I know, I know, a lot of us only get one to two weeks of vacation a year. Some can additionally get sick days and paid time off hours. Take me for example, I currently get roughly a week vacation and 5 hours monthly of paid time off, add it all together and I end up with 63 hours of vacation and 60 hours of paid time off a year. No sick time. The one cool thing about my current job is that I can choose to request time off unpaid, which has worked fine for me for the past year and half. I usually save my vacation pay for an emergency. I just told you about my vacation time to give you a rough idea of how to make this work. So how can you stretch your limited vacation time?
Book Ahead of Time
Most jobs, at least in the hospitality industry, are very strict with taking time off during the holidays. This year I spent New Year’s Eve in the Bahamas. I booked my trip back in March and put my request in as soon as I did that . I personally love to plan and have an idea of what my future trips will look like on a calendar so I book as far ahead as possible, usually 6 to 9 months, since 9 months is usually the furthest ahead of time time you can book most things. You can use apps like Hopper and Google Flights to help give you an idea of what the flight prices will look like as the months pass.
Book Around a Weekend/Holiday
If you’re looking for a short and not too far getaway, consider booking a Thursday to Sunday trip or a Friday to Monday, this gives you two days that you do not need to request off then you only need to ask for one day off. Also, consider booking a holiday weekend, this way you automatically get an extra day that you do not need to request off. Keep in mind, you should book ahead of time if its a big holiday because you are not the only person with the same idea. With that being said, you can also sometimes find last minute flight deals as well. So there really isn’t a “perfect” time to book as it depends on many things.
Request a Monday through Friday
Or five consecutive days depending on when your work week starts. For me, Saturday is the first day of the week with the work week being Saturday to Friday. So I often request Thursday to Sunday off and still get my 40 hours both weeks. If you have a typical Monday to Friday week, consider taking that week off allowing you to add an additional four days since you would have the weekend before and the weekend after. Want moe extra time? Consider a red-eye flight the night before which would give you a full day when you arrive.
Request Unpaid Time Off
If you can financially afford it, consider taking the time off without pay. Or maybe try a mix of paid and unpaid time off so you don’t take much of a financial hit. I tend to request all my vacation days unpaid, but I plan it very carefully to ensure I stay on track. As I mentioned before, I combine my two days off of two weeks to make it a 4 day getaway, sometimes I request one to two days extra to make it a week without missing my entire paycheck. It all depends on your jobs policy of course, but if this is an option you should consider. Always make sure to plan it ahead so you can be ready financially!
Go on Weekend Trips
A “vacation” or trip does not always have to be to another country or even to the other side of the country. Take weekend trips to another city or a state nearby. Somewhere you can drive, take a bus or train to that would only take a few hours. You will be surprised how much you can discover without going too far away. This way, you’re also not requesting time off from work but simply using the free time you already have every weekend. However, you can always check out weekend flights to an island nearby or a state a little further away.
Have any more tips on how to stretch your vacation time? Let me know so I can add them for future reference! Also, feel free to drop any suggestions, comments or just say hi below 🙂