The Best Time to Take Time
As we’ve said before, Americans aren’t taking enough time off away from work. There are a lot of methods for asking for time off that improve your chances of getting it, but one of the easiest ways to get time off is to simply take a long weekend.
Not everybody agrees with this, however, and while one study determined that the ideal vacation is an eight-day trip away, not everybody can afford that. Hotels cost money, and eight days anywhere can add up quick, especially when coupled with the daily activities and outings that are sure to accompany a week away from home.
So rather than wipe out your savings taking yourself or your family away from home for a week or more, get more use out of your vacation time (and take more vacations) by stretching out your weekend.
Turn Saturday to Sunday into Friday to Monday.
For one thing, it affords you more vacations over the course of the year. Most employers provide 10 days paid time off to new employees (once they’re past the orientation and new-hire phase), so taking a four-day weekend means you get to get away five times a year.
How much better would you feel if you knew that you could take a mini-vacation nearly every other month instead of working all year for a single trip (or two)?
If you really want to maximize your time off, plan your escapes around national holidays. Most companies provide either an additional day off for “Fourth of July Weekend,” or they’ll force employees to take an unpaid furlough during a national holiday, so use that to your advantage. Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of May every year—so take the preceding Friday and following Tuesday off, making a three day weekend into a five day weekend…and still get paid for three of them.
You can do the same for Fourth of July, and Labor Day as well, and get 15 days away from work for the cost of six. And while many companies give the day after Thanksgiving off for free, you can request to use one of your PTO days for it, providing an extra day’s pay at the holidays while you spend time with friends and family. Ditto Christmas and New Year’s.
Most people don’t want to take a full vacation because they’re afraid of missing too much work, or they can’t afford a proper vacation. So don’t think of it as a “vacation,” just a long weekend. Take a road trip, or even a handful of day trips to local attractions you’ve never bothered to visit. You’ll get your rest and time away from work to revitalize yourself and reconnect with your family, but none of the stressors, or costs, of a traditional vacation.