Do you wish you could travel more than your employer’s allotted two weeks of vacation? Do you dream of a month in Europe or time to roam through Asia? Do blue seas, sunny skies and perfectly manicured greens haunt your dreams? Join the club :). I want to help make that happen for you — and me!
Here at Go to Travel Gal, I try to help you find ways to travel nearly free, removing the financial burden that keeps many of us from traveling. But even with the financial burden gone, we often still struggle with finding the time to travel — even when it’s almost free!
Breaking Society’s Norms
“Everything popular is wrong.” — Oscar Wilde
Our society is not set up to encourage frequent travel. We work long hours, have kids in school nine months out of the year, run our own businesses with never a moment to come up for air. We sit at desks 9-5, wondering how in the world we are going to make our dreams of travel come true.
I am blessed in that both my husband and I work from home, allowing us the freedom to travel whenever we can, but we, too are limited by school schedules. That leaves us only summertime or breaks when every other family in the world is vacationing to travel. Not ideal.
To truly be able to travel more, we are going to have to do things differently than everyone else. Or as I’ve heard many successful people describe it, “zig when everyone else zags.” You’re going to have to look at life with fresh eyes, try to remove the blinders set up by “what everybody else does” or “what society tells us we should do” and come up with a new plan that allows your family to survive while making your dreams come true!
Some of the ideas I am going to present will sound scary, very scary, but hang with me. Open your mind, let it process these suggestions for a few days and keep your end goal in mind whether it’s: sitting oceanside in the Caribbean, hiking the Alps or golfing at Pebble Beach.
7 Ways to Find MORE Time to Travel in the Next 30 Days
Link: “The One Thing” by Gary Keller
Link: “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss
1. For the Employed – Negotiate a Remote Working Arrangement
Just because you are employed by someone other than yourself does NOT exempt you from dramatically increasing your travel schedule. It takes a bit of creativity and planning but your goal here is to — over time — negotiate a work-from-home arrangment. Tim Ferriss outlines it step-by-step in Chapter 12 (“Disappearing Act”) of his book “The 4-Hour Workweek,” but essentially you are gradually demonstrating to your boss that you can be more productive when working from home. You can easily be halfway through that process in 30 days.
If you complete your mission to work from home, you then implement some of the rules below, including the 80/20 rule, outsourcing work that can be done by someone else, and bowing out of all meetings to dramatically increase your productivity, while just as dramatically reducing your work time. Then, work while you travel — with no one the wiser (unless of course you post it to Instagram)! With all the time you will save, begin implementing No. 3 (start your own business), so you CAN start to post your travels on Instagram 🙂 with no worries.
2. For the Self-Employed – Cut Your Work Hours
“The key to having more time is doing less,” says Ferriss in “The 4-Hour Workweek” or put another way “do the minimum necessary for maximum effect.”
If you run your own business, you may feel that you have even less time than your 9-5 neighbor, because work seemingly never ends. But here’s how to put an END to that problem in 30 days.
- Take advantage of the 80/20 rule, an economic theory which says that 20% of efforts/inputs generate 80% of results/outputs. Ask yourself questions like: Which 20% of the tasks you do result in 80% of the results? Or which 20% of your tasks generate 80% of your income? Focus on those! Which 20% of your tasks cause 80% of your stress or result in 80% more work? Delete those! If you had a heart attack and the doctor told you you could only work 2 hours PER WEEK, what would you do? What would you cut?
- Take Fridays off and cut your work day off at 3 p.m. Creating shorter timespans for work forces you to prioritize and get the important stuff done more efficiently.
- Ask yourself each day: “What is the ONE thing I can do today such that everything else would be easier or unnecessary?” See my summary of the book, “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller.
- Hire a virtual assistant: What are the tasks that truly only YOU can do? Even if you do them best could someone else still do them? Outsource anything that is not something only YOU can do. You can find virtual assistants to do everything under the sun from writing business plans to buying flowers for your mom. They range in price from about $7 in India (low end) to $35 U.S. Check out Upwork.com to find freelancers or use Brickwork (India) or TimeEtc (U.S.) for pre-vetted, fully managed assistants.
3. Start Your Own Business
Running your own business is the ideal way to spend your time as you wish, though it entails more risk and requires purchasing your own health insurance, funding your own retirement, etc. I have worked for myself for the last 15 years and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It will take more than 30 days, but you can start the ball rolling this month by researching and brainstorming. You could start a blog that generates income, run a fulfullment business of some type (where people order products from you and you have it fulfilled elsewhere) or offer a service that you can outsource. The key is to create a process that you can automate or outline processes that someone else can replicate in your absence.
You’re going to want to pick something that does not require a lot of time from you or you haven’t helped yourself :). “The 4-Hour Workweek” offers lots of great ideas and literally step-by-step walks you through how to make it happen.
If you’re interested in starting your own travel — or other — blog, check out my post on “The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Travel Blog” that walks you step-by-step through the simple process of getting a blog on any topic up and running.
4. Put Your Kids in Online School
One of the major hurdles for us in terms of travel is school schedules, so we’ve considered putting the kids in online school for all or part of a year to give us the flexibility to travel whenever we’d like. Think of it as long-term summer but with online-directed programming.
Many, if not all, states offer online public school programs. Here in Indiana, we have several free options, as well as some private options. Of course, this means you’re going to have to allott some time to help your kiddos and everyone is going to have to be together ALL the TIME :). You, of course, could also consider home-schooling your children if you have the time and temperament (I do not ;-)).
This does not have to be a permanent solution, but could possibly be adapted for one year or even one semester on a trial basis. You should check with your local school system and online programs to see if the one semester idea is an option. Check out programs like Connections Academy, which is offered in 28 states, to get started or Google “online public school.” Plan now before the next school year or semester begins.
5. Remind Yourself of the Preciousness of Time
You don’t need me to tell you that you only get one life. Time is a ticking, so use it well. In fact, I’d dare to say time is our most precious commodity. To remind themselves of this, many successful people (yes, I know this sounds morbid) regularly read or listen to stories about those who have died young and/or post to their desk or desktop how many days they have left in their life, according to average lifespans.
- Do you really want to waste another day checking off to-do lists of unimportant tasks at a job that takes up more than a third of your life?
- Is the worst case scenario if you do this really that bad?
- What could you do to recover if the worst did happen?
- What would you do if you lost your job right now to keep yourself afloat?
6. Book Travel on Your Calendar RIGHT NOW
You’ve probably heard the story of how if you start filling a jar with rocks and begin with little pebbles first and then try to add large rocks you can’t fit them all in. But if you put the big rocks in first and then add the pebbles, they will settle around the larger rocks and it all fits.
Make travel one of your big rocks and put it in the jar (your calendar) first. Block off large swaths of time to travel not twice per year, but how about six to eight times a year? Or maybe three big chunks of 3 weeks or more? THEN fill in the unimportant stuff. If you don’t do this, work will easily fill the void.
7. Sell Your House and Use the Money to Travel Instead
OK, so I know you probably won’t do this one, and certainly you couldn’t do it in 30 days, but I want you to open your mind to alternative possibilities to the way we live. THAT you can do in 30 days! Break that mold of thinking that you have to work 9 to 5, own a house, have a dog, raise a couple kids, send them to school, put them in every sport and lesson imaginable, have two nice cars, spring break in Florida, summer in Hawaii and spend holiday break skiing. What if you did the opposite? What if???
What if you sold your house, paid off your mortgage, put the money in the bank, sold at least one car, eliminating a car payment. Now, you no longer have one car insurance bill, utility bills, home insurance, home and car taxes, home repairs, etc. Plus, you’ve got money in the bank.
Or maybe you just rent out your house for a year for enough to cover your mortage?
What if, instead, you used your money saved to rent an Airbnb in a different place every month for 9 months, preparing meals in the rental most of the time just like you do at home and exploring the destination. What if for the other 3 months you rented an RV and drove across the U.S.?
While the math may not exactly work out here, Ferriss advises you to write down your dream on paper along with the amount of money it would take to finance and work backward from there. It’s often no where near as much as you thought, especially if you look at it on a monthly basis.
What do you think? Are you daring enough to give one of these ideas a try? Is it worth it for a better life? I want to know what you think! Please weigh in in the comments.
- How I Work While Traveling
- How the Southwest Companion Pass Change My Life
- 5 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Saving Money on Travel
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
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