Vacation time is sacred, and unfortunately, there never seems to be enough of it. If you’re like me, you work a corporate job and fit your travels into your 15 paid vacation days + 6 company holidays.
Work for a company that lets you use your time.
Just because you have vacation time does not mean you’ll actually get to use it. If travel is a priority for you try to work for a company that won’t penalize or shame you for taking your time off. An excellent way to understand how a company handles vacation before signing the contract is by reading reviews on Glassdoor. I switched companies last year, and the vacation culture has been night and day. In my new company taking vacations is encouraged and people leave their work laptops at home. In my previous role, vacation policy and behavior varied by department and many people let their vacation days expire.
At the beginning of each year I list out all of the trips I’d like to take -usually too many to count- and an estimate of the days I would need to allocate for each trip. Because I’m all about being organized I categorize my trips by the length of time (weekend, holiday + weekend, or full week). Working in corporate finance is cyclical, so I have an idea of when I can take vacation throughout the year and which trips I’d like to go on when. This gives me ample time to coordinate with friends and family to get on their schedules. Half the challenge of planning a vacation is coordinating with the other parties.
It’s all about scheduling
One thing that I hate is wasting valuable vacation time in transit. I would much rather take a red-eye flight after work and save my time than use a half day traveling. Working at a tech company has lots of perks, one of the best being work from home flexibility. I use my company’s policy sparingly because I love going into our office - I’m hooked on my three monitors, stand up desk, unlimited supply of cold brew coffee, and prefer interacting in person with my co-workers.
The work from home policy has come in handy with layovers. When I traveled to Quito in October, I saved half a vacation day by working remotely from the Fort Lauderdale airport. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights to Quito from O’Hare. Fort Lauderdale has direct flights to Quito that leave in the evening. To conserve my precious vacation time I opted to take the first flight out of Chicago to Fort Lauderdale and worked remote from the airport for the day. Fort Lauderdale is a great layover airport because there are plenty of food options, its clean, and you can buy a day pass for an airline lounge.
Scheduling flights at times that maximize my trip time and minimize vacation days have been a huge reason why I am able to visit so many destinations in a year. Just by considering flight timing I save half to a full day of vacation on each trip.