Question: How many vacations did you take last year?
Answer: Not Enough!
“According to government survey data” as reported in The Center for Economic and Policy Research, “the average worker in the private sector in the United States receives only about ten days of paid vacation and about six paid holidays per year.”
HOW TO TURN 10 DAYS OF PAID LEAVE INTO 5 AMAZING VACATIONS
First let’s start with the basics. Two weeks of paid leave = 10 business days.
THE FORMULA IS:
- 2 paid leave days
- 2 weekend days
- 1 national paid holiday
- EQUALS 5 days for an amazing vacation.
You have only used 2 paid leave days in 1 vacation. Now multiply this formula to have 5 amazing vacations on 2 weeks of paid leave!
HOW TO ADD AN EXTRA DAY TO YOUR VACATION
Another tip to extend your vacation is to take the last flight out of the day. For example, you work until 5pm on Wednesday. Instead of leaving Thursday morning, take the last flight out on Wednesday. This might mean a red-eye or it might mean you land close to midnight at your destination. Either way, it gives you a full day to enjoy at your destination versus a half day.
- Wednesday night – fly to destination
- Thursday and Friday are paid leave days
- Saturday and Sunday
- Fly home on Monday, which is a national holiday.
This formula works best when you marry your vacation to a national holiday. There may be drawbacks, in terms of, higher airfare and gasoline costs, crowds and high-season rates at hotels. These drawback can be avoided. Planning in advance can make your vacation extraordinary and under-budget!
4 PLANNING TIPS TO SCHEDULE VACATIONS IN ADVANCE
- First, brainstorm a long list of destinations. Don’t lock yourself into one idea. It may be too expensive. You want a lot of options.
- Keep your calendar near-by and mark your employer paid national holidays. Then, mark your 5 vacations on the calendar.
- Research airfare and hotel prices for each destination and each 5 vacation periods you scheduled on your calendar. Many times the accommodations may be 3x the cost of the airfare ticket and vice-versa. Since airfare and lodging are the two most expensive budget considerations, research both for the dates before booking either.
- The last advantage to planning your trips is that you know the anticipated costs up-front. Now you can start tucking away $50, $100, etc into your savings each month!
Two of my favorite trips following my formula are Aruba & Mt.Rushmore.
We took a direct flight to Aruba on Wednesday, July 3rd (paid leave day), then enjoyed the 4th of July and 5th as company paid holidays and returned home Sunday. The airfare was expensive at $800 per ticket. But with a little research, we found a great hotel in the downtown city-center of Aruba for $200 a night. I had enough loyalty points to redeem 2 free nights, which cut the price in half!
We avoided the ‘resort area’ of Aruba and therefore avoided the holiday crowds! The hotel had a small speed boat which picked up guests and shuttled them to a private island to enjoy their private beach.
While the airfare could have deterred the entire trip, we found a creative way to make it work for our paid-vacation day strategy and budget!
THE MOST MEMORABLE VACATION E-V-E-R
Think low-season destinations. My most memorable vacation was visiting Mt Rushmore on December 26th! We flew to Rapid City, SD the morning of the 26th, settled into our hotel, enjoyed a nice dinner and drove to Mt Rushmore that evening. It was magical! We were the only two people in the snow-covered park enjoying the presidential monument lite up under a starry night. We spent 2 more days visiting Mt.Rushmore again, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park to see the Buffalo’s and even a local hot-springs swimming pool, followed the next day at The Badlands. No crowds, no traffic, cheap hotel rates – seriously cheap at $49 a night. It was a trip that we will never forget!
Now it’s your turn to put this formula
- Organize your calendar by marking your employer paid holidays.
- Brainstorm destinations!
- Explore flight schedules, hotels, and start asking around
- Enjoy and safe travels!