How To Juggle Work And Travel

Juggling work and travel isn’t as difficult as you may think!

Facebook Tracy Cheng Photography pacific coast highway
Photo: Facebook/Tracy Cheng Photography

“I don’t have enough money to travel.”

“Traveling is only for the rich.”

“You’re so lucky you get to travel.”

“Don’t you have a job? How can you travel so much?”

Too often, I get comments from people how they wished that they had more time and money to travel, and how they could not leave their current home/situation because of various reasons. While I respect each person’s individual situations, I am a firm believer that everyone should travel extensively to broaden their world and frame of mind, and travel is not an exclusive “rich members only” or “no jobs only” club.

I, myself, work a 9-5 day job (and for many years, I had a 9-9 day job!) but still managed to work and live in 4 different countries, and travel to numerous countries in between working my day job. I am not rich, not special in any way, but I just made travel a priority for many years in my life. This is how I did it:

Dual Citizenship

For anyone who’s fortunate to have dual citizenship either by birth or family, definitely explore the option of working in the different countries to get your feet wet. As my parents were born in Hong Kong, even though I never lived there, I was able to gain permanent residency from them prior to the British handover in 1997 and started my first job in Hong Kong upon graduation without any work visa issues. This allowed me to explore the rest of Asia freely on my own time during public holidays, vacation days, in between jobs, etc.

Tracy Cheng Photography hong kong
Photo: Facebook/Tracy Cheng Photography

Working Holiday Visas

I discovered the gem of working holiday visas upon leaving Hong Kong. There are many countries in Europe, North America, and Australia in particular that offer working holiday visas to many different nationalities for individuals under 30-35 years of age. I cannot recommend this enough to anyone who’s interested in going abroad but worried about money. For those trying to build a career, one of the main worries I had while going on a working holiday to London for two years was that my career would be stagnant during the time I was away. But it wasn’t. I managed to find a job that was in direct correlation to my career path, and that job in particular opened up many doors for me in other countries around the world. At the same time, I managed to travel almost every other weekend for long-weekend getaways and traveled all around Europe and even to the Middle East during my two years there. Of course, there is the option of an actual working holiday where you only work half the time and travel the rest of the time, which is something I have personally never experienced but it will definitely help fund travels!

Work Visas

As mentioned above, my working holiday experience in London opened many doors for me in other countries around the world. After, I chose to settle in sunny Los Angeles, with a work visa sponsored by my employer. This is the most traditional route in moving to countries with your job, and while there is a lot of bureaucracy involved, it is also a route that is well worth exploring.

Tracy Cheng Photography Los Angeles
Photo: Facebook/Tracy Cheng Photography

Between Jobs

Many times during the course of my career, I changed jobs. Between each of these jobs, if I had another employer lined up, I would always try to negotiate a later start date (especially if I was changing countries). This means that I had a job lined up, didn’t have to worry about an ever-dwindling bank account, and was free to jet off for an extended period of time.

Vacation Days/Sabbaticals/Unpaid Leave

People often cringe at the thought of “unpaid leave”, but once the other options are used up, it does allow for the freedom of still traveling and having a job to go back to after your travels. Sabbaticals from work are also becoming more common these days, where employees can take off several months at a time after a certain length of time of service.

Working Remotely

While it is still something I would like to do, this is an option I have not yet been able to explore. These days, however, many jobs are performed remotely. As such, more and more work-remotely-abroad offices are popping up in many different countries where they charge a day fee and you can work in their office with access to internet and/or phone line.

Traveling doesn’t have to be limited by your career, time and/or money. As long as you make travel a priority, there are many options these days to juggle work and travel!

Tracy Cheng

Contributor, JST SHOP Vendor

Tracy loves photography and documenting her travels. She has lived in Hong Kong, London, Toronto and Los Angeles, and has a piece of her heart in each city.

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