Author Topic: Travelling Abroad--How do you Canadians (or anyone) make such a long go of it?  (Read 1427 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 33
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Buffalo, NY
I've been looking to book a European trip for one to two weeks. I feel that's not long enough, but unfortunately two weeks is all the vacation time the significant other gets off from work.  I see Canadians are mandated two weeks (there's no minimum in the US [perhaps particular states have a minimum.])

Is there a trick Canadians use to make a true trip out of it?  I'm right across the border from Ontario, and encounter many Canadians, and it seems like they travel abroad much more than Americans.  I actually know very few people that have traveled to Europe.

Most of the Canadians I've spoken with reference month, or even months abroad backpacking/travelling and generally immersing themselves in great experiences the world has to offer.

I've never been brash enough to ask how they do it, and I'm certain other American's do it as well.

Are folks quitting their jobs?  Taking a sabbatical?  Do their employers allow them extended leave to travel?

I'd gladly take additional leave unpaid with the SO, but unfortunately that would be a non-starter for our employers.


  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 286
Some folks on here take mini-serial retirements where they stash enough money to quit a job they don't like and then take a few months off in between. Can be risky but also work very well if you have in demand skills.

I do it the more traditional way by having an employer that provides a lot of vacation and flexible work arrangements. Some employers also offer paid or unpaid sabbaticals for 3-6 months after several years of service.

If long trips are important to you, finding an employer with a good vacation policy is the not so secret, secret.

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  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 488
  • Location: Australia
An Australian here.

My husband is entitled to 4 weeks of paid holidays a year at full pay plus a 17% holiday leave loading. At certain points in his career he has had the option to either be paid public holiday rates (2x usual rate) for working a public holiday (do they have those in America? Do full time employees get a paid day off, say, for Christmas? Or 4th of July?), or he could receive something like regular pay for the day a  bonus day of paid leave instead. He is also able to accrue time in lieu instead of over time. This has to be carefully documented and approved, but it does add up.

Another perk here is that for every 10 years of continuous employment he receives Long Service Leave. I think it is around 6 weeks leave per 10 years of employment.

When we did 5 weeks through Europe/UK/Middle East two years ago he used holiday leave. I think he hadn't taken the full 4 weeks in previous years, because even after 5 weeks off he still had a number of weeks owing. Last year he had a hellish job with long hours, but it meant he had accrued enough time in lieu that he was able to take 4 weeks off over Christmas and not touch any of his holiday leave for last year. Therefore, his holiday leave is adding up.

I think he currently has about 8 weeks of holiday leave, plus around 10 weeks of Long Service Leave owing. We are thinking of taking a one week break in October, but have no other plans for a holiday. Perhaps we will do something next year. But the leave will continue to accrue in the meantime.


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 110
I did a ton of that when I was younger. I would work a job for a few months or so, then go travel for a few months. It was so much better than spending money on university.  Now I'm self-employed so I have the flexibility to travel when I want. I also run an online business, so I let my employees travel as much as they like - as long as the work gets done, I could care less if they are working from Thailand or Australia for 5 months. I imagine it would be more difficult with a 'traditional' job. That being said, I think in Canada we have a great culture of traveling abroad so it's not uncommon to ask an employer for extra time off (though it might not be paid time) to travel. Pretty much everyone I know has travelled abroad extensively.


  • Pencil Stache
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  • Posts: 986
My husband's colleagues add in a couple of weeks of unpaid vacation.

My husband accumulates unused vacation. We will be travelling for three weeks and he will still have enough for Christmas.

Two weeks is plenty of travel time, if you aren't trying to see everything.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 62
  • Location: Middle East
Two weeks is the legal minimum, yes, but it's a stingy employer that sticks to that and gives you nothing more than they're required to do.  I'd say most middle class Canadians get more than that, at least once they're no longer entry-level.  Three weeks seems pretty common.

I had four weeks of vacation plus lieu time at my last job, in Canada...the lieu time was time off we got on a 1:1 basis when we worked overtime (in lieu of being paid for that time*).  I usually ended up with at least six weeks' worth of time off, plus stat holidays of course.  I would have been able to do unpaid leave too if I'd asked, but never bothered with that.

*Possibly part of the trick is to find an employer with a tight enough budget that they can't pay you time-and-a-half, heh...actually, they tried to be generous with benefits like time off just in general, to make up for the midrange-but-not-terribly-competitive salaries there, and have better staff retention.  Which is why I know they would have said yes to an unpaid leave request, as long as it was reasonable.

Not every employer in Canada is like this, but they're out there.  I'm sure they are in the States too.  Possibly more often in certain sectors?  I'm thinking community colleges, municipal governments, etc.

Prairie Gal

  • Handlebar Stache
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Here in Canada, after five years we get three weeks vacation. I usually try to plan my vacations over a long weekend, so that gives me an extra day. I also bank some of my overtime (still at time + half). If need be, I can also take unpaid days. Even with all of that, I never seem to have enough vacation days.