One of the things I get asked a lot – like, every time I have to decline someone’s flat warming or baby shower or birthday drinks because of it, is: how do you get to travel so much? That’s usually always followed by: how do you *afford* to travel so much? Which, honestly is an entirely different blog post so for the sake of keeping things simple, let’s tackle the first question first.
I *get* to travel so much, because it’s my passion. It’s what makes me happy, it’s where I find my creativity, my hunger for culture, my – well, *actual* hunger too (I have definitely travelled for food), so for me, travel is my hobby. Some people like dancing in ridiculously high shoes until athe early hours of the morning, overpriced drink in hand; I don’t. Some people have houses they fill with plants and prints and soft furnishings; I don’t. Some people have expensive gym memberships, or kids (human or otherwise), or a real passion for spending their weekends in bed; I don’t. Well, except for that last thing, which I kind of do, too, but you know what I mean.
Travel is my hobby. And I doubt I spend any more time on my hobby than others do theirs, the only difference is that I record my hobby online, too. Yes, my blog is also my job (not in the way I will ever earn enough to run it without having to work in a *real job* too, but in the way that I work hard, dedicate hours, and am afforded opportunities through it) and I take care of it and it brings me joy, and so the two things combined are really when I am at my happiest.
I think it was Richard Branson who said that “clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”, and the best way to take care of your employees is to allow for and maintain a work/life balance. I have that in spades, luckily, and that definitely helps with being able to travel so much. It’s not unusual for me to have one or two Mondays or Fridays off a month because I’m off exploring another city for a long weekend, because I try to make the most of my annual leave like that. I rarely take chunks of time off, and when I do, it’s for long-haul trips that deserve the dedicated time.
Which brings me to some points:
Be creative with your time off
Taking a Monday or Friday off is great if you want a long weekend, but you’ll often find that Tuesdays and Thursdays are when the flights are the cheapest, and Wednesdays is when you will find all the sales start. Why? Hump Day mentality, I think, but whatever the case, don’t do your travel bookings on a Monday. And, always clear your cache before you do as that way you’ll get the very best deal.
Be open minded with your destination
The “search everywhere” function on Skyscanner is one of the best things to have been invented, as it will literally search every single airport and airline in the UK for the lowest fare to everywhere that planes fly to. It’s great, and it’s how 50% of my destinations are decided.
Be prepared to not stop all weekend
If you don’t have a lot of time off, then you do really need to make the most of your trip. Trip Advisor and the local Time Out page will offer you the best 10 things to do in any given city, so have a look through, see what appeals, and plan your days accordingly. For me that means hitting everything in one area first, then move back towards wherever I’m staying. I will always be a little flexible with that, as you never know what you’ll discover along the way, and often there will be hidden gems for you to uncover yourself, too.
Be ready to be shattered
I make no secret of how tiring travelling can be. Last year I did 18 trips in total, including one two-week stint in Japan. That’s a lot of not-being-home, and so from the minute I finished work I’d be heading home back to bed. Honestly, catching up with sleep was like my second favourite thing to do last year (after eating), and over Christmas I literally stayed inside my house for almost a week; as much as travelling makes me happy, it really can be a little exhausting.
This year I promised myself more slow travel, and – as of this week have only had/booked seven trips for this year. Two of those are big ones (to NYC for a week over my birthday, and NZ for Christmas), and the others all being in and around Europe/Mediterranean, and…I feel better for it. I’m spending more time at home, with friends, in London – and that makes me just as happy as travel does. I’m certainly not *done* with travelling so much, but I’m certainly going to be more sensible about it from now on.
Up next: a long weekend in Luxembourg at the end of May. Where are you heading next?
Erica is head of digital promotions at Talented Talkers, and also runs a travel and lifestyle blog at imbeingerica.com.