Say this out loud: “I deserve a break!” Yes you do! I know you work your tail off day in and day out! Sooooooooo…why do we Americans leave 51% of our eligible paid vacation time sitting on the table?
Despite being stressed out of our minds, we are working more hours and taking fewer vacation days. The reasons for this vary with some people saying they don’t want to deal with the mountain of work that awaits them upon returning from vacation. Others simply don’t think that anyone else can do their job while they are away. Unsurprisingly, some are intimidated by a cutthroat office culture where everyone is eerily silent about the fact that no one seems to take any vacation.
Therefore, the first question really is HOW to cash-in your paid time off. The answer: Be a long-weekend-warrior.
We fine Americans have the blessing of geography on our side. A few hours plane ride to the south is lovely Mexico and a gorgeous string of Caribbean islands that offer sun, surf, and sand with all-inclusive resorts at very reasonable prices. You can take a Friday and a Monday off to maximize the weekend days, and trot off to Punta Cana, Montego Bay, or the Mexican Riviera Maya for a long weekend of sipping frosty beverages while soaking in the sun. Even if you have to take some work with you (ugh), the resorts have Wi-Fi and doing a little work by the pool beats your cramped cubicle or office any day. You can even use your time waiting on the concourse to get these li’l tasks out of the way.
If you’re feeling adventurous, Iceland is only a 5-6 hour flight from the East Coast and you can pack a lot into this tiny island-nation over a long weekend. Any time of year is fine since Icelandic winters are very mild, the shorter days make for prime-time Northern Lights viewing, and the geothermal hot springs are toasty all year ‘round.
The second question, which seems generally obvious, is WHY you should cash in your paid time off.
Did you know that people who travel to places with different cultures or run in the same circles as other travelers are more likely to come up with creative ideas? It’s true! A smarty-pants study from Adam Galinksy, a management professor at Columbia Business School says so! So, go on vacation, get the creative juices flowing, and wow your boss with oodles of new ideas when you get back! Not to mention that breaking away from your day-to-day routine resets your mind and body to give you better perspective and renewed vigor. Plus, you’ll be the envy of the watercooler as you’ll be the only one in the office who’s tanned, rested, and ready to go.
So, whip out that calendar, block off some long weekends, and use up your vacation time, people!
Say it one more time with me: “I deserve a break!” Yes. Yes, you do.
Happy traveling and Carpe Passportus!