How To Travel With A 9 – 5 Job

At one point or another everyone working a regular 9-5 job has definitely had a moment at some point while you’re working, where you’ve considered throwing in the towel, buying a one way ticket and just travelling with no end in sight.

We’ve had this thought so many times. Between June and August during winter in Melbourne, I reckon I have this thought about three times a day.

But something always stops us.

Even though this might be the dream for a lot of people, at this point in our life it’s just not something we can bring ourselves to do for many reasons.

Instead, we like to think that we’ve perfected the art of travelling the world while still maintaining a 9 to 5 day job.

Here are our tips to travelling the world while still maintaining your career.

isla mujeres beach

Work for a company that cares about your wellbeing

This is the biggest point we can make. There are two types of companies out there –

  • Companies that care about the wellbeing of their employees, where you don’t feel guilty for taking annual leave and holidays, where there are no huge black out periods for leave with no reason behind it, that understand the importance of wellbeing and mental health days
  • And then there are companies that only car about making money, the bottom line, the profit margin. These are the companies that would rather have you collapse from exhaustion and deny annual leave requests for absolutely no reason.

Having worked for both types of companies, the difference that working for a company that cares makes is unbelievable. These types of companies obviously want you to do your best work, but they also understand that many of us live to work, have lives outside of the office and that when they have happy employees they also have increased productivity for their business.

We are extremely hard workers, so when we’re at work we’re focused on our jobs. However, this kind of productivity and commitment comes from knowing that we can take leave when we need to and that we have the ability to prioritise our travel. In jobs we’ve had in the past we’ve been prepared to drop everything and walk away when companies haven’t been understanding. We’re not okay with being walked over or made to sacrifice travelling for the sake of a job.

In fact, at one previous job when I was on a 6 month contract I requested one week of annual leave to take a trip to Japan with my Mum and sister. They denied my leave request and said that I would have to just get paid out my accrued annual leave at the end of my contract, I wouldn’t be able to take any leave before it ended. The next week they asked me if I would extend my contract for another 3 months. I promptly handed in my resignation on the spot and let them know that there was no way I was sacrificing a mother daughter trip for only one week for no reason, and not only would I not be extending my contract to help them out, but I would actually be leaving a month earlier due to their refusal of my leave.

It felt pretty good to walk out of that job on my last day there.

These days we’re lucky enough to work for an amazing company, that is understanding and happy for us to take time off when we want to.

Always make sure you have secured a new job before quitting your current one, you don’t want to be irresponsible or unemployed, and quitting without a new opportunity will not help your holiday savings.

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Take advantage of the benefits your job offers you

Some jobs offer you the opportunity to earn more annual leave days, sometimes called days in lieu, by working overtime hours during your normal work week. This can be a great option to quickly build up some extra days to travel.

Why not make the most of your time at home by clocking up some extra hours so you can take more paid days off to holiday?!

It’s all about working smarter and these options can give you the potential to take extra weeks off without guilt.


Book long holidays, but space them out 

While your boss might be supportive of travelling, they of course need to put their business first, so booking back to back month long holidays is most likely not going to be okay. If you’re planning trips that are a bit longer in duration try and space them out, leaving plenty of time in between to show your face at work.

During the periods that we are at work we like to book short domestic getaways or local road trips for long weekends and public holidays so we’re always exploring something new and it doesn’t feel like our next trip is too far away.

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Be upfront in job interviews 

If you’re interviewing for a new job be honest about any upcoming travels you might already have booked.

If you have something already booked in for the future, you definitely don’t want to leave your new employers in the dark and then be surprised when they are less than impressed with your leave request. Tell them about all future plans that you know 100% are going to happen and are non-negotiable for you.

During a job interview I will always let the person interviewing me know about any plans I have booked for after the job would start. Sometimes they might be a year in advance, but I will still let them know so that when I need the time off they have technically already agreed to it by hiring me.

Even though it might seem like it’s extremely far away it’s better to be honest and then you know that if they hire you they are essentially approving that leave for you. All of those details are recorded in an interview, so if there are any problems with it later on your can always refer to your HR department and your interview notes.

cinque terre

Take advantage of any days off you get 

Depending on the industry you work in – long weekends, public holidays, school holidays or Christmas lock downs might be days you’re automatically given off.

Take advantage of all of these times by planning your trips during your designated holiday days. Whether it’s a road trip around your home state, flying to a quick domestic getaway or really getting every minutes worth of your days off and jetting away overseas, there’s no better time to travel than days you don’t have to ask for off.

Sometimes the prices might be a little higher if you’re travelling on long weekends and school holiday periods, but if it’s worth it to you it won’t make a difference! If you’re lucky enough to get those free days off, take advantage of them

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Plan and book in advance

If you know that you’re going to be travelling over high periods such as public holidays or school holidays make sure you book your flights and accommodation well in advance.

The closer you get to these dates the higher the prices will rise, with flights and hotels often being completely booked out during these periods.

You’re much more likely to grab a deal or a cheap price the earlier in advance you book.

bosnia and herzegovina

So that’s how we do it, but we would love to hear your tips as well. Drop us a comment and share your best tips on how you travel the world while building a career or working a 9-5 job.

Are you travelling the world with a regular 9-5? What are your best tips!

Check out more of our travel tips from around the world

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Happy travels,

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Emma is a travel writer, photographer and blogger, chasing the sun around Australia. Travelling in her recently renovated vintage Viscount caravan, along with her husband Thom and daughter Macey, she's sharing the very best experiences from around her beloved sunburnt country.

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We're travelling around Australia, exploring all the best destinations and experiences our beautiful country has to offer. We'd love to have you along for the ride!

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