How to travel more while working a full-time job or studying
Work hard, travel harder. What they do not tell you is that you will probably end up working hard and harder. Travelling is important for most of us and I know firsthand how difficult it is balancing work or school with travel and maintaining a social life.
It is possible to do all with proper planning and strategy. Below are some tips that helped me travel more while in school and now that I am working. I hope that they help you maximise travel opportunities without feeling the need to quit your job or fall back on your studies.
How to Travel More
- Utilize weekends.
Thank God for the weekend! We all look forward to the weekends because it’s the chance to sleep in, laze, and enjoy quality time with loved ones. You do not have to travel abroad or across the country. There are a lot of fun things you can do around you. Book a staycation in the city, day trips to nearby places, or go on weekend getaways to a neighbouring town. If you’re looking to travel outside the city, leave on Friday evening and travel back on Sunday.
Adventure: Go on a day hike in the outskirts of the city e.g Tigoni and Ngong Hills, or venture outside the city to popular trails such as Mt.Longonot, Elephant Hill, or Lake Ellis Mt.Kenya,
Touristy: Go on a game drive, visit an animal orphanage/zoo, visit a museum, go sightseeing. Kenyan recommendations: Giraffe Centre, Nairobi Safari Walk, Nairobi National Museum, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, KICC, Haller Park Mombasa, Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, Oljogi Wildlife Rescue Centre, etc.
Weekend Getaway: Head to one of these places.
Chill: Staycation at an Airbnb (here are some of my top picks for a staycation in Nairobi), Go Wine Tasting at Leleshwa in November-December, treat yourself to a Spa day, go for a sunset drive, pack a picnic, and brunch.
Tip: Avoid travelling long distances(unless you are flying) so that you do not end up exhausted and drained on Monday.
- Public Holidays are your best friends!
Seriously! I love them and I make it a point to know when they fall, my family clowns me about this all the time. They offer the perfect break from work/school. It’s best to travel within the city for these or to the outskirts. For longer holidays, aka those that fall on Friday or Sunday, head out of the city. List all the public holidays for the year and this can serve as a guide to planning when and where you should travel to.
Recommended Activities: Go ziplining, Go-Karting, Paintballing, Indoor Rock climbing, Quad Biking, and Bowling.
Head to Coast (Mombasa/Diani/Malindi/Watamu/Lamu) for some sun and sand, explore vast Northern Kenya (Chalbi Desert, Loiyangalani, Turkana), view game in Maasai Mara, and summit Mt.Kenya.
- Visit places during the off-peak season, usually between May to July.
How to Travel More With a Full-Time Job:
If you are tied to an onsite job and are looking to travel more you have to be creative and plan strategically.
- Take shorter trips more often and as often as possible, travel without taking leave days
- Maximize leave days.
Rather than taking your leave all at once, you can ask to scatter your leave days e.g taking only 1-2 vacation days at a time (Thursday, Friday, Monday, or Tuesday) and link them to the weekend. This allows you more adventures for double the time. However, if you’re looking to go on a big trip, you can accrue the leave days and go the conventional way.
- Work from home/remotely.
Thanks to the pandemic, a lot more companies are open to the idea of working at home. Ask to work from home if your workplace is flexible. If your workplace has a WFH culture, you can be able to travel anywhere, as long as you have your laptop and a stable internet connection. You can travel through the Kenyan Coast starting from Voi to South Coast all the way up to Kilifi or Lamu.
- If you’re already traveling for work, plan some fun activities during your trip and if you can, extend the trip to get a feel of the destination or just to relax because business trips can be hectic.
Do as much work as you can before you go on leave or take some time off and make sure you give your employer adequate notice (at least 1 month) so that you actually enjoy your time away without stressing about work.
How to Travel More As a Student:
One of the best things about being a student is that you have the time to travel (by this I mean the holidays and semester breaks) and you have people to travel with (assuming your friends like to travel as well and assuming you like people lol). I find that both are helpful, especially if you are looking to travel on a budget.
- Money is the biggest constraint at this point in time and I recommend travelling to places near you.
Start with places closest to you. Go on day hikes, be a tourist in your own city. If you like hiking, a good idea would be to pay for a monthly subscription with Let’s Drift for Kshs.1,000 and you can go on all the hikes for that month(Fridays and weekends). If you’re travelling across counties/countries, travel by road rather than flying for example take the SGR/Bus to Coast, take the bus to TZ/UG/Rwanda rather than flying unless it’s necessary for example travelling to Lamu.
- Travel with a group
This is cheaper because you cost-share. Plan a trip (be it a road trip, day trip, or group trip) with your friends and go someplace new. If your friends are not too keen on travelling, you can join group trips online (just make sure you use a reputable company or go with someone you know). I joined a group trip to Ngare Ndare and had a ball. Don’t let anyone stop you from living your best life. If you’re not about that life, you can travel solo.
There are many volunteer organisations but I would recommend that you join AIESEC. AIESEC is a Non-Governmental Organisation run by students that helps young people develop their leadership potential through student exchange opportunities. With AIESEC you get opportunities to volunteer or work abroad. Most universities have an AIESEC chapter/club. Their website has a variety of projects to choose from and plenty of countries to choose from. Join the AIESEC chapter at your university to get more information. I volunteered in Uganda for 6 weeks back in 2015 and it was an incredible experience. Note that as a volunteer you foot all your expenses.
- School trips
If your school organises trips and you are able to finance them, take the opportunity. I got to go on a trip to some European countries(Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland) in 2017 through my uni. School trips are a great way to travel with friends for cheaper.
- Save, save, save.
If travelling is a priority for you, trim away unnecessary expenses to save for travel. Do you really need to party or eat out every weekend? I am not here to dictate how you should spend your money, but find a balance. Do what you need to do and cut off the rest.
I used to skip lunch in uni and eat at home to save up for my trips. You can split costs with friends for monthly subscriptions for Netflix and Music, carry packed lunches, walk or take a matatu. A little goes a long way. If you commit to saving Kshs.100 per week for three months you’ll have saved roughly Kshs.12,000 which is enough to afford a 3-day budget vacation to Diani as we did back in October 2015. Save an amount of money that you feel comfortable with, for a certain period of time depending on your goal/budget and you will enjoy the results.
- Save on one thing and splurge on another. For instance, if you are travelling to Mombasa you can save on transport by taking the SGR rather than flying, save on food by preparing your own or eating street food, save on accommodation by staying at a hostel or cheap Airbnb and splurge on activities like water sports.
Say you are travelling to Naivasha, you can save on transport by taking a matatu or split fuel costs if travelling with your squad, save on food by preparing your own meals, save on accommodation by camping. It really depends on your preferences. If accommodation is important to you, you can splurge on that and find areas to save on. Be flexible and do what you like. If you want to splurge or save on everything that is fine too.
- Go camping or stay at a hostel/backpackers or Airbnb rather than a hotel.
Camping is the cheapest form of accommodation especially if you own the gear. All you need to do is find a good place to pitch your tent and you are good to go. Some of the best places to go camping in Kenya are Naivasha, Lake Ellis Mt. Kenya and Eliye Springs in Turkana.
Hostels are the best budget option. You can either sleep in a dorm room or book a private room and some have camping grounds which is even cheaper. Hostels are generally booked on a self-catering basis but most have a restaurant and bar onsite. Hostels are great for solo travellers as you get to meet people from all over the world. Find a hostel near you here. I stayed at Diani back in 2015 and I loved it.
If you prefer a quieter stay or are travelling with a group I would highly suggest booking an Airbnb. Get $40 off your first booking when you sign up here.
**Please take care of yourself. Safety first. Take care of your belongings and your friends. The last thing you want is to be mugged in a foreign place. Please DON’T drink and drive**
Lastly, be realistic. you can’t go everywhere, you can not see everything. I am one of those people who try to squeeze everything in. I always want to see everything but it’s impossible to do so and not burn out, and that is not the goal. Decide on things you must do and do those. Prioritise places and activities that you really want to visit.
I hope these tips have given you ideas on how to maximise travel oppotunities while working an 8-5 job or studying.
Let me know in the comments down below which tip you will be trying.
Share this post with a fellow traveller 🙂
Stay safe and Until next time, Bye!
alasafiri8 October 2020 at 11:56 am
Ivy Miricho12 October 2020 at 11:30 am
Thank you, I hope the tips were helpful
Phenny Discovers11 October 2020 at 7:16 pm
This is really amazing, one thing I have learned is to maximize on my leave days, I do plan them way ahead.
Ivy Miricho12 October 2020 at 11:33 am
Thanks Phenny :). Thanks for sharing, I think this is the best bet for people who are working and are looking to travel more.