It’s almost the end of the year. Have you taken your vacation days that you are due? According to U.S. Travel Association, American workers lost 662 million vacation days in 2016. This translates to an estimated $70 billion in lost wages. A 2017 survey by Glass Door concluded that an estimated 11% of workers do not take any vacation days.
Reasons for Not Using Vacation Days
There are a host of reason why Americans are not taking time off. There may be factors you have no control over, such as coordinating vacation time with your spouse and kids. Many are afraid to take time off due to the fear of losing their job. Other reasons include worrying about work piling up while they are gone or feeling guilty about take time off. I have been there myself, thinking that I might be short changing my employer by taking time off.
One overriding reason that I will address here, is how you can enjoy time off without breaking your budget. Let’s explore a few ways you can enjoy your time off and still be home to make dinner, if you need to do so.
Why You Should Take Time Off
About 100 years ago, the concept of getting paid for time off was a fairy tale. If you think about it, how amazing is it that you are paid by your employer for not showing up at work?
Benefits of taking time off from work include:
- Improved productivity
- Better performance
- More engaged
- Less stressed
- Healthier – less likely to miss work due to illness
- Improved relationships (at work and at home)
- More likely to get a promotion, if you are not overworked.
7 Affordable Things To Do With Your Vacation Days
- To cut down on buying gifts, offer to run errands, bake cookies, plan a holiday menu, as your gift for a friend or relative.
- Enjoy local fall activities.
- Volunteer – many not-for-profits need extra help during the holidays. There are food banks, organizations that collect warm clothing, animal shelters, or visit the sick or elderly.
- Do something you never do. One of my favorites things to do is to go see a movie in the middle of day.
- If it’s warm – make yourself a picnic and go to a park or the beach. Write in your journal. Read a book. Enjoy the surroundings, put down your phone and relax.
- Take a free class at a craft or home improvement store.
- Start a small business on the side, commonly referred to as a side hustle . Everyone should have multiple sources of income. If you are looking for a book that clearly explains how to start a side hustle, try reading Side Hustle Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau.*
You may see a common theme. Mostly it’s to get out of the house and make it a special day. A break in your routine will benefit you when you return to work. It will also will benefit those closest to you because you had a chance to do something different.
What do you do with your vacation time? Do you take all of your vacation days every year? Have you lost vacation time because you did not take it?
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