How To Travel On An Entry Level Salary With Limited Vacation Time

entry level vacation time

Unsplash/Danka Peter

So no one told you life was gonna be this way. Your vacation time’s a joke and your salary… well, let’s not even focus on the percentage of your salary that goes toward rent. While it’s not easy (nothing in the harsh reality of post-internship existence is), you can still absolutely travel on an entry-level salary with limited vacation time. Here’s how to do it.

When you don’t have any money to spare…

entry level vacation time

Unsplash/Alex Plesovskich

Yes, you could convert your latte budget into a travel fund. But let’s say you aren’t even allowing yourself to buy a splurge coffee every so often. How do you scrounge up enough money to take a trip when you’re living paycheck to paycheck?

The bad news is that there’s no way to make your paycheck magically multiply. But the good news is that there’s usually something that you can sacrifice in order to prioritize travel. Maybe you delete the Seamless app from your phone. Maybe you wear last year’s shoes for another season. Maybe you choose to run outside instead of on the treadmill, get yourself on a great living room workout routine and ditch the gym membership. Whether that creates a surplus of $100 or $1,000, there’s a trip budget in there.

For $100, you can get a cabin Airbnb or go camping in a national park, plus pay for road trip gas or a train ticket. For $1,000, you can fly to Europe or the Caribbean and stay for a couple of days in a hostel or Airbnb. If your Seamless habit is really bad, you could maybe even nab a cheap flight to Thailand and stay on the cheap in the tropics eating pad thai.

There are a few ways to make your money stretch even further:

  • Don’t sleep alone. No, we don’t mean go hookup crazy while traveling. We mean don’t rent an entire bedroom or Airbnb for your solo self. Travel with your partner, bestie or a group to keep lodging costs as low as possible. Bonus points if you can share a bed, romantically or sleepover-style.
  • Make cooking part of the plan. Vacation doesn’t have to mean constantly dining out. You can eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch if you have to and shop at farmers markets and street food stalls in order to sample local cuisines.

When you get 10 to 15 days off a year…

entry level vacation time

Unsplash/Matt Zhou

There’s never enough vacation time. No matter how much you have, you’ll always crave more. We get it, we’re with you. But if you’re stuck with just two weeks of paid time off, you still have options.

If you give yourself a couple of days around your favorite holiday to visit family or friends, that leaves you with seven days off to use as you please. We’d recommend saving one for a long weekend some other time when you’re worn out, so that leaves six days for one long trip. Although it might seem smart to take several smaller trips to space out costs, be aware of flights. It’ll add up quickly to fly across the country several times even if you’re not going to expensive destinations. It might make sense to take one singular trip with a slightly more expensive flight.

There are a few ways to make your days off stretch even further:

  • Use the weekends. You can maximize your time by incorporating all the weekend days into your vacation. Ten days of vacation time can become 16 if you use your weekends right.
  • Ask about remote work. If you can work remotely around the holidays, that’ll save you more time to use for actual adventures.


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