So you’ve moved abroad and you’re loving your new job in a foreign country. But how do you balance work and travel?
Whether you’re doing some kind of cultural exchange program, working a seasonal job in a new country or joined a work-travel program, it can be tough to know how to balance your new life. Of course you need to work, but how can you get the most from travelling as well?
Here are my top tips for balancing work and travel.
Budgeting is your new friend
Yes, it sounds boring. And to be honest, it is boring. But budgeting is hugely important if you want to travel as much as possible. You can’t properly plan travel or vacations if you don’t fully understand what money you have to work with, or how much you need to save. This is where budgeting comes into play.
I’ve budgeted on my own with a simple Excel spreadsheet before, but I never really kept up with it. If you’re disciplined enough, a basic Excel spreadsheet might be enough for you, but it wasn’t for me.
Instead, I decided to pay for budgeting software and I haven’t looked back. There are tons of programs online to choose from that can really help keep track of your money. Most programs also provide money goals, which are super helpful. Say you want to go on vacation in September and you’ll need around $800 to do so. You can program this into your budgeting software and it’ll tell you how much you’ll need to put away each money to reach your goal.
Some of the best programs include:
Mint: You can sign up for free
Quicken: A starter account is $35 a year
You Need a Budget: All accounts are $84 a year but you can try it for free for 34 days.
Don’t underestimate day trips
If you’ve moved abroad and are working, it can be hard to take time off work for vacations. However, don’t underestimate the power (and fun) of simple day trips. If you’ve moved country, state, or even just to a new city, there’s bound to be lots of new experiences right on your doorstep.
Research things to do in your local area, or nearby within a short car ride. You won’t need to take time off for these trips as they can easily fit into your weekends. Plus if it’s just for the day, you won’t need to spend money on accommodations, either.
For example, if this is the first time you’ve been living and working in the United States, there are so many sites and attractions to see nearby. Explore your new home!
If you’re part of a exchange program, there might also be travel opportunities available to you as well. Typically, program participants get together for certain trips and vacations so you can see your new home together. Or if you’re studying abroad, you can travel with your peers.
Some people think that moving abroad to work will be one giant vacation, when actually it’s not at all. You’ll probably be working full-time, paying bills and expenses, so you won’t be able to get up and travel whenever you want.
A really effective place to start is to create priorities. If travelling is really important to you, then make it a priority. You’ll need to sacrifice elsewhere, but at least you know what’s important to you. THis means you might need to cut down on buying new clothes, going to the club every weekend or other unnecessary expenses. It’s not always fun, but it means you’ll get to travel far more.
If you’re a foreign student trying to also travel while study, this will mean cutting down on other expenses. You may also need to stay ahead of your school responsibilities in order to travel in between semesters or during holidays. You don’t want to get behind!
Find jobs that are flexible
If you can, finding a job that is flexible can help you balance work and travel. Most places would require a typical 9-5pm workday, but if you’re able to get a position that is flexible, you may be able to change this. In addition, finding a job that can be done remotely (solely online) or partially remotely, means that you can travel even more.
As you can imagine, this arrangement is only suitable for certain types of jobs and may be hard to find.
Of course, you’ll need to check what types of jobs you’re allowed to work if you’re on a certain type of working visa. For instance, you can’t work certain jobs on the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa for the UK.
Get creative with your time and money
Say you want to visit home and see your family, but you also want to go on vacation someplace new. However, you only have money for one trip. What do you do?
You’ll need to get creative with your time and money!
See if you can organize a family vacation somewhere. That way you can spend time with your family, but also get a vacation to a new place as well. Creative decisions like that can really help you get the both of best worlds – family and travel.
How to Balance Work and Travel
At the end of the day, balancing work and travel isn’t easy, but it’s certainly possible. It’s not always a glamorous choice, but a necessary one. By making a few deliberate and sensible choices, you can both work and travel, no matter where in the world you are.