkel of Sometimes Home travel blog! We love traveling internationally and domestically within the United State. Traveling on cruises, road trips and of course air travel are all in our wheelhouse. We get asked a lot if we’re a husband and wife team and yes, we are! We really enjoy great art, historic sites, great dining and drinks. We don’t have children (and don’t plan on having any) and though we love dogs, we don’t own pets so we’re more free to travel whenever we want. Thus we write about couples and solo adult travel.
We’ve worked for so long (Mikkel is in her mid thirties and Dan in his early forties) and hard for our careers, both of which we’re really passionate and proud of. It allows us to have predictable income and diversify our lives in terms of the day-to-day things we do to contribute to the world and community. Having full time jobs also allows us to make a bit more money than we could as full time travelers so we’re able to stay in better hotels, have better experiences/tours while on vacation, etc. We’re not 100% sure that’d be the case if we traveled full time but it’s our best educated guess based on our conversations and thoughts about it!
Mikkel’s job requires regular travel as her weddings are all over the United States, with about 1-2 destination weddings a year. Dan travels very minimally for work as needed to visit other companies. Mikkel definitely turns trips in bleisure trips whenever possible! Dan isn’t able to as much based on his work schedule.
Mikkel has a great vacation policy because she’s self employed! She has such a lenient boss. 😉 Aka herself.
Dan has your good ‘ole American vacation policy with about two to three weeks vacation (which is nothing). When we travel to Europe and discuss vacation policies the Europeans we talk to are always shocked at how little vacation he gets. We agree. American vacation policies are the worst. So no, he doesn’t have a generous paid time off policy or much job flexibility. We make full use of weekend trips and strategically use holidays to our advantage.
So many people are tired after a full work week – they say “no” to going out over the weekend. But there’s beauty in exploring your own city or own state, for example. If you can’t travel to London for the weekend (and don’t get me wrong – we don’t either) but you have a travel spirit inside you know that saying “yes” to a staycation or “yes” to visiting a town two hours away exercises the travel muscles in your mind. It’s important to nurture that spirit so when other bigger trips come along you’re already conditioned to packing up and going. Or booking that flight to get to a great location and plan a trip.
Running your own business is really hard and a lot of work. There are some weeks Mikkel works 60 hours and some she works 30. It all balances itself out. She also answers emails wherever we are, at whatever hour, as no one else is “in the office” while we’re away to reply to a client inquiry, for example. She was up answering emails at 7:00am in Paris one trip before we headed out to tour the city to check that off the to-do list so she had a clear head the rest of the day and could focus on our trip. But it’s the payoff for having such wonderful flexibility in her schedule otherwise. Work hard, play hard. Disclaimer: We’re not partiers! We mean “play hard” in terms of traveling!
I interviewed Alex and Bell of Wanderlust Marriage about time-off policies in the science industry and how to make travel a regularly scheduled part of our working life. I’ve spoken with them from Dublin to Boston as they took their marriage from Europe to America.
Hi! I’m Bell and I travel these days mostly with my other half, Alex. A lot of our travels are work related, but we do a lot of weekends away and also usually multiple interesting and longer trips a year.
I love what I do for my day job. I get to turn cancer patients data into stories to help understand new anti-cancer therapies from patients experiences. In addition to this we like have some level of stability. Being on the road is awesome, but sometimes it’s nice to have your own comfy pillows to sleep on.
My current job requires quite a bit of travel, but there is no opportunity for bleisure. In previous jobs though, I have been able to do that. For example, I taught a week of courses at the University of Malaysia a few years back and Alex and I were able to add another 10 days to our trip. We visited Borneo to see orangutans and Alex was able to add some work on as well with an amazing eco tour and lodge stay in the jungle!
I get three weeks paid time off, but we also get time off awards, or at least we were getting these. In addition to this, we can bank up to a certain amount of extra time worked and use that as leave. This has translated to a good amount of time off and it’s possible to take 2 weeks off in a row. I’ve worked in other jobs where the time off was generous with bleisure opportunities, but the ability to take 2 weeks off for vacation in a row was really frowned upon.
For us it is flexibility, which isn’t easy for everyone. If it’s not a work trip, we’ll often look for a great deal and make the most of the destination. Everywhere has something beautiful, interesting, or educational to offer.
I met Brianne of A Traveling Life in person in Boston to talk about her approach to work-life-vacation balance along with tips on how to save time, live simply and travel frequently while maintaining a vibrant home life.
I’m a “part-time” travel blogger based in Boston, MA. By day I’m a nonprofit marketing and communications consultant, and on nights and weekends, I blog at A Traveling Life, to show others that it’s possible to balance a career with significant travel. Since I’m self employed, I have a little more flexibility than the average American, but I still need to carefully plan my trips around my work commitments and deadlines.
I generally try to take one trip each month, and visit two or three new countries each year. Most frequently I take long weekend trips of 4-5 nights – since I live only 10 minutes away from an international airport, I have easy access to lots of direct flights (especially to European cities) and several budget airlines. On two occasions, I’ve taken long-term trips – most recently, in spring 2017, I spent about 6 weeks traveling in between client engagements.
My career means a lot to me, so I’ve never considered giving it up completely – although striking a healthy work-life-travel-blogging balance is something I’m always shooting for. I get a lot of satisfaction from supporting my clients, who are doing such meaningful work, and I’ve built an extensive professional network here in Boston.
I also own a condo and have a dog, and I love my neighborhood, friends, and going to local social and cultural events. Regardless of how long I’ve been away, I always appreciate having a comfortable “home base” to return to.
I don’t really travel for work, since most of my clients are based in the Boston area, but I do attend travel conferences a few times a year. I try to maximize those opportunities by adding on a day or two for sightseeing on either end.
Well, my employer is me. A lot of people say that I’m “lucky” to be self-employed and assume that I have endless time off; however, when you run a business, you can rarely ever be “off.” Since it’s just me, I don’t have any backup like I would if I was part of a team or had a boss, so I have to plan my travel around my clients’ schedules, and I usually need to be available by email and phone wherever I am in the world.
Prior to becoming self employed, most of my career was spent working for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits typically can’t pay the salaries that private businesses can; however, I found that – in general – they offer flexible schedules and generous vacation time. On several occasions, I was able to negotiate additional paid time off in lieu of a salary increase as well as take unpaid leave when my employer’s budget was tight.
I live very simply, keep my overhead low and I don’t have a lot of “stuff” to take care of – I even use a rental clothing service when I need professional attire. However, every now and then, I treat myself to a cleaner, so I can spend a Saturday outside exploring instead of inside dusting.
I also try to plan out my trips as far ahead as possible – not necessarily the specific itinerary, but where I want to go and when in the year ahead – taking into consideration the busy and slow times for my business. This approach allows me to schedule my projects accordingly and gives my clients plenty of notice about my availability, which they appreciate. And it gives me time to research flight and hotel deals, and make sure I’m getting the most out of my travel budget!
I interviewed Jenn and Ed of Coleman Concierge about traveling as a couple while saving for the future, building a travel blogging business and leveraging a compressed work schedule. Note: Ed is the one speaking for the both of them in the responses below.
We are Jenn and Ed Coleman, a Gen X couple who loves to travel and explore. We deeply believe in the transformational power of travel. Our tagline is amazing adventures for ordinary people because we believe that you don’t have to be super-rich, super fit, or super anything to have an amazing adventure. Expanding your comfort zone and trying new things will pay huge dividends in both health and happiness.
Channeling my inner Graduate… I want to say one word to you: “compound interest”. OK, that’s two words, but they’re crucial to our life plans. If you look at simple retirement planning, you’ll realize that the majority of your retirement gets built in the first half of your career. We are still in those prime earning years. but getting close to the end. We want to enter the second phase of our life set up to live on our terms and focus on making an impact. We don’t think we could be as impactful in the future if we didn’t set that up by working today.
My job does require travel, and we take every opportunity to turn those trips into bleisure trips. Our last trip was to the Florida Panhandle. We took a long weekend at Panama City Beach on the way to a meeting in Destin, FL. Not only did per diem pay for the gas, but I also had a charge number for the time in route.
My job offers a standard vacation package, but what sets it apart is the work flexibility. We work a 9/80 schedule, so I naturally have every other Friday off. I can take the following Monday off as well, making it a four day weekend, if I make up the time (9 hours) during the next two week pay cycle. The easiest way to do this is by working one extra hour a day for the next two weeks.
I don’t know if we’re a good example of work-life balance. We want to turn Coleman Concierge into a top tier travel site, so there’s a lot of side hustle going on. My narrow vision answer would be to make sure your side hustle involves travel, but that’s not a general answer.
A more philosophical answer would be life phasing. I had kids early during my prime earning years. That allows both cycles to work together. I have one kid in college and one that has already graduated. That means that every weekend we ask ourselves what WE want to do.
Brianna told me about the importance of having a meaningful and rewarding job that also offers a large bank of paid-time-off (PTO) from work. She takes frequent weekend trips as well as flies to foreign destinations to experience what the world has to offer.
My name is Brianna Simmons and I’ve been writing at my blog, the Casual Travelist, where I aim to show others how to make the most of their limited vacation time. I’m queen of the weekend getaway and take several longer trips a year both throughout the US and abroad. Even though I take shorter trips I’m not about ticking boxes off a sightseeing list, it’s all about the experience for me. Whether it’s taking cooking lessons in Copenhagen, trekking through the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, riding a Mardi Gras float in Louisiana or visiting wineries in Tuscany I travel to do things.
I’m a physical therapist during the week and an international jetsetter on the weekend. I truly like my job, specializing in breast cancer rehab and Parkinson’s therapy and I enjoy helping people regain their lives after the effects of these diagnoses. It’s important to me that the work I do makes someone else’s life better in some way.
My job typically does not require me to travel that much but when I do travel for a conference or educational opportunities I try to tack a day or two on if it’s somewhere I’d like to go. I did get to spend 10 days in Austin Texas and spent my spare time exploring Austin’s food and music scene as well as getting out to Texas Hill Country.
I’m fortunate to have very generous PTO (currently 6 weeks every year), but what I have found makes the biggest difference is being able to work 4 longer days giving me a 3 day weekend every week. Alternately if I want to save some of my vacation time I’m able to work that extra day instead of using my PTO.
If you are able to negotiate working several longer days for an extra day off each week or even every other week that extra day goes far as you have more time consistently and also don’t have to take as much PTO for any long weekend trips.
I interviewed Lance and Laura of Travel Addicts after first meeting them at the TBEX travel bloggers conference several years ago and they’re still at it. You’ll be impressed by their approach to managing time off and using money-saving travel hacks to go places without quitting their corporate jobs.
Working a 50-hour-per-week corporate desk job with only three weeks of vacation per year doesn’t mean you can’t see the world. We’re Laura and Lance and since 2008, we have been showing readers of Travel Addicts how to do just that – maximize a limited vacation allotment into the most travel possible. Our motto is, “working to support our habit.” We blend relaxation and comfort with luxury and adventure into our own spirited travel style. You’ll find us cave tubing in Belize, hot air ballooning over Turkey, eating guacamole under a palm tree in Mexico, cruising the Nile in Egypt, scuba diving in Grenada or eating our way through the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Our approach to work-life balance is to work hard and play hard. To be honest, we probably need a better work-life mix.
We didn’t quit our jobs to travel the world because we didn’t think it was an option for us. A lot of full-time travelers are running from something – bad jobs, bad relationships, etc. – and that really wasn’t us. We actually enjoy our lives. When we started travel blogging years ago, we heard from a lot of people that we couldn’t be serious travel writers because we didn’t live a nomadic life. We’re happy with the choice we made and we think we’ve demonstrated that you can be successful as a travel writer and photographer and not be fully nomadic. We’ve always said there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to travel writing.
One of the core aspects of our travel philosophy is to let your job pay for your vacations. Now, you need to do this ethically and we’re not suggesting doing anything illegal or deceitful. There are direct and indirect approaches to getting your travel subsidized. The direct approach is to tack on personal vacation to business trips. So your employer pays your airfare, but the rest of the trip is on you. The indirect approach involves racking up frequent flyer and hotel loyalty points during your business travel to then use to pay for your vacations. This concept, often called travel hacking, is one of the topics we write about frequently.
Have you ever considered launching your own travel blog to share stories and photos from your recent trips? Even if you think you’ll never be popular or don’t travel often enough, it is the perfect way to document all your vacations. My wife Jennifer started her Sidewalk Safari part-time travel blog as a way to capture our annual vacation photos and memories and has been at it every since.
Every time you travel whether near or far, write up a blog post or two about your experience. Include the best photos you’ve taken to tell your vacation story. What did you learn? Were there any surprises? Do you have any recommendations or places to avoid? Link to were you stayed, top tour and attractions, or favorite places to eat. Include a map to showcase your itinerary. Anything funny or special happen? What were your favorite moments?
You can share your travel blog posts with your family and friends after you return (more private than public) or share it with the world. Since your part-time travel blog will be publicly available on the Internet, people who discover your posts will benefit from your personal (yes, you were there!) travel advice.
Here are the two easiest ways to start a travel blog at little or no cost.
Blogger is by far the easiest way to get blogging instantly. Integration with Google Photos saves you time so you can publish your posts while on or as soon as you return from vacation. Blogger is an ideal choice for Android users too, plus it’s fast, free and secure to host on Google Cloud servers. All you need is a Google Account to login and get started building.
Pro Tip: Buying a custom domain name costs a bit extra (about $10-15/year for the domain registration) but it well worth it. You really don’t want to have your personal travel blog hosted on a blogspot.com website URL address. Pick out your travel blog domain to register on NameCheap (like a .com or .travel TLD) then follow the instructions to verify and point it to your Blogger site in a few clicks.
It’s by far the most popular blogging web platform not just for travel bloggers but in every field imaginable. It’s free or just a few dollars per month for the basics when signing up at the official WordPress.com site, but this level of service comes with usage and control limitations. Most travel bloggers host their WordPress site with a specialized hosting company to be able to customize the look, feel, and monetization options like with banner ads and affiliate marketing links.
To save time now, consider starting on your travel blogging journey by signing up with a dedicated hosting company. VacationCounts recommends and is hosted on HostGator, one of the biggest players in the industry. You’ll find complaints with all the big hosting companies if you search, but I’ve had a good customer service experience and minimal down time over the years. If and when you get serious about turning blogging from hobby to part-time job (still without quitting your job), it makes financial sense to start your travel blog with WordPress on the HostGator Starter Plan.
I plan on publishing a complete guide to becoming a part-time travel blogger, so sign up to the VacationCounts newsletter to be the first to know. If you are not ready to start blogging why not give the VacationCounts web app a try? It lets you organize a list of all your travel memories while tracking your vacation day usage. It’s free and counts the number of vacations you take each year to track your travel goals.
Add a comment below about how part-time travel bloggers have inspired you to take more vacations and keep your day job. Who are your favorites? Are you inspired to start your own travel blog to capture and share your vacation memories?
Note: Travel Blogger Interviews conducted in 2015 and 2019.
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