How to Travel During the Holidays Without Using Your Paid Time Off

By | 09/11/2022

“I quit my job to travel the earth!”

How many times have you read a version of this story online? Sure, it’s an exciting narrative, but information technology only isn’t realistic for most people. Plus, it perpetuates the idea that y’all accept to ditch your ix-to-five, sell all your belongings, and live on the route full-time to meet the world.

Spoiler alert: you don’t have to set off on a yr-long backpacking trip or start working as a digital nomad to travel ofttimes! Yes, finding fourth dimension to gallivant around the earth can be challenging when you accept a “regular” job and a measly two weeks of holiday, simply information technology’s definitely doable — especially when you lot start getting strategic about how and when you use your paid time off.

If y’all’re slap-up to maximise your holiday days, nosotros’ve got ten tips to help you hack your paid time off and travel more while property down a day task.

Palm trees alongside a path with two hammocks
Information technology’due south still possible to brand your travel dreams come true with limited vacation time | © Cristofer Jeschke/Unsplash

Plan vacations around holidays

Okay, so this i may seem obvious, but it’southward easily i of the all-time means to maximise your holiday days without eating into your PTO. Most holidays fall on Fridays or Mondays in North America, which ways you lot only need to use four paid days to get a total week off. You can brand the most of those holidays that happen to autumn mid-calendar week, too; just book off the two days immediately post-obit the holiday for a five-day break.

Now, this strategy does come with one caveat: travelling around major holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas tin can be a nightmare when information technology comes to crowds, queues, and skyrocketing flight prices. If yous’re willing to travel ON the vacation itself, however, you can score a great airfare deal and preserve your sanity in the process.

Fit two weekends in during your time off

If you plan it right, it’south totally possible to take a nine-day vacation and simply use five paid vacation days — just make certain two weekends fall during your time off! For example, if you book a trip from Saturday to the following Sunday, yous’ll get nine consecutive days worth of travel — four of which autumn on the weekend. And, if at that place happens to be a holiday during that fourth dimension, you can accept a nine-24-hour interval trip using simply four paid days off.

A pair of sunglasses sitting atop three books with a beach, lounge chairs, and umbrellas in the background
Be sure to leverage existing holiday weekends when planning your travels for the year | © Link Hoang/Unsplash

Stay (somewhat) close to home

We get information technology: you lot want to travel to all the far-flung destinations of your dreams when you have time off. But, in some cases (read: when you can but have a week off) spending a full twenty-four hours travelling to your destination — and then recovering from the awful jetlag afterwards — isn’t the best style to maximise that week-long holiday.

If you live in New York and you’re dying to visit the palm-fringed islands of the South Pacific, why not consider dreamy islands that are just every bit exotic but also a footling closer to abode, similar Panama’s San Blas Islands or Isla Holbox in Mexico instead? Live in Australia and want to take a ski vacation in North America? New Zealand’s South Island is a great — and easily attainable — alternative.

Perfect the art of the long weekend trip

Leveraging long weekends is crucial when you’re working with express vacation time. When y’all tack a day or two onto a weekend, you’ve got yourself a three or four-day trip — and although information technology may seem not seem like much, you lot can come across and do a lot in that timeframe.

Destinations within driving altitude are always a prophylactic bet for a long weekend getaway, but don’t be afraid to head a bit further afield as well. Travel search engines similar Kayak feature a flight duration filter, then you tin can narrow down your options to cities that are only a curt flight away.

A pair of aviator sunglasses beside a pool
Even a short pause is hugely beneficial to your wellbeing and mental health | © David Lezcano/Unsplash

Plow a concern trip into a mini getaway (or tag along on someone else’s)

Already travel for piece of work? A concern trip is a swell alibi to programme a brusk-merely-sweet vacation at the same fourth dimension. Add an extra day to the beginning or end of your trip, or come across if you can extend your trip into the weekend and spend Saturday and Sunday exploring the sights. Even an extra day or two means you tin can program your own adventure and get more out of your time away.

Don’t accept the opportunity to travel for work? Chances are you know someone who does! Whether it’s your partner, a friend, or your 2nd cousin, ask if they could use some company on their business trip and come across if yous tin tag along. You lot’ll have to stay busy while they’re at their conference or event, merely yous can also crash at their hotel for complimentary and make a fun trip of it.

Choose your flight times wisely

I think we tin all agree that red-eye flights aren’t fun, merely if yous acquire to love them, you can squeeze even more out of every concluding vacation day.

When you’re booking your trip, opt for an overnight flying later on your terminal day of piece of work before your vacation officially starts. This way, you lot’ll arrive at your holiday destination on the morning of your commencement full twenty-four hours off (without wasting half a mean solar day in transit).

The lesser line? If you’re willing to suffer through (or if y’all can actually manage to catch some z’south on) a red-eye flying, yous’ll be able to fall comatose in your departure city and wake upwardly in your vacation spot — and then don’t overlook those belatedly-night deviation times when searching for flying options!

View of an airplane wing from the window with a pink sky in the background
Volume a red-center flight to cut downward on transit time and brand the most of shorter trips | © south-o-c-i-a-l-c-u-t/Unsplash

7. Don’t try to pack likewise much in

Less is more when it comes to maximising your weekend getaways and 10-mean solar day holidays. You won’t be able to see and exercise
all the things, and trying to cram too much in is a surefire style to feel overwhelmed past your itinerary and even more than exhausted than when yous left. Stick to one or two places and schedule in plenty time to actually relax, slumber in, and do admittedly nothing.

Spread your vacation days throughout the year

There’s nothing wrong with splitting your holiday fourth dimension into two longer vacation stints, but if you desire to feel like you lot’re travelling more, information technology’s all-time to spread your PTO between multiple mini vacations throughout the year. The upside of taking several short holidays is that you’ll e’er take something to look forward to!

Man laying on a deck with a lantern overlooking water
Remember to carve out time in your itinerary to relax and do zip | © Nick Karvounis/Unsplash

9. Brand the most of every minute when you’re travelling

Time is precious when you’re travelling — specially when holiday days are scarce. To ensure you’re making the most of every minute while you’re away, keep these tips in heed when you’re in vacation-planning mode:

  • Cut downwardly on travel time by choosing the shortest flight time and volume non-cease flights wherever possible.
  • Exercise your research and plan alee so y’all don’t waste material precious time flipping through guidebooks or trying to figure out how to navigate a transit system.
  • Travel during off-acme times to take advantage of cheaper prices and fewer crowds.
  • Book centrally-located accommodations and so you spend more fourth dimension exploring and less time commuting.
  • Decide which attractions and experiences are almost important to you, and then prioritise those when planning your itinerary.
  • If you want to striking multiple destinations in ane trip only y’all’re brusk on time, consider booking an extended layover in an airline’s hub city (similar Reykjavik if you lot’re flying with Republic of iceland Air) on your way dorsum dwelling house.

See if it’southward possible to negotiate more vacation time

If all else fails, go creative and effort to finagle a few extra holiday days for your next adventure. Tin can you use a personal twenty-four hours or family 24-hour interval for travel in add-on to your paid vacation days? Are you lot able to take unpaid get out? Tin y’all earn comp fourth dimension in substitution for working belatedly, attention a conference, or volunteering for a work consequence? Would you exist willing to request more paid days off in lieu of a pay raise? Is it possible to piece of work on a holiday in exchange for a “floating holiday” that you lot can utilize whenever you please? Can you request to work remotely?

These options won’t be possible with every job, only there’southward no harm in asking!

Woman standing on a beach facing the ocean wearing a hat
Just considering you accept express vacation time doesn’t mean you lot tin can’t try to negotiate more than | © Jens Kreuter/Unsplash

How do you make the most of your vacation time? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!