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How to plan a year of travel with a full-time job

There are a lot of things to love about starting a new year: longer, brighter days, an excuse to drink champagne, the end of arguing about politics with your family over holiday dinners. But my favorite part of beginning the new year has to be seeing my vacation balance replenished! Then it’s time to get scheming…

Tips for getting the most out of your year of travel

Make a note of all the holidays you have: vacation and holidays. First things first, I open up a Google doc and type out all the months of the year, and insert the public holidays. This year Berlin has 7 week-day holidays which I can use to pad my trips! Combine that with my 27 days of vacation, making 34 weekdays of travel. From that, I could easily make 11 long weekends, or a few longer + shorter trips. There’s really so much potential!

Get a realistic sense of how expensive it is to travel to the places you’ve been dreaming of. That means, checking flights, checking duration of the flight, and checking expenses. As full-time employees, our time is more precious than our money, so finding out how long the trip will take is key to fitting it into the year.

Check the budget airlines for nearby destinations you haven’t ticked off yet. Have I raved enough about how much I love Ryanair's flight map ? It makes weekenders a breeze and keeps things low cost.

Look for close-to-home points of interest that you really should’ve seen by now. These are perfect to visit in between more expensive trips, because you can either do them during the day or spend relatively little on accomodation.

Decide on your 1-2 long trips for the year. Commitment is hard, but with limited days, we can only do so many long flights every year. Last year my long trip was to Japan, which was incredible. This year I’m planning two long trips (see below 😉)

Where I’m going in 2017

I’m starting the year with 27 vacation days. Here’s how I plan to spend them!

♦ ♦ ♦ Long trip | ♦ ♦ Short trip | ♦ Weekender

January

Nowhere! After flying back from the United States in time for New Year’s, I enjoyed the month of January slowly getting back into the groove of work and city life after a week and a half in front of the fireplace.

February

Barcelona ♦ – I’m not sure whether the novelty of budget flights will ever wear off for this girl. I’m returning to Barcelona for an impromptu weekend of fun with some friends from University. Oh my tapas, it’s been too long!
2.5 days traveling, -12 vacation day

Iceland ♦ ♦ ♦ – For Gernot’s 30th birthday, I bought him a 10-day road trip around Iceland’s ring road. We’ve got a detailed itinerary planned and I can’t wait to take 10,000 pictures of this beautiful country!
10 days traveling, -7 vacation days

March

My only plans for March are to recover emotionally from the cost of visiting Iceland! I’m sure I’ll also have tons of material to write after both trips, so expect to see new posts galore this month!

April

Austria ♦ ♦ – My now-annual pilgrimage to Graz for Easter will be extended this year with a side quest to either Hallstatt or Salzburg. Visiting Austria at this time of year is wonderful because they’re further along with Spring ^__^
4 days traveling, -1 vacation day

Iceland travel guide

May

Venice ♦ – Berlin’s connected to Venice by a cheap Ryanair flight. Combine that with a public holiday, and I’ll have three days in Venice for the cost of zero vacation days! I’ve never been to Venice, so I’m hoping to see what all the hype is about 😉
3 days traveling, -0 vacation day

Greece ♦ ♦ – There’s a holiday on a Thursday at the end of May, which would give me the perfect opportunity to make a quick jaunt to Greece.
4 days traveling, -1 vacation day

June

Stockholm ♦ – This is one of those places I pledged to visit last year, but it ended up slipping through my fingers. June seems like the perfect tip to take a trip to Stockholm, as it’s before all the shops shutter in July but still warm enough to experience those long Scandinavian summer nights!
3 days traveling, -0 vacation days

Lake Como ♦ ♦ – Every year I try to go somewhere for my birthday (let’s be honest, it’s an excuse just like any other holiday!). Last year it was Croatia. This year I’m thinking about Lake Como & Milan. Again, you can reach Milan from Berlin by Ryanair and then rent a car to explore the lake.
4 days traveling, -2 vacation day

July

Rhine River trip ♦ ♦ – One of my travel goals for 2017 is to see more of Germany. Oddly enough, I think I’ve been to more distinct cities in Italy or France than Germany. This year, that changes!
5 days traveling, -3 vacation days

August

Taking a siesta! August is one of the hotest months of year in Berlin, so most likely I’ll be melting on my couch or taking a dip in one of the neighboring lakes. All in preparation for…

September

Bali ♦ ♦ ♦ – Getting to Bali from Europe is surprisingly managable. The travel time itself is extremely long (24 hours), but that’s also about how long it takes to get to the west coast of the US so I’m not totally unaccustomed to it. BUT the flight costs can get as low as 600 EUR per person. Let’s see if we can make this happen!
11 days traveling, -7 vacation days

Iceland travel guide

October

Morocco ♦ ♦ – This place is probably the one that’s most up in the air, along with any short weekenders (which could be replaced with different destinations depending on the mood). Morocco is somewhere that seems very interesting, but on the other hand, all the stories I hear about the harassment make me second-guess it. Let’s see where the cards fall as to whether Morocco makes it, or gets replaced with another southerly Autumn jaunt.
5 days traveling, -3 vacation days

November

By November, I’ve normally shut off for the year. It’s getting colder, and all I’m looking forward to is mulled wine and Christmas markets in Germany. Besides, it’s time to start planning 2018 at this point 😉

December

Normally I would travel home for Christmas, but this year my parents are supposed to come to Berlin so I can host them for the holidays! It will be fun and funny to see my parents in snow and feel them Christmas market food.

What are your 2017 travel plans?

I would love to hear if you have any recommendations for my year of travel! Please share your own travel plans in the comments, I’d love to be inspired ❤️

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About the author

Hi there! I'm Monica, an American expat living in Germany for nearly four years and using every opportunity to explore the world from my homebase in Berlin. My goal is to capture my memories in photos and posts that show how easy it is to start from scratch and travel the world by working abroad.

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