Paid time off clearly falls into the category of never enough of it. Even if you’re spoiled by working for an employer that allows you flexible hours and gives you plenty of leeway for medical appointments, household emergencies, and all the other miscellany in your life, at the end of the day, we could all use more time off.

If you’re finding yourself short with the time off, here are some tips to still get out of town and not lose your sanity.

time flies

Matching Expectations

First of all, I want you to ask yourself a question: which one of these would be better:

  • 5 three-day weekend breaks
  • 7 days in a far away destination
Do you know? Because if you wanted to use 5 days of hols, that’s two different ways to use them. Does one feel more like what you’re looking for? If you take shorter breaks, you can take more of them. But if you want to go far away, you just can’t take as many trips.
It’s all a choice – nothing right or wrong, just different.

Where’s the Wiggle Room

Finding extra days is a bit like tearing apart the sofa looking for a few spare coins for change. But, it works. Some ideas:

  • Can you work flex hours to get an additional day off to pad your weekend? Getting a Friday morning head start on a roadtrip can make a huge difference.
  • Does your benefits plan allow you to “pay” for additional days off (essentially “unpaid time off”)?  This might be a good way to stretch out a lack of paid days off.

Plan Ahead

I often hear stories of folk who end up not taking their hols, or sitting around home moping because they didn’t “get around to planning something. That’s a shame, but a fabulous vacation break does not plan itself. If you want to enjoy nice holidays throughout the year, you have to plan for them.

Try starting a Pinterest board to get you going. Get at least one solid plan booked. And I always like to plan the next trip while that feeling of freedom is still fresh from the previous trip.

Staycations: They’re not for Everybody

I’m not a staycation person, because I just end up working – and by that, I mean hoovering the house and scrubbing the bathroom tile. No, that isn’t much of a holiday, is it.

I would agree, certainly – I am as guilty as the next guy in terms of not fully exploring my hometown, although I’ve lived in some great places for a staycation: Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Seattle… maybe you’re as lucky, maybe not.  But don’t take a staycation if you won’t enjoy yourself.

What strategies have you used to deal with a lack of paid time off?

Photo by briandeadly

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 at 10:00
Category : Holiday Tips
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