How We Traveled to 13 Countries in 2016 with Full-Time Jobs (and how you can do it too)
Looking back at 2016, I can’t believe we went to all the places we did while working full-time jobs in Dubai. Before you assume we’re rich, lucky or insane, you’ve got to realize that Dubai is probably the single best city on Earth to travel from. This makes weekend escapes to the most insane places very easy – which we became obsessed with.
In October 2016, Jeff and I celebrated 2 years together along with our 20th country. From April to December, we’ve traveled to 13 international destinations together, from the USA to Nepal, through Iceland, Tajikistan, India and many more beautiful places we discovered or rediscovered together.
“We also sometimes rent our apartment on Airbnb. Now that it’s legal in Dubai, we have found it to be extremely smart money wise, as it sometimes pays for our entire flight/hotel while our apartment makes someone happy in Dubai!”
As we love to film ourselves being rediculous and document our travels for you guys and for our friends and family, we put together 7 videos guides of these (often too short) trips, and constantly Snapchat our adventures when we’re out there exploring, so you can follow us in real time.
During the last nine months, we were able to visit Tanzania, Lebanon, Iceland, Prague, France, Monaco, Italy, Tajikistan, Nepal, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, India, and Egypt. We also stayed close to Dubai, check out our top weekend road trips from Dubai.
Here’s the thing: Jeff and I both work full time in Dubai, and we don’t have any more days off than anyone else. So, how did we travel to 13 countries in 9 months with full-time jobs?
1 – “But how?! How do you travel so much?”
You might have noticed that most of our travel videos are part of the series “48 hours in…” series. We do these videos because this is usually exactly the time we have to escape, a fully packed weekend away from Dubai.
The thing is, we create these videos for people like us, expats in Dubai or around the world, who work full time and like to make the most out of their weekends. For us, being in Dubai is great as it’s a perfect location to travel around, right in the middle of Europe and Asia. We can be in India one weekend and Egypt the next (which is exactly what we did two weeks ago!)
With so many beautiful and sometimes unknown places less than a 5-hour flight away, why not go explore when we have 2 days off! We’ve done 5 different long weekend trips from Dubai in 2016, all without taking a single day off work. (Think short Eid, long Eid, National Day, Prophets Birthday, etc) – they add up!
Follow all our trips on our TripVerse profile with all the details of all our 48 hour trips!
We’ve had to say no to parties, camping trips and beach days, but in general, we will always remember the memories we make and the excitement we feel when we go explore a new country together. It
If we have a 3 or 4 day weekend, you can be sure that we’ve already booked tickets and are on our way somewhere the second we leave work. Far too many expats know exactly when all the religious holidays are in the UAE, but if you do a little planning you can get insanely cheap flights a few months in advance.
As Dubai weekends are from Thursday evening to Saturday evening, we try our best to leave right after work on Thursday and come back early on Sunday to have a full 48 hours on the ground, even if it means going straight to work with jetlag, no makeup, and terrible hair!
2 – “How do you afford to travel so much?!”
You’d be surprised! We are not rich at all, and again it’s all about making choices. While we take the metro to work instead of a taxi, and we literally never go shopping (or only very rarely!), we’d rather spend some more money on a direct flight somewhere or book a staycation to escape for a weekend.
We try not to splash too much money on brunches and fancy dinners, and instead check FlyDubai or Emirates for any offer or package that might be of interest (read: if we haven’t been already!).
We also sometimes rent our apartment on AirBNB. Now that it’s legal in Dubai, we have found it to be extremely smart money wise, as it sometimes pays for our entire flight/hotel while our apartment makes someone happy in Dubai!
Finally, we tend to pick countries where we don’t need to spend much money to truly appreciate it. Thankfully, Dubai is close to many gorgeous and somewhat underrated places, such as Lebanon, Tajikistan or India, but all we found there are very welcoming people and cheap – and delicious – street food that we can only recommend!
3 – “How Do You Save Money to Travel?”
At the end of the day, it’s all about choosing travel over something else, whether it is buying a car, partying too much (although we do that as well!), or going shopping every week.
We sat down and did the math in March: our entire Tanzania trip cost us about AED 2,000 each including flights, hotel (incredibly cheap, thanks FlyDubai!), tours, food, and drinks.
This is what you spend on 2 brunches + 2 post-brunch drinks, or one Friday in Dubai if things got out of hand – which happens all the time…
Similarly, a shopping trip (est. AED 1000) and 2 brunches a month (2XAED 500) can give you another trip for two to Zanzibar if you save them for a month.
You get my point.
There are a few ways to save money in Dubai, the most obvious being walking/taking the metro to work, cooking instead of eating out and going to your own gym (big deal) instead of buying a membership to a gym you’ll never go to – but we get it, it’s tough to save money in Dubai, it just seems to disappear huh?
Write down your monthly spending and see where you can cut it. As easy as that!
Bottom line is, it’s not that difficult and you don’t need to be a professional full-time travel blogger to enjoy discovering new places throughout the year. What made us take the leap is the fact that we always push each other to do more, save more, be spontaneous and explore new places together.
If we spend our money on plane tickets, we can’t spend it on anything else now can we? Invest in travel!