Not all of us can or want to quit our jobs to travel. I work a full time job as a chemical engineer so I know the leave struggle! Despite working most days of the year, I still manage to travel quite a bit (Read my previous post for money saving tips that will have you travelling more for all money related travel tips. This post focuses on managing your minimal leave days in a way that allows you to travel more.
This is how I do it:
Treat your leave days like GOLD
It’s very rare to find me taking leave and spending that day at home in bed. Who else would rather take a nap in Mauritius?! ME! So I plan my leave out for the entire year on a year view calendar. I do this as early as possible in the year. In order to be able to do this, you need to have an idea of your travel plans for the year. Just like any goal, you need to be intentional about wanting to travel.
Once I have my days marked out and tallied against my available leave days (hopefully I have a day or 2 to spare) it helps me to strictly follow this leave plan. So on that day when I feel like taking a day off randomly, I don’t because I know I will need that day for my trip in October.
You don’t have to take leave before/after public holidays
At the start of every year, travel companies publish the year calendar and mark out the days you should take leave in order to maximize your time off of work. You don’t have to take leave at every opportunity that maximizes overall leave days. I know this sounds contrary to common sense but sometimes you can end up using all your days in a public-holiday-full-month like April even though you have no plans for April. This could ruin your chance to travel more later in the year. Since there are so many public holidays in April, you are probably getting the extra rest you need anyway. The other issue is that local travel is usually more expensive during these periods (check flights to Cape Town).
My point is think carefully before applying for leave adjacent to public holidays. If it does make sense overall to take it, then definitely do it but don’t fall into the temptation of wasting leave unnecessarily.
Use your weekends
You can do a lot in a weekend – especially if you plan properly. On second thought, last minute, spontaneous trips work out too! I lived in Mpumalanga for two years before I finally did a road trip to Graskop and did the Panorama Route in 1 day. I was so surprised at what incredible beauty was just 3 hours away from me. Spend a weekend away in a local destination that you haven’t been to before. A new adventure is closer to you than you think!
Before I realised how much there is to see and do in South Africa, I found myself always going back to the same places. It was either Durban, Cape Town or Sun City. Though I love those places and would still go back to all of them again there is a lot more to South Africa. Every province is unique and that’s what makes local travel so thrilling. Go and see the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga or hike to Hole in the Wall in Eastern Cape or spot wildlife in their natural habitat at Kruger National Park or visit Oudtshoorn to see the largest ostrich population in the world. Local travel counts as travel too! There is so much to see and learn in the country you live in. On my local travel bucket list is Northern Cape – the only province in South Africa I have yet to explore.
Travel with me
I don’t want my blog to be about people watching me travel. I want my blog to be about inspiring others through my travels and sharing useful lessons that enable people to travel more and overcome barriers. I have now expanded and created Gophari Travel which offers group trips to African destinations. I do all the planning and you can just pitch for the adventure. I hope you are as excited about this as I am. This is an opportunity to travel more, meet new people and live our best lives without having to put time into the planning and without having to convince people to go with you.
The first trip went great! Through Gophari Travel, I took 11 women to Mauritius in October 2018. We stayed in luxury beachfront apartments and explored the beautiful island for a week. The 2019 destinations will be announced on @GophariTravel Instagram page before the end of 2018.