Feeling caged in and edgy? If you’re so busy working that your vacation days slip by unused, maybe it’s time to plan a break.
Taking time off – even an extra day for a long weekend – can do wonders to refresh the body and mind. While most American workers say they want a vacation, they don’t get around to actually taking the time off. So if you reached the end of December only to realize you had to use – or lose – several vacation days, shame on you. Since January 28 is “National Plan for Vacation” day, it’s an opportune time to make plans for 2020 time off.
But you’re too busy to leave?
You’re slammed, and projects are piled up. We’ve been there. It’s not that you don’t want a vacation, but when? The work grinds on day-to-day, week-to-week, and there’s never a good time to be gone. Let’s put it another way: Not taking even five vacation days is like refusing a week’s worth of pay.
That’s what roughly half of American workers did last year. They let 768 million vacation days go unused, donating an average $571 in work time, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Ouch. Plus the average worker got more vacation days in 2018 but took fewer.
Now, those who planned out how to use some vacation days did better. Over half the surveyed workers planned – and took – time off. Surprisingly, the younger workers (under age 35) were least likely to plan a vacation, with more than one-third (36%) not planning at all.
Tips to help procrastinators take time off
Like so many goals, the key to taking vacation is better planning. That doesn’t mean your plan must be elaborate, expensive or exotic. It’s not so much about nailing down where to go and how to get there as much as it is about blocking out the actual time to be away from work. So here are a few tips to help:
- Make the request. The earlier you can notify the boss, HR, or whoever needs to know, the better.
- Get it on your calendar. Anticipating time off can be half the fun, you know.
- Coordinate with others. If your partner or family will take the same days off with you, be sure it’s on their calendar too.
- Share your plans. Will you visit friends?
You might even find yourself thinking about where you could go or what you might do. Heck, maybe a quick vacation is even a chance to try out a future “mini retirement” place. Most do say they want to travel when they retire. Think about that…as you’re planning, of course.