Updated: Sep 28
A recent survey by Skift indicated that 42% of Americans did not take one single day of vacation time in a whole work year!
Last year it is estimated that 740 Million Vacation Days went unused in the US. Nearly 60% of them were paid vacation days.
The statistics in Canada fair no better, and actually they are worse by a few points. In Europe, the results are better, but even still the amount of waste is incredible.
Employers know that vacations increase productivity and well-being of their employees and that is why the UK is toying with a 4-day work week - to give an extra day for quick weekend getaways.
So why aren't we going on vacation more?
The answer is two-fold:
1. We are a society of productivity. In our current society we believe that work defines us and productivity showcases how much value we add to our being. In essence, the more we work, the better person we are.
2. We are a society of excuses. We are too busy at work. There is no time to find and plan a vacation. I only have a week-off so how can I plan to go to Vietnam? I don't have money to vacation. My boss will fire me if I take time off. I am planning for next year. These excuses are common and it is the words we tell ourselves because they are easy outs. I don't have money to travel, or the time - so back to work in the cubical I go, to make my self-worth evident to everyone else. This needs to stop. And we'll show you how.
Arrange Your Bucket List
Alright, you have 10 days a year to vacation and you've saved up a little money for this year to take a trip. The time is now to start organizing your bucket list and prioritizing the vacation destinations you want to go to.
In 10 days you can visit Europe, South America and even Australia if you prioritize the destinations, activities and tours that go along with such a vacation. Sure, there are slow moving boat tours down the Danube, but if you want to see Europe, you can do so without taking a month vacation. You won't be able to safari across Australia in a jeep, but you will enjoy Sidney and the Great Barrier Reef.
The idea here is to take your top destinations and visit them and if you find them enjoyable, revisit with a different itinerary in the future. You'll see what you want to see in order of importance to you and have many, many vacations.
There are times I only have 24 hours in a particular city and I make a list to see the top 1-2 attractions or places of interest with plans, if the city was enjoyable, to return at a future time to see more. This type of mind-set will start to generate you on the path to vacationing more and more often. The short bursts of vacation time will also increase your well-being and productivity - so it is a win-win!
Plan Your Vacation In Advance
There is no such thing anymore of waiting until the last minute to buy an airline ticket somewhere. In fact, airlines are more likely to oversell seats than wait until some frugal person snatches up their last remaining seats. Your best best is to look about 2-4 months ahead to purchase tickets to your particular destination.
The same can be said for hotels and even though there are last minute hotel deals, they usually do not equal into much savings (about 2-8%) and with that, it is better to get a hotel property you like, rather than waiting until last minute and getting a less than desirable accommodation and saving $4 a night.
If you plan your vacation ahead of time you will most likely be approved to get the time off. Sometimes waiting until next year to plan a vacation causes employers some anxiety, because they don't know what is expected that far off in the future. What if a major project develops? Give you employer adequate time to plan for your away-time, but don't make them look so far in the future that they cannot plan themselves.
Staycations Are Fun Too
A staycation just means you are going to vacation closer to home. You can find some very interesting locations in your area and within a day or two driving distance. Go visit a nearby city and take in their attractions or find a National Park and dive deep into it taking it all in.
Vacations do not have to mean travelling thousands of miles away or crossing oceans. They mean having fun, with different experiences and cultures, tasting different foods and drinks and getting your mind and body in a better place.
The Long Weekend Vacation Planner
If you only have long-weekends to plan for, set them aside. You know you are guaranteed this vacation time and you can plan accordingly. There are many budget airlines in the US and Canada that fly to popular destinations like Orlando, Las Vegas and New York City. Take advantage of these cheap flights and book a hotel room for two nights. You can visit a Disney Park in one day, you can hit the strip in Vegas or take in the desert sites in a day and you can take a city tour of NYC in just one day as well. These little refreshing weekends far away will not only give you the experiences you desire, but they will allow you to get a taste of the places you want to travel to in the future.
If you like roadtrips you can certainly get quite a distance in 3 days and experience National Parks, different cities and cultures and even different countries. Start your weekend getaways now and soon you will see that getting away each long weekend is a breeze!
Grab the Red Eye
A Red Eye Flight is an overnight flight to your particular destination. Using a Red-Eye can save you a little money, but the advantage here is time. If you are pressed for time, don't choose a flight where you are sitting all day going to and then sitting all day coming back on a flight. That is two days missed vacation time on a usually cramped and uncomfortable airline seat. Instead, find a flight that departs overnight and use the time travelling to sleep. You will not get jet lag and the two days you just saved sleeping can be used for activities and adventure.
Travel on a Holiday
Travelling during the holidays is usually stressful and expensive. The airlines are at peak service and there are long lines of grumpy and tired families and no discounts available. But if you don't care for the holiday buy your flight on the day of the actual holiday. Most people do not fly on the holiday as they want to arrive somewhere beforehand and after ward, so the flights are usually under-booked and with that comes some savings and perhaps free upgrades.
Business Trips Extensions
If you already travel for business it is usually very easy to extend your business trip by a few days so you can explore the region. If you have family or friends join you, they can do so as you have concluded your business affairs.
Your employer will typically love this idea because they are expecting you away anyhow and have planned for this, and of course in the back of their mind is that you are not treating the business trip as a holiday, but rather as work - you have separated both and thus you should work harder. They will also think that if you are needed there longer, you are still available.
Extending you business trip just means a little more planning, but the savings you will make just on airline alone can get you a fancy meal at a top rated restaurant or pay for an attraction or theme park entrance.
Remote Work Vacation
Many of us now work from home, even on a part time basis. Our laptop, phone and work follows us around. Ask your employer if you can take time off to work remotely, somewhere else to recharge and bring forth creativity. If your employer is uncertain this is a good idea, offer that you will work a certain number of hours for free in lieu of the time off.
If you are planning a trip that extends past your allotted vacation time, and you need a few more days, this is an excellent work-around that many human resources personnel are accepting of.
We hope these tips will help you discover that you can travel more and that travel can mean so many different things. If you are looking for more travel inspiration, check out these popular blog posts: