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Making time to travel and finding the time to get lost

I started this blog in 2010 in response to where I was in life – working long hours in a full time advertising job, where I felt like I was stagnating, was overall unmotivated and wondering the twenty-something year old question: what happens now?

Call it a quarter-life crisis if you will, or more accurately a quarter-life kick in the butt, but somehow I ended up creating something to motivate myself with what I loved most – travel.

This is for the occasional travellers

I’m starting up a section called Travelling Occasionally, something for the other worker bees like myself to sneak in a read during a coffee break at work. Not everyone has the good fortune of full-time travel, being a globetrotting travel writer, or getting sent on media FAM trips to exotic places – I love reading all these travel blogs of avid travellers because it inspires me, but it also makes me a tad envious because they get to live out my passion of travelling everyday.

Travelling Occasionally is for the rest of us, the regular folk, who have to juggle work and school and life and all sorts of other commitments in life. How we can keep our travel mojo going and remain satisfied and fulfilled despite limited time and resources.

Chime in with your thoughts in the comments – I’m mostly sharing my own experiences and I want to hear what everyone else has to say.

So today’s topic:

Finding the time to get lost

A common refrain from the worker bees is that they don’t travel because they can’t find the time to do so. In a full time job, travelling is limited to the amount of leave days you have – for Singaporeans, that typically ranges from 14 – 21 days for most office jobs, along with a handful of public holidays and long weekends.

But how is it that within the same company, among people who have the same amount of leave days, some people always seem to be on some sort of adventure while others perpetually moan about taking that epic trip… some day.

There could be many reasons, but ultimately it boils down simply to priorities – is travelling a priority for you?

Travel is definitely my priority. Perks about being single, not being tied down by responsibilities and having a steady job and no debt mean that I can and I will take off once the opportunity arises. Other than family or work commitments, travel trumps everything else in life for me. I’m lucky to be in my situation, but I have seen others with much less do so much more, so if they can figure it out, why can’t I?

But it isn’t bad if travelling is not your priority – there’s nothing to be embarrassed about if travel ranks low on your list of priorities, that’s just the way life is. But if travel is something you truly value, and something you really want to do and you know you can afford it, then you should spend less time complaining and more time trying to figure out how to make it work.

If travel is what you want to do, make it a priority

And here are some things to help you along reaching your goal:

Plan for travel

You can travel as spontaneously as you want, but with limited time and resources, the best way to manage costs and schedules is to plan your trip in advance. Book your annual leave early, pre-empt colleagues and family about it, check and clear out your schedules way ahead of time, and as the date approaches, fend off anything that stands in your way. Barring any emergencies, there shouldn’t be any reason for you to have to cancel your leave as long as you make plans and stick to them.

If your company or boss doesn’t want to let you take your leave despite your efforts and planning, think about whether this place and its policies are something you can live with in the long run.

Maximise travel time

If you book your leave way in advance, you have plenty of time to do your research and make your plans. Scope out and reserve the best days to help you extend a trip without taking more leave days. Or if you’re travelling for work, use that trip to save you some airfare by extending your trip after your work stuff is done.

Get creative! Consider breaking up your annual leave into several shorter trips, which might be less disruptive to your work schedules overall and help to curb the wanderlusting throughout the year.

Be ready to make some sacrifices

This isn’t always the case, but sometimes you have to give up other opportunities and things to make your travel happen, which is why it is critical to establish how much of a priority travel is for you, because it makes your choices pretty simple when you have that in mind. You might have to miss out on other life activities while you are on a holiday, and planning a trip may be hard work, but I think it’s definitely worth it.

Again, start planning early so you can figure out how to mitigate any sacrifices you have to make.

Is travel a priority for you? How do you find time to travel?


Friday 28th of March 2014

I too am a full time career girl who makes travel a priority. It's good to fit in small trips when you can, they can be just as fun and rewarding as the big ones!

Jaclynn Seah

Friday 28th of March 2014

Hello! yeah many small trips help to sate some wanderlust, but I still love a good longer trip to really let your brain take a proper break :)

But we take what we can! I'd take many small trips over no travelling at all!


Thursday 27th of September 2012

Great post and well-said. I plan my trips over long weekends, so as to maximise the number of days, and minimise the use of annual leave.


Thursday 27th of September 2012

Hi Red, thanks for your comment and that's what i do too! (Next up: deepavali!)

Once the official calendar for the next year comes out, everyone starts scrambling to book the best long weekends early. If there's one thing to be kiasu about, this is it!


Thursday 27th of September 2012

thanks for the wake-up prod!


Thursday 27th of September 2012

Thanks Sharan, and Happy Travels wherever you may go!

Buckle Button Zip

Wednesday 26th of September 2012

So true! We work and have a school schedule to contend with, but outside that, we try to maximize our free time for travel. When we can't go to far-flung places, we wanderlust closer to home. Looking forward to this new feature. x Laura


Wednesday 26th of September 2012

Hi Laura! I agree that sometimes a short trip can be enough to re-energize you... In Singapore we're pretty lucky to have a great airport and location. But sometimes I feel that even though Singapore is so small, I should spend more time just exploring my own country =)

Thanks for dropping by and your support!