The wonderful Sophie Cliff and I joked recently that if there were such a job as “professional city breaker”, we’d really like to interview for it.

It’s not like I don’t love my job. I do. And I have flexible bosses, a generous holiday allowance and a decent enough salary to be able to take trips every now and then. But it doesn’t stop me wondering how I can possibly see all I want to see within the confines of a full time job.

I’m making a pretty good stab of it at the moment, and thought I’d share my top trips for satisfying wanderlust when you have a full time job.

1. Understand your holiday allowance

I have a very generous 30 days a year of holiday allowance (charity sector perks!) plus bank holidays (of which there are 8 in the U.K. per year). Whatever your allowance may be, make sure you know what it is, when you have to use it by and how far in advance you have to book time off.

Then comes the best part – see if you can plan your trips around bank holidays so you get more bang for your buck. By utilising these days and weekends, you can often get away with taking very little holiday days for a much longer break.

2. Get comfortable with the city break

Old me used to book one holiday a year – a mammoth two week long haul extravaganza. At the time I loved my two week breaks, lazing on a beach relaxing and not having to rush about. But the post holiday blues were very real, and with so long between proper breaks from work I got frustrated and sad.

Over the last couple of years I’ve fully embraced the city break lifestyle and it’s done wonders for my mental health and travel ability. It’s also much easier to fit in regular city breaks than bigger trips. If I can take the odd Friday and Monday off work, I can see more of the world and hold down a full time job.

Of course a lazy beach holiday is also nice – but I’ve switched the Caribbean for the beaches of Europe, which are closer to home and require a lot less upheaval!

3. Explore what’s on your doorstep

City breaks abroad are great and all, bit how much of your own backyard have you actually seen? I know that there is way more of the UK (and indeed London!) that I still need to explore and visiting these locations are much easier to manage within a weekend. You don’t have to be at an airport hours in advance, you can pack more lightly and still satisfy your sense of adventure.

Day trips are also awesome, and give you a balance of time to explore and time to get your shit together. I can’t be the only one that has to spend weekend time doing life admin!

So you want to see the world, but you work full time? Here's some tips for travel on the 9-5!Click To Tweet

Travel Tips | Packing Tips | Travel With A Full Time Job

4.Β Be prepared and sort your kit

To commit to a life of travel whilst also holding down a full time job is heavy on the admin side. I was previously disorganised and getting my stuff together for a long weekend break too far more time than I could reasonably manage, leading to late nights and stressed out races to the airport. That is not the way to start a holiday!

I’m managing to sneak off for a break every month, and a big factor in this is being totally organised. I have a suitcase which meets most airlines cabin bag restrictions, a stack of airport approved plastic bags for my liquids and a handful of internal packing bags and containers to make sure its really easy to pack. All of this lives inside my suitcase which is ready to go each time I fly.

This “city break kit” includes:

  • A toiletries pack which goes neatly inside the plastic bag which includes decanted versions of my favourite toiletries and liquid make up items. I top these up when I return from holiday each time.
  • A pouch which includes spare hair bands and clips, and within which I can chuck the appropriate jewellery the night before.
  • DoublesΒ of things like my hairbrush, toothbrush etc which stay in my suitcase for every trip.
  • A zipper bag with my European plug adapters, spare chargers and a fully charged portable phone charger.
  • A go to packing list for a 2/3 night break which lives on the notes section of my iPhone so I can just throw stuff into the case like socks, pants, tops, and jeans whilst also checking the weather. This means my clothes packing takes under 15 minutes. (if you’d be interested in seeing a copy of this list, let me know in the comments!).

5. Make time to relax

If you are holding down a full time job, sometimes that can be tiring enough without adding the daily toil of life admin AND regular travel into the mix. At the moment I’m travelling fairly frequently, and to be honest it might be starting to stress me out a little ( stay tuned for a post on this!).

Ensuring you have a decent balance of life, work, relaxation and travel will mean you don’t get travel burnout AND enjoy your time exploring even more. Mix up your weekends with travel, day trips and just sitting in your pants watching Netflix and you’ll stay super chill about fitting in your traveller lifestyle.

I’d love to hear any tips you have for fitting travel around your full time job, so please do share them in the comments!

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Travel Tips | Travel Packing | City Breaks | Holidays

Travel Tips | Travel Packing | City Breaks | Holidays
Travel Tips | Travel Packing | City Breaks | Holidays

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  • I bloody love this post Sam! I am such a big fan of regular city breaks over long haul holidays – I find you definitely get more bang for your buck annual leave wise! x
    Sophie Cliff

    • Thanks so much boo! I feel the same way – for me it’s less about annual leave because I get so bloody much I never use it (it’s a charity sector trick – at you less, give you more annual leave you never use!) and more about not having to wait a year between trips and never taking time off work! Which was old me, I went about 3 years only taking 10 days leave, noooooo! xx

  • I love the idea of the ‘city break kit’! Genious!

    — Lisa //

  • I love this. I work full time as well and travel as much as I can. Being based in Europe helps a whole lot, because you can get away just for a weekend.

    • It’s so true, Europe does help. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • Finally, a very realistic post on travel. Who says you have to quit your day job to travel? I am glad you’ve adopted a very sensible approach. City breaks can do wonders for your mental health. Long haul flights are also great but I agree that they do take a lot out of you, especially if you have to cross multiple time zones.

    • I completely agree! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • Maggie Alexander

    Ah, the good old job that gets in the way of travel! I’m thankful to be self-employed (my husband as well) and he can work remotely, anywhere in the world. This allows us to travel more than average and not be stuck to the very few vacation days most Americans get. Great post!

    • It’s great that you get to take your work on the road. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • So true. I’m also straddling a full time job while trying to travel as much as I can. (I hope to one day become a digital nomad.) But yeah, the city breaks are really helpful to de-stress. And I would love to see your packing list. I have a semi-list on my phone permanently. But could do with tips from yours.

    • I’ll have to get a post up about my packing list – I will soon! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • Jean Bean

    Great article!! We don’t all need to quit our jobs to travel. There are so many wonderful options. I love taking city vacations or just day trips. It’s a great for your mental health.

    • I really enjoy a day trip too. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • Extending 3 day weekends with a couple of vacation days is a genius idea. You can get a substantial and fulfilling amount of time off and not use up all your vacay days in one go. We did this a lot when we lived in Miami, with all those nearby tropical islands. But you’re so right about exploring around wherever you live. We also lived in Ohio (not a hot destination at all) and we found many amazing and surprising short trips.

    • Yes mini excursions from home are so good! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • I can so relate to this since I work full time and travel whenever I can. I’m lucky that I get 4 weeks of vacation, which is incredibly high by U.S. standards. Another tip: See if you can take a few extra days off by working extra throughout the year.

    • Yes definitely working overtime in some jobs can be a great idea! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • Haha, I can totally relate even now that I have a remote work arrangement. I can’t be a full time digital nomad and I also don’t want to leave my travel buddy who’s got to deal with 30-days off. πŸ˜€ So I feel like I still am a city breaker, as you say. Back when I was still working full time in a cube, I only started with 14 days of vacation leave. Imagine that! But that didn’t stop me, I still get to jet off quite frequently. It’s just a matter of negotiating properly with your boss and taking unpaid days off. πŸ™‚

    • 14 days of vacation?! Wow that is so tough! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • These are all pretty great tips. πŸ™‚ I’m not tied to an office job now, but if I ever do decide to go back to the corporate 9-to-5 life again, I will take your pieces of advice and travel more. Maybe that’s why I felt so burned out before when I still had a full-time job… because I didn’t take breaks to recharge and de-stress!

    • It’s so easy to get burned out in a standard job if you don’t take breaks! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • Yep its all about being creative haha! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  • Ariane Petit

    That’s a really helpful post! It’s always dificult to get things sorted out when you have a full-time job (other than blogging) of course! I always try to have a big holiday (3-4 weeks) a year and to getaway on city trips in between, or another one week holiday… but it’s difficult,especially if you have itchy feet and feel the urge to travel all the time πŸ™‚

  • travelwithtarah

    I’ve been living abroad for the past 6 months and will be for about another 6 but will have to pick a home base with a full time job after that. So this is definitely really useful for me when that time comes I’ll have to take another look at this!

  • Gokul Raj

    That is so tempting. I have a full time job and I am planning for the kind of lifestyle described here.

  • christopher mitchell

    Yeah, fitting travel into our lives can be so difficult. Luckily, I’ve found ways over the years to manage it. It’s so important that we don’t let life pass us by without doing what we want, and seeing the world. As you mentioned, it’s really about finding a balance that works for you!

  • Great tips, I think the most important one is to explore around you. I often personally forget to stop and look around me there are so many amazing things to do and see without flying across he world!

  • Your tips are very good. Indeed, a full-time job creates some restrictions related to travel. I like your idea of city break kit.

  • Akashdeep Singh

    I would definitely share you tips with my fellow friends who work full time as they are always confused how to travel. Thanks for sharing

  • Suruchi Mittal

    This is a wonderful post for the people who work full time and crib for the holidays. Travel brings so much relief in your normal mundane routines. I agree, it is really about finding a balance. I too liked your city break idea. Thanks for sharing this up.

  • Anamika Ojha

    Some great tips! Traveling is possible even if you have a full time job. All you need is a right attitude and you will fine means to travel.

  • I think the best advice if you’re American is to quit your job, find work in Europe, and move. Then you can get that holiday time and have places on your doorstep. Working in the US with a measly 2 weeks vacation time and 3 hour flight minimum to anything else makes it near impossible.

    • We are incredibly lucky in the UK with our travel allowances and our proximity to exciting European destinations!

  • Neha Verma

    I am from India, a full time job holder and we travel just like you mentioned. Beginning of the year I roughly chalk out our holiday plans, leaving some time for unplanned ones. And then we take offs alongside national holidays. There are many places to travel in India in shorter duration. And for longer ones, we travel overseas