10 Ways to Maximize Your Vacation Time

November 22, 2016


As an American, I get a standard two weeks of vacation days a year. It isn’t much compared to other countries. It equals 10 days out of about 146 work days. I’m sure many of us wish we could come and go as we please, but having a vacation limit shouldn’t deter you from planning incredible trips. It’s still possible to take noteworthy vacations with a full-time job. Take advantage of tips and tricks to make the most out of your time off. Here are 10 tips to help you maximize your vacation time.

1. Incorporate weekends and holidays into your travel plans.
By planning your vacation around holidays and weekends, you are adding days you don’t need to account for at work. Schedule your week-long vacation from Saturday to Saturday. Tack on days around Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. While flights are more expensive around holidays, the extra days off could be worth it.

2. Add vacation days to a business trip.
If you’re taking a business trip, add vacation days to the end of your trip or extend your trip past the weekend since your company is likely paying for your flights and you’ll be in a new place to explore.

3. Pick fewer destinations for your trip.
Depending on what kind of traveler you are, schedule-packed vacations can leave you feeling exhausted, especially if you’re traveling to multiple cities. Instead, take out destinations and activities so you can fully relax on your vacation. Immerse yourself in one city or country instead of visiting multiples in one trip.

4. Make a schedule and book ahead.
Arrive with a plan. Prioritize what you want to see. Plan and book your activities ahead of time so there’s no downtime figuring out what you want to do. This ensures you check off all the things you want to do to get a memory-packed vacation.

5. Choose early or late flight times.
Fly out after work or at the earliest time in the morning, so you can have more hours on vacation. Similarly, return home at the latest time possible while also having time to recover before returning to work. You could also consider overnight flights.

6. Choose a direct flight.
Arrive at your destination faster by taking a direct flight.

7. Only bring carry-on luggage.
Remove the time waiting for your baggage when you arrive at the airport by only bringing carry-on luggage.

8. Negotiate your vacation policy with your employer.
Some employers offer unpaid vacation days or options for more vacation days. Talk to your employer to see what you can get.

9. Work remotely.
While it’s not ideal to mix work and vacation, you could set aside time for work and play. If your company has multiple offices, ask if you can work from a different location for a week to explore the city at night.

10. Be as relaxed as possible.
You don’t want to return from your vacation needing another vacation! Try not to plan so many activities in your vacation so you can fully relax. Plan to arrive home with enough time to decompress and prepare for returning to work. Indulge on the last day of your vacation by getting a massage, laying on the beach, and having fewer plans.

Two weeks of vacation is not much, especially when researchers recommend at least a week at a time to fully reset. For me, incorporating weekends and holidays have been the most beneficial to extending a vacation. Hopefully you can use these tips to make the most of your vacation time and feel ready to come back to work.

Do you have any additional tips? Share in the comments below!

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