How to travel with a full time job while paying off your Home Loan?
Updated: Jul 13
Back in 2017, when we started travelling more often in the year (four times to be precise), there were many who were curious to know how were we managing such trips with merely 20 annual leaves, Indian drawn salaries, a hefty home loan installment and the ever demanding IT job.
So the very thought of taking travel seriously before everything else came into my mind after seeing my mother undergo an unforeseen spine surgery which left her with limited scope to travel especially in the hilly terrain and rough routes. She was only 50, just out of her responsibilities as a single parent and someone whom I have known as a travel enthusiast.
The other trigger was an lost on job travel opportunity even after working really hard for three long years. So unlike my peers I did not want to wait for grabbing that onsite travel assignment only to lose my younger age to a corporate desk job.
Need more reasons to travel? Also Read: Why should you travel young?
This is when I developed a special bonding with the 'PRESENT' and it was only now that I understand that the primary resources of health, wealth and time will never be available at the same time.
Even though our primary aim is to accumulate the health, wealth and time for a better tomorrow but it is much more important to live our present life fully to even envision that better tomorrow.
It's not always necessary to quit a full-time job to fulfill our passion because let's just understand the fact that everybody needs money to survive, to finance your travel and pay your bills.
Here's how we are managing our travel aspirations along with our day job....
Setting the intention to Explore -
Its easier to be settled and comfortable in a routine in your city apartment, rather than willingly disturbing that routine for a passion. No one is as comfortable on the road as in the comfort of your home and family. So it needs a really strong intention to include travel into our routine. The one thing I still struggle with is the packing and unpacking business. I often find myself packing till the last minute.
So once the intention is set, we are mentally getting prepared to hit the road, chase that train or bus or reaching the airport on time while ensuring everything is checked and the home is locked.
If we keep postponing our travel goals, it may take a backseat and no let us move out of our comfort zone.
Managing the Annual leaves -
In a corporate job, saving and planning your precious leaves is very crucial.
We sometimes accept those weekend working opportunities which helps us accumulate Comp-Offs to be utilized later. Our annual earned leaves account to only 20 days in a year (including the sick leaves). So we eagerly wait for the yearly holiday calendar.
We try and find opportunities to club public holidays with a weekend/leave which accounts to atleast two opportunities to visit a nearby location. Yes there is lots to explore in you backyard and never underestimate a nearby destination.
We try to take the longer vacations when most of the team members may not plan a vacation. I mean we work extra hours on some festivals when everyone else is on leave and in-turn plan a trip during the off-seasons when others are available to handle work in our absence.
None of our leaves are more that 5-7 working days at a stretch. If you add up the weekends it is around 9 days in total.
In this way we do not even exhaust our leaves completely. Its crucial to save some leaves for the grey days when one might fall sick or our parents might need our support.
Managing our finances -
I agree that we can finance our travels because we both are actively contributors to our household. We both have a day job. But our biggest hiccup is our Home Loan EMI which accounts about 50% of our total monthly income.
I remember we could not even imagine booking those tickets when we first bought an apartment in an Indian metro city. But here were a few conscious efforts to cut down some of the expenses to accommodate our love for travel.
We do not aim to upgrade our electronics, furniture or interiors unless of course it really needs a replacement or fix. Lets just consider them as our expenses. These substances cannot be our assets and the earlier we know the better.
We consciously do not own a car yet. It would mean additional EMIs and maintenance. I mention this because a home and a car has become a status symbol even if not used regularly. As of now our office transport and cab services are pretty helpful. For the weekly shopping spree, our moped does a pretty good job.
Being in a city also means easier access to numerous hotels, restaurants or even easy home deliveries. Just setting a goal for travel made us conscious of the unnecessary expenses incurred by frequent outdoor meals. We try to avoid the outdoor indulgence of food and shopping.
Weekend movie nights were a ritual once, more because we did not have better things to do over the weekend. We have reduced that completely. Unless its a really good movie we may plan to watch it at home itself. Also there are many other inexpensive hobbies one can take up to substitute the movie nights.
Travel research and planning -
As we are traveling from the last couple of years, today the definition of travel has changed a lot for us. Today we are in the look out for more offbeat experiences, local connections instead of following a specific touristy itinerary. So the earlier we start planning, the lower we may spend on the overall cost.
As many people reiterate, book your flight tickets and hotels as soon as you have decided on the location and dates. The earlier the booking, the more you save on these expenses.
Research options for self planned travel and travel packages as well. At times when we are short of time, packages can be helpful. But if we want to go the offbeat routes and the place is well connected, its reasonable to plan your own route.
Plan how many Domestic or International destinations can you afford in a year, special if your source of income is in Indian currency which makes it difficult to choose more international destinations. We still have lots to explore in India, so International is not that desirable for us.
After a few journeys we were sure what were our personal priorities on a travel. The husband is on the lookout for a little luxury while I look for opportunities to explore more. We try to balance both. A mid-range accommodation with a good view and easier planned commutes are our priority. Places where public transport is better and cheap we opt for the same. Like it was fun exploring Bangkok by the sky trains while opting a lazy evening in the beautiful Krabi on that trip to Thailand.
We need to be careful not to over exhaust ourselves on that trip. The day job demands focus once the vacation is over. So its important to have balance. Its good to opt for leisure days in our itinerary. Else its just another leave we may end up taking to recover from the travel.
Hope reading this must have convinced you that if you are passionate about something, its not impossible. It only needs setting up an intention and planning a little. So what are you waiting for? Start now!
Prioritize! Plan! Pack! and GO!