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How I Make Travel a Priority

February 4, 2019

How I Make Travel a Priority

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

I frequently get asked how I have traveled for so long or how I afford to continue to travel. The other day someone commented that they were going to move their business to a foreign country so that they could travel more. What many people don’t realize is that while I was living in Qatar, I was working full-time and continuing to travel up to three months a year. Since leaving Qatar, I have continued to travel. This is all possible because I make travel a priority.

At this point, many travel bloggers would tell you that they are going to tell you how you can do the same. I am not going to tell you that. Everyone’s situation is different. I am a single woman with no kids, and that inherently makes my life more flexible than others. What I will do is make suggestions on how my strategies can work for you to make travel a priority as well.

I Moved Abroad

How I Make Travel a Priority

Moving aboard was a priority for me for many years before I moved to Qatar. After living in the Turks and Caicos for about three months, I had met a few long term expats. They told stories of places they had lived and trips they had been on. I remember thinking to myself, “I am living my life wrong!” Not long after my return, I started applying for jobs abroad. It took about three years, but I eventually landed the role in Qatar.

This was a massive shift in my travel lifestyle. Not only was I living in a foreign country, but many other countries that I wanted to visit were also a much shorter flight than they had been when I was living in the US. Before I had even moved, I started making plans to travel. I moved to Qatar in August 2013, so I wasn’t planning on coming home for Christmas. I planned to spend Christmas in Rome, which was only a six-hour flight.

Over the four years of living there, the travel trend continued. I went to Greece, France, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and many more. All of these places were closer and easier to get to from Qatar than from the US making it much easier to plan a trip.

While moving abroad may not be an option for us all, you can take trips to countries that are nearer to you. Now that I am back in the US, I am planning on taking trips to Central America. Many of the flights from Dallas to popular cities in Central America are a 3 to 4-hour flight. Meaning, I can take a long weekend trip to Mexico if I want. Sometimes we fail to see the opportunities that are right in front of us or in this case, south of us!

Using My Vacation

How I Make Travel a Priority

I am a huge advocate for using your vacation. Using your vacation makes you more productive at work when you return. Scientists have even figured out how long your vacation should be for optimal relaxation, which is eight days. I was fortunate in my last several jobs as they had ample vacation time. In Qatar, I had 24 vacation days excluding holidays and sick time. If you average that out to 5 days in a week, then I was getting almost five weeks of vacation a year.

How did I use that to my advantage then? Well, the first year of my time in Qatar was not a full year, and I wasn’t about to take off from a job for two weeks that I had just started. However, I was itching to go somewhere almost immediately. Luckily, I was able to take a work trip to Belgium that helped.

The key here was using my vacation days wisely. I only took off one day to go on my trip to Rome and combined it with the days we already have for the semester break. As a result, I carried over five days of vacation over to the next year.

I continued to schedule trips around other scheduled holidays, and since I was usually a short flight away, many of my trips were only five days. However, I was able to see many countries this way and still come home for two weeks at Christmas time every year after 2013.

You can do this too. I know that Americans, on average, only get between 10 and 14 days of vacation a year making this more difficult. Choose vacations that are closer to home. Take vacations around built-in company days off. If you can’t afford to fly somewhere, choose a town nearby and take a staycation. Get away from the stress of work and daily chores and let a hotel pamper you.

Taking a Sabbatical

How I Make Travel a Priority

When I left Qatar, I had planned to travel and not work. There was no set time frame for how long I would travel. I had saved money while working in Qatar for this specific plan. I had no long how long it was going to take me to save enough for me to feel comfortable and when I originally arrived in Qatar, I had planned to stay as long as possible.

Then the travel bug hit! I was no longer satisfied with taking a two week holiday every few months, and the dream of traveling full-time became more urgent for me with each passing month. After doing some math and looking at my bank account, I decided it was time.

I left my job in Qatar at the end of my contract in June 2017. After returning home to bring my limited amount of things back, I flew out on a three-month trip. While I had specific destinations in mind, I knew I needed to be somewhat flexible to make decisions on places I wanted to go. All in all, I went to six countries during that time. Some countries were ones I revisited, and some were completely new.

Now, you may be thinking I can’t just quit my job and travel! I totally get that. Remember, I had no bills and no kids. But you might be able to do this too. Ask your company if you can take a short sabbatical. Even a month is a great start. If approached in the right way, you might be surprised at how many places are willing to let you have unpaid time off. They would much rather you take off for a month or two than have to hire and train a whole new employee, especially if you are a well-liked and reliable employee.

What Now?

As I had not been working since June 2017, I really needed to start working again. However, my focus has changed. I eventually want to be one of those “digital nomads.” However, my idea of nomading is more like move somewhere for a few months and then come home and then go somewhere else. In the meantime, I need to make some money and rebuild my savings.

For now, I am doing many things. I started taking on clients for digital marketing and SEO services in January and began working at Starbucks! Also, I am now working at Medium remotely, which I hope will help in my goals to nomad later. I have no idea how long it is going to take to begin my full-time travel dreams again, but if I can wait three years for an overseas job, then I can wait out this dream as well.

I hope this answer some questions and gives you some ideas. What else would you like to know?

How I Make Travel a Priority

How I Make Travel a Priority

Beach, Greece, Travel

The Best Naxos Beaches

August 27, 2018
Naxos Beaches

Many people say that Naxos has the best beaches in Greece and I would have to agree with them. Not only are the Naxos beaches amazingly beautiful but there are many to choose from. Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades and is accessible by ferry and plane. It is an excellent alternative to the more popular Santorini.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Beaches in Greece can be either organized or unorganized. Organized usually means they are maintained and have umbrellas, chairs, and sometimes restrooms. Most of them have several tavernas or bars serving food and drinks. Unorganized means there are no facilities. Unorganized ones are usually further out of town but are usually less crowded. A few of the unorganized ones will still have a taverna or two but not always.

Agios Georgios

Agios Georgios or Saint George beach is the beach right in the central town. You can walk there from the center in about 15 minutes or stay right next to the beach and walk there in less than 2 minutes. The beach is a good size and has plenty of options for tavernas and bars. The umbrellas and chairs are usually run by one of the restaurants or bars. Prices vary, and some will let you use them for free if you purchase something.

The water is shallow closer to town, and it gets deeper further down the beach. The section that is shallow is shallow for quite a ways out, and you can walk out far before the water gets above your waist. Given that it is so close to town, the beach is more crowded than some others. The sand is also packed down until you get further away from town.

Agios Prokopios

Naxos Beaches

Agios Prokopios beach is the first beach out of town. The water here is stunning. It is the perfect shade of turquoise that reminds me of the Caribbean. The sand is golden and soft although not fine sand. The beach is organized and is long, so there are lots of choices of places to sun yourself all day.

To get to this beach take the bus from Naxos Town. The bus driver will announce the stops. You purchase your tickets from the bus station in Naxos town. You should buy a return ticket as well. If you have rented a car, there is public parking about a 10-minute walk from the beach. The parking is before the beach.

 

Agia Anna

Naxos Beaches

Not far from Agios Prokopios is Agia Anna beach. This beach is small, but the water is shallow making it a great place for kids and snorkeling. The beach is surrounded by cedar trees, so the unorganized part has shade. There is an organized section of the beach as well.

Agia Anna is also reachable by bus from Naxos Town. The public parking for this Naxos beach is near the end of the beach. The entrance is not easy to see due to the trees though.

Plaka

Naxos Beaches

Plaka beach is one of the longest beaches in Naxos. The sand is fine and soft. The water is deeper here and has incredible color. Most of Plaka beach is organized, and you have many options of where to sit. The umbrellas and chairs are usually run by restaurants behind the beach and offer their full menu on the beach. Plaka beach provides excellent views of Paros and the ferries running to and from Naxos.

The bus also runs to Plaka and offers several different stops along the way. If you drive you should know that after Agia Anna the road changes to a sand road. The road is compacted so any car can drive on it. The road gets more narrow here, and you may need to go one at a time through some sections. My advice is to drive slowly. A good place to park is behind Picasso on the Beach restaurant.

Orkos

Naxos Beaches

I hadn’t heard of Orkos beach and only spotted it on my road trip to discover all the Naxos beaches. I noticed it because it was so pretty. The beach is smaller than many of the other beaches, and it is unorganized, but it is worth visiting. Orkos has thick sand so you won’t have fine sand all over you.

There is no bus access to Orkos so you will have to rent a car to get here. You can walk from Plaka if it isn’t too hot.

Mikri Vigla

Mikri Vigla is known for being the spot for kitesurfer and windsurfers in Naxos. Of course, you don’t have to be a kitesurfer or windsurfer to enjoy this beautiful beach. The sand is fine white soft sand. The beach is organized, but the umbrellas and chairs are few, so arrive early if you want one.

The bus does go to Mikri Vigla from Naxos town. It is also accessible by car, and there is parking along the road.

Kastraki

Naxos Beaches

If you seek fewer crowds, then Kastraki beach is the beach for you! Due to its distance from town and the fact that it is a larger beach means there are fewer people and they are spread apart. The beach has beautiful soft white sand. While the beach is organized there are not many umbrellas and chairs. I recommend you bring your own so you can enjoy the quieter parts.

You can drive or take the bus to Kastraki. There is a large parking area that is unpaved right next to the beach. You will have to walk through some small dunes to get to the actual beach so make sure you have shoes on to protect your feet from the hot sand.

Pirgaki

Another beach that is less crowded due to its location is Pirgaki. Pirgaki might Although it isn’t any less beautiful than the other beaches. It can get windy on this beach, but offers great views and is frequented by windsurfers. The beach is organized but with a few umbrellas and chairs. There are a few cafes, but you might want to bring some drinks and snacks of your own just in case.

The bus from Naxos Town goes Pirgaki although not as often as the other buses. You can also reach Pirgaki by car.

Glyfada

This small beach is very pretty and very popular with the windsurfers and kitesurfers. There are few hotels nearby so you might find an umbrella or two to rent but best be prepared to bring your own. The sand is a nice fine white sand.

You will need a car to reach Glyfada beach as there is no bus service. There is a parking lot right by the beach.

Alyko

Alyko is an unorganized beach, but I wouldn’t let that stop you from visiting! It is one of the largest beaches on Naxos and is made up of three beach coves. It is less busy than other beaches and offers great views of the sunset. The rocks and cedar trees help shield this beach from the winds.

You can reach Alyko by bus. It will drop you at the second beach of Alyko, called Hawaii beach. You can also drive and park along the road or between the cedar trees.

Naxos Buses

As I have mentioned, many of the Naxos beaches are accessible by bus. However, the schedule is different for some seasons, and you should check the website for the most up to date timetables. If you are staying near the beaches and not in Naxos town, you can usually purchase your tickets at the mini-markets near the bus stop.

Naxos Hotels

I wish I had booked a week at the beach and then moved to town. Most of the beaches here have hotels or studios to stay in right across from the beach. Click here to check your options and rates.

Have I missed your favorite Naxos beach? Tell me which one in the comments!

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Best Naxos Beaches