Tuesday, January 12, 2016

MAXIMIZING VACATION DAYS


If you're anything like me, you love to travel. But, making it happen with limited paid vacation days can be difficult. In the past six months, I've been on dozens of flights traveling on eight separate occasions. I often get questions about how I'm able to travel so frequently without wasting all of my paid time off before the third quarter of the year. Whether it be a trip abroad or a short flight back home, I've learned how to utilize my vacation time to maximize my travel. 

It's important to note that not all workplaces afford the options outlined below. Furthermore, not all individuals have the flexibility in their positions to utilize all of the options. Depending on your employer, management position, tenure, etc. some of these options may (or may not) be available to you. 

NEGOTIATE 
There are several ways you can "negotiate" your way into additional vacation days. If your supervisor is flexible, would they allow you to arrange an alternative work schedule? At my job, many employees work the standard eight hour day. I arranged an alternative schedule with my supervisor that allows me to work nine hour days, which affords me one day off every two weeks. I still work the standard 80 hours per pay period that my colleagues do, but I get two extra days off per month. That's huge.  

Additionally, some companies offer compensatory time off. Typically, this is an arrangement that allows for time off with pay in lieu of overtime pay. However, it can also apply to irregularly worked hours, too. If you expect to work overtime or irregular hours, it's worth talking to your supervisor about. It's important to note here that many salaried employees do not enjoy the benefit of comp time, but it varies widely from company to company. 

Finally, negotiate vacation time when you first get a job offer or when you're awarded a raise. If you have the ability to negotiate your benefit package before you begin a job, it's an easy way to gain extra vacation days. If that's not an option, know that many employees negotiate for additional paid time off in lieu of a monetary raise when they're slated for a pay increase. 



WORK REMOTELY
Does your company allow you to work from home or telework? If so, this added flexibility can be key to planning travel. If you have the flexibility of working from the airport, on your flight, in a hotel room or at your destination, it suddenly becomes much easier to conserve your vacation days and travel at the same time. 

TAKE THE "BAD" FLIGHT
Those 6:00a flights? The worst. How about red-eyes? Equally as terrible. But, these flights can really help maximize vacation days. I like flying early mornings on domestic departures because it allows me to enjoy a full day at my destination. Along the same lines, I like to book late flights back home. This allows me to extend my trip as long as possible — and really, I only regret it Monday morning when I'm tired. The positive? Flying early, late, and otherwise obscure times is often cheapest!

HOLIDAYS
Traveling around holidays is an easy way to scrape together an extra day or two off. In the U.S., most workplaces grant the standard Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays off. Does your company offer any other obscure days off? Many workplaces grant every federal holiday off, including MLK Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day. Being aware of these extra days off ahead of time can really benefit travel planning. If you know of a three day weekend coming up, taking a vacation day at the beginning (or end) of the weekend is a super easy way to get in a four day trip with only taking one day off. And trust me, four days is plenty — especially if you plan it right! 

COMPROMISE 
Sometimes, I'll get up early and head into work at 5:00a so I can work a full day and leave by 3:00p. This allows me to beat traffic or get on an earlier flight that I otherwise wouldn't be able to. Added bonus: bring your bags to the office and leave directly from work!

But, what happens when you've exhausted all of your options and are out of vacation time? Talk to your supervisor about taking unpaid leave. Many companies have some sort of policy regarding unpaid time off, and it may be your only option if you've already used your leave allowance for the year. 

Work shouldn't have to spoil all of the fun when it comes to travel. How do you stretch your vacation days?

23 comments :

  1. This is such a great post- I'll be entering the workforce once I graduate in May, and I LOVE to travel (especially weekend getaways)- so thank-you so much for these helpful tips!!!

    xoxo A
    www.southernbelleintraining.com

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    1. I'm glad you found some useful tips! I'll be posting about how I find good airfare deals soon, too!

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  2. These are all awesome tips! I am a fan of the early bird flights, I just sleep the whole time! x, kenz http://sincerelykenz.com

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    1. I totally agree - they're not as terrible as they seem!

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  3. I love traveling and one of my concerns about getting into the workforce is having to sacrifice my love for it. I'll definitely come back to these when I am trying to plan trips when I enter the "real world"

    xoxo
    Amy | pastelnpink.blogspot.com

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    1. I couldn't stand the thought of letting work get in the way of "life", and I'm glad I've been able to find a compromise!

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  4. This is great advice. I travel a lot for my family/relationship, so I've definitely had to compromise before! Working from home also works for my boyfriend, who managed to get a whole extra week off to travel if he could work during the morning. Great tips!

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    1. Wow, that's awesome! It sounds like we both have the #airportlife down!

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  5. awesome advice girl!! definitely writing a few of them down for the future:)

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    1. I'm glad you found some of the tips useful! It's always good to know you've got options!

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  6. We have unlimited vacation days which is great. Working remotely or having a flex schedule is also a great way to get in a little more vaca time!

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    1. That's so awesome! You're very lucky to work for an employer that sees the benefit in not restricting employee travel!

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  7. This was such a useful post! I will be book marking this! I work in retail, while I am in school, and I am fortunate that I get what ever time I want off.

    xx,
    Amanda || www.fortheloveofglitter.com

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    1. That's so awesome, definitely take advantage of your flexible schedule! I'm glad you found some useful tips!

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  8. As a teacher, I am really limited to vacation time during the school year! Thankfully, I do get lots of breaks for traveling (at peak travel times, which can get expensive...the only down fall!).

    xo Ashley

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    1. I totally understand the struggle of expensive travel — I'll be doing a post soon on how I find inexpensive airfare!

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  9. I have never worked anywhere that I got real vacation days. I can't wait until I graduate and get a real job. My mom seems to have endless vacation days. I need to ask her how she does it.

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  10. This is so great! I always take red eyes to maximize my vacation haha! It's the worst though!
    XoLindsay
    Sugar & Something

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  11. Love this idea! I usually take early flights instead of red eyes!
    www.kayleighskloset.com

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  12. Such awesome tips! I agree about early flights. They're so worth the messy hair and less-than-put-together persona.

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  13. I've always taken early morning flights; my Hawaii flight was 5am! Those red eye flights are so nice because you get to your destination with so much time to explore and get used to your surroundings.

    http://thealwaysblog.com

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  14. Loving all these career tips on maximizing vacation days. It will be a while before I enter the workforce (I just started my Masters degree) but I will definitely be excited once I can start taking vacations on a more regular basis.

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    1. I'm glad you found the tips useful — I wish I would have known about some of them before I started my job!

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