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Finding time to travel is right up there on the difficulty scale with trying to trick yourself that you really love asparagus more than cake. But anything is possible. I wanted to give you a few ideas to make the most of your vacation days easier than giving up carbs.

Say, you are fairly average and have 2 weeks of paid vacation a year. Due to family obligations, you already know that you’re going to have to take off at least a day or two at thanksgiving and at Christmas. Well that leaves you the better part of 1 of those weeks gone.

Now you have 1 week of vacation that’s all up to you. Thinking about only having 1 week off to see all the places you want to is bleak.

Don’t get discouraged, it’s all about stategery…yes, I’m using that as a word here!

Take advantage of long weekends

Long weekends are the perfect time to take an extra day or two off because 1) people are anticipating that fewer people will be in the office so 2) you’ll miss less work and 3) have less to catch up on when you get back. Plus you’re getting 3 essentially free days off that you’re not stealing from your precious few days left.

So, let’s use July 3rd as our example since it’s our next long weekend. If you book an evening flight on the 1st and take the 2nd and the 6th off, you’ll have 5 full days of vacation. With that much time, you could spend it touring castles and pubs in Ireland, sipping coffee under the Eiffel Tower, or catching a Broadway show. 5 days is without a doubt a quick trip, but that also means you’re not spending as much on hotels and food, which means, you’ll save some for your next long weekend, because you still have 3 days of vacation left, HUZZAH!

See if you can work a flex schedule

More and more employers are willing to be flexible with schedules to recruit and retain good employees. If you’re a good employee, you might be able to approach your boss about working 4, 10 hour days on occasion so you can have a 3 or 4 day weekend. Work Monday-Thursday this week and Tuesday-Friday next week, and you all of a sudden have 4 days to fly off to San Diego for some much needed beach time.

Use work travel to your advantage

Do you have to travel a lot for your job? Why not tack on a vacation on the end? Say your job is flying you to NYC for a week of meetings, extend your trip a few days and you’ve got a cheap little vacation. Your employer would have paid for the flight and your hotel during your meetings, now you just have to pay for the last days of your hotel and incidentals. Make sure you’re being upfront about this arrangement with your employer so it doesn’t look like you’re ripping anybody off. If the flight is more expensive to fly out at the end of your vacation than it was at the end of the meetings, offer to pay the difference. Better yet, try and pick a day to fly out that would be a savings to your employer.

Work hard when you’re not playing

So, you’ve got this sweet set up with paid vacation, and benefits and a boss that’s cool with letting you switch up your schedule so you can travel. Don’t screw it up! Make sure while you are in the office that you’re making yourself irreplaceable. The workplace is as competitive as ever and if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a position to have a job you love that allows you to travel too, make sure you’re giving as much as you get.

Not all of us can become permanent nomads. As much as I loved the time that Pat and I set off to live that life, it wasn’t our long term plan. Just because you’re invested in the life you have now, (good job, mortgage, family) doesn’t mean you have to put your dream of travel on the self until you’re retired.

What if you get hit by a bus a before then?! I really hope you don’t, but live life for today so if that bus ever does come, you won’t have any regrets.

And don’t forget to travel happy!

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