How I Traveled to 8 Countries in 2017 While Working Full-Time

This seems impossible to some people, but trust me it’s very possible for anyone to achieve this. 2017 started off as my “year of travel”; I booked a last-minute 2-week group tour and jetted off to Thailand.

I had just left my job back in London, and decided to move home (Strasbourg in France) for a bit to be closer to my family. After all, being away for almost 10 years meant that I was in serious need of family time.


Before I started my next full-time job (lucky me, I had signed a contract right before my 2-week holiday), I told myself that now that I lived at home again, now was the time to go and travel. Trips kept popping up throughout the year, and all were planned from 2 weeks to 3 months in advance only. So how did I do it?

I traveled to 8 countries in 2017 while working full-time; is it possible?

YES!

There are many ways of making the most out of your paid vacation time, and your weekends / days off. For example in France, we get 2.08 days of paid vacation per month, adding up to 24.96 days + 11 public holidays.

Extra: if you live in the Alsace/Lorraine region (like me), you get an extra 2 public holidays! Roughly this adds up to 38 paid vacation days. But add in the weekends, which equals 104 days extra to use as mini-holidays or additions to long vacations.

That’s the secret.

Technically you could go on holiday for ⅓ of the year.

Most people don’t realize this because they don’t take into consideration that even short trips count as vacation. One of my trips involved 2 days in Berlin over a weekend; arriving Friday night and leaving Sunday night. Getaways are more available to you than you think!

So with this article, I break down every single month of 2017, which vacation I took, how many days I took off work, and hopefully give you some motivation to do the same!

January – Thailand (2 weeks)

Booked only a month prior as I was jobless, I left for Thailand on a 2-week group tour with Geckos Adventures. I explored Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Doi Mae Salong, and Chiang Rai on my first week.

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Beautiful waters of the Phi Phi islands

The Thai culture and religious monuments made me feel inspired, and going on this trip with only my 40L Women’s Backpack was an eye-opening experience. The second week, our group went on to see Koh Samui, Khao Sok National Park, and Krabi. The Phi Phi islands were breathtaking, and this adventure started my thirst to keep on traveling throughout 2017.

February – Work

Days taken: 0

Days left: 2.08

Starting a new full-time job meant having to wait a bit before taking off for some holidays. After all, you need to learn about a new company, procedures, and earn your time off, right?

March – Berlin, Germany (2 days weekend only)

Days taken: 0

Days left: 4.16

Having met two amazing girls on my Thailand trip, we all met up in Berlin for a weekend getaway. This meant leaving right after work on Friday afternoon, taking a short 1 hour plane to Berlin, and spending 2 days exploring a new city.

I had only visited the Black Forest region of Germany due to the convenience of location. Berlin had so much recent history, it was interesting to learn how close to my generation all of this happened.


April – Work

Days taken: 0

Days left: 6.32

May – Northern Ireland & Dublin (4 days including weekend)

Days taken: 2

Days left: 6.4

When you meet your current boyfriend in Thailand, the next step is visiting him in his hometown of Belfast. I took a Friday morning plane and headed towards Belfast.

We spent a day in Dublin on Saturday, drove down the Antrim Coast on Sunday (beautiful scenery), and left on Monday afternoon. It seems like a rather short trip, but we managed to pack a lot of activities in 4 days.

This goes to show that only taking 2 days off and using your already allocated weekend can be useful for getaways.

June – Athens & Mykonos, Greece (1 week including weekend including 1 public holiday)

Days taken: 4

Days left: 4.48

One of my best friends from the United States and I plan one trip a year for us to meet up. As I went back to Orlando to see her in 2016, we chose Greece as our 2017 meetup.

We spent almost two days in Athens and five days in Mykonos. What we loved most about our trip was the Greek food, which was delicious and not too expensive. I took my plane on a Saturday and came back the following Saturday, leaving an extra day to rest from our trip.

July – Strasbourg, France (4 days including weekend)

Days taken: 2

Days left: 4.56

Who doesn’t like staycations?! As my boyfriend was coming over from Northern Ireland, I took 2 days off work to show him around my city and region.

It’s a great way to also save money as you don’t always have to get a hotel (unless you want to getaway from your home) and you can drive to most places with your own car.

Staycations are also a good way to discover new things about your own town or region that you wouldn’t have known or visited otherwise. Become a local expert like me and visit the the Alsace wine route!

August – Work

Days taken: 0

Days left: 6.64

September – Zurich & Lucerne, Switzerland (4 days including weekend)

Days taken: 2

Days left: 6.72

As my friend (whom I met on my Thailand trip earlier that year) invited me and a few others to her wedding, an impromptu trip to Switzerland was booked. I only took the Thursday and Friday off, and included my weekend to get the most out of Zurich.

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Kapellbrücke in Lucerne

Thanks to her local family, we also got to visit Lucerne, a nearby town which was just beautiful. You can visit both cities in a day technically, so they’re an easy getaway.

October – Rome, Italy (~4 days including weekend) and Belfast, Northern Ireland (5 days including weekend including 1 public holiday)

Days taken: 5

Days left: 3.8

Need a romantic getaway? Rome is your city. We spent two full days exploring the city’s many sites, and eating like mad people. It was the perfect way to end my travel year and how I traveled to 8 countries in 2017 working full-time.

Italy was my 8th country of the year, but that didn’t stop me from going back to Northern Ireland!

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Walking around the Roman Forum

I took 2 days off to go to Belfast to visit my boyfriend, but I used the weekend + a public holiday, the perfect example of how to take a long weekend getaway with the days you have!

November – Belfast, Northern Ireland (6 days including weekend)

Days taken: 4

Days left: 1.88

As I decided to move to Belfast to be with my boyfriend, I took off 4 days (and included a weekend) to bring my belongings to my future home. We also went off to a barn in the countryside, an hour outside of Belfast, to get some fresh air, a perfect getaway.


December – None

As I ended my full-time job in December to prepare my move to Belfast after Christmas, I enjoyed family time.

If I can do it, so can you!

So, how will you prepare your travels for 2018?

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2017-12-20T19:12:45+00:00 December 26th, 2017|Blog, resources, Travel Tips|5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Christine December 28, 2017 at 12:23 am - Reply

    Great post! I would love to move to Europe some day to make the weekend trips easier and be able to go to more places. This is definitely something to aim for!

  2. Shanna December 29, 2017 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Love it! There is so much we can do like this here in the US. We have Canada and Mexico right next door, and then all of central and south America to explore. I’m following in your footsteps my dear. And I can’t wait to hear about your 2018!

  3. Mimi January 2, 2018 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Great way to plan a world adventure. That is the benefit of going footloose – meeting new friends and creating friendly connections!

  4. kiara January 3, 2018 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    It seems like you met some great people on your Thailand trip.
    Loved reading this post, I am in such a trip planning mood now.

  5. johanne January 12, 2018 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    How cool that you met your boyfriend while you were so far away from home. And that you’ve moved in together! I live in Europe too, but my boyfriend and I don’t take all the opportunities we can get. We have been to Spain three times last year though (twice Galicia, once Gran Canaria), so it wasn’t too bad ;-).

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