A woman who passed up a gap year to work full-time shares her best tips to travel more
When Greta Omoboni graduated from University College London in June 2015, she had a job lined up..
"A lot of my friends were taking gap years to go travelling and I was so jealous," she said. "When you start working, you feel like 'Oh my god, I'll never be able to do that again — backpack around Southeast Asia for three months."
She's found this way of thinking isn't exactly right. "You might not be able to do that," she said. "But there's so much more you can do."
Since she started her job as a management consultant at EY in London, Omoboni has taken seven long-haul international trips — to destinations including Thailand, Mexico, Dubai, and the Caribbean — plus countless weekends away.
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Omoboni gets 25 days of holiday per year, plus national holidays, and was given the option to "purchase" a maximum of six more from her employer, which she decided to do.
"They take it out per month, spread out across the year," she said. "I get paid a little less every month but I get six days. In my opinion, it's worth it. There's no amount of money that's worth me going travelling."
She says her travel schedule isn't just thanks to a relatively generous amount of annual leave. To travel frequently while holding a full-time job, she said, "you have to try to save either time or money." Here are her best tips for each:
TO SAVE TIME:
Combine annual leave with holidays. "The way I see it, it's not so much about how many holidays you have, but about what you do to make the most of them," Omoboni said. She rarely takes days off that aren't adjacent to public holidays, and she chooses to travel with friends or family over longer breaks instead of heading home to her parents in Italy.
"Over Christmas I was gone for 10 days, but only took about four days off work just because of the holidays."
Leave for a weekend at a time. "At university I never really travelled in the UK," said Omoboni. "But after I started working and focusing on travelling as much as possible, I started going for a weekend in Bath, or in Edinburgh, trying to see more and travel more without taking too much time off work."
Being a two-hour flight from most major cities in Europe, she knows, is a privilege. "I'll be at work on Friday until 5pm and have a flight at 9pm, then I'll have two days in another city and not take time off work."
TO SAVE MONEY:
Decide what you care about — and what you don't. "The way I see it, travelling is the only thing I save for and spend money on, beside food and rent." Omoboni said. Although she lives in an expensive city, she shares a flat with two university friends about half an hour from her office, and brings a packed lunch to work every day. "I don't have money for a car or fancy clothes because that's not my priority."
Travel in the off-season. "If I'm trying to save money I'll go at a random time of the year," she said. "Kenya was in middle of January, which is a random time so it was cheap. It's similar with Bali, where I'm going next week — it's the rainy season, so accommodation isn't expensive."