Project: Time Off reports that in 2016, 662 million vacation days were left on the table, four million days more than 2015.
And that’s really fucking lame.
This is to due to workplace pressures, cultural hustle expectations, the dreaded feeling that work will be more stressful when we get back — and also the thought that we can’t even afford to take a vacation abroad somewhere.
So if you have Paid Time Off (PTO) days piling up, why not start with a staycation?
As a career and travel mentor, I am passionate and adamant about everyone taking advantage of ALL their PTO at work! In my ten year career, I have never let one PTO hour go to waste — and more often than not, I’m borrowing days in advance to take a trip or staycation day :)
Staycations are an outstanding option — yet somehow they are a totally underestimated and underutilized way to spend your hard earned PTO days at work.
It is a myth that you need to travel abroad to use your days off!
I may be a world traveler, but I treasure the long weekend staycations I can fit in during the year to relax and catch up on side hustle and personal life #adulting things. Taking care of yourself is just as important as traveling the world.
1. Because You’re Throwing Away Your Salary
And that’s lame AF.
If you’re working full time, PTO days are part of your salary package. Therefore, if you don’t use them, you’re receiving less payment than you negotiated for your work.
Some companies have a “use it or lose it” policy, some pay you out for it — make sure to confirm with HR when you start. If you have “unlimited days”, choose a specific number of days to use for the year and plan around that to ensure you’re taking time off.
I beg you not to leave your vacation days unused! You wouldn’t outright give part of your paycheck back to your company, so why would you leave money on the table and not use your PTO hours!? (If you do — please reply and LMK why!)
2. You Don’t Have to Go Abroad
So stop using that as an excuse not to use all of your PTO.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in making the most out of my vacation days to see the world, but it’s not always possible to travel to another country. There have been several years where I couldn’t afford / was saving* to travel, so I started taking staycations instead.
Whether you can take a whole week or a long weekend, a staycation is a solid option for using your well deserved PTO days. Just use all of the damn time you’re paid for.
*On those staycations in my early 20s in NYC I would get babysitting jobs to make extra cash for traveling.
3. It Is the Least Stressful Type of Vacation EVER
Traveling is awesome, but shit always goes wrong.
No planning, no flight searching, no packing, no reading hundreds of hotel reviews, no airport security, no delayed flights, no foreign food poisoning… get my point? Staycations not only save you money, but from all the usual travel mishaps!
Is your goal to catch up on some personal tasks that have fallen to the side? Do you want to party, let loose, and enjoy time out with friends? Or perhaps you just need to get a massage, catch up on sleep, and dive into the magazines piling up next to your bed?
It can be wonderful playing tourist in your own town — so do whatever you please, and enjoy every moment :)
4. You’ll Be A Better Employee
Take care of yourself!
As a manager for the past several years, I’ve always made it a point to encourage my team to use all their PTO days throughout the year — whether it’s for traveling, adventures, napping, running errands, or binging Netflix. I know they’ll come back refreshed, and avoid career burnout long term.
This is your well deserved time off and your company needs you to use that time and come back creative / energetic / sassy / focused / etc — whatever you need to be to crush it.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” — Audra Lorde
5. You Don’t Have to Work Just Because You’re Home
You have the power, so take control over your time off and set your own rules.
Don’t let staying home lead to checking work emails and falling into your usual routine — set expectations prior to starting your staycation with yourself and with your co-workers.
Prepare your team for you to be fully out of the office, then shut down the work computer and remove emails from your phone.
Celebrate the night your staycation begins to get those vacation vibes flowing and in the mindset you want to be in — whether it’s happy hour with friends or at home curled up with a book and a bottle of wine!
Staycations are not a lame vacation cop out, but an amazing way to spend your hard earned time off and actually enjoy the place you live!
Take a step back and examine what you personally need to succeed.
Recognize that disconnecting and giving yourself a break will bring you back to work happier, more productive and efficient than ever, and that everyone in your life will benefit from you giving yourself time off.
Take care of yourself, spend your PTO days earned, and request that time off today!
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