Desk Departure

Desk Departure Tip: Mark Your Calendar to Maximize your Vacation Days

Desk Departure: How to travel the world with a full time job

Welcome to The World Incorporated’s Desk Departure series! Monthly tips to show you that it IS possible to travel the world with a full time job. Throughout this series, you’ll learn:

How to travel the world without sacrificing your career.
How to travel more with a full time job.
How to maximize your vacation days.
How travel can advance your career.
How to depart from your desk so you don’t waste your paid time off.

Desk Departure Tip: Mark Your Calendar to Maximize Your Vacation Days

Here’s one thing you NEED to do before January ends if you want to travel more in 2017.

You’ll need a few things for this activity:

  1. A blank calendar
  2. Multiple colored markers or highlighters
  3. List of company holidays & major events

Maybe your new year’s resolution is to travel more. Maybe it’s to be healthier. Maybe it’s to try a new hobby. Whatever it may be, the best way to accomplish that resolution is to come up with a plan and take action.

So let’s take action.

I’m a believer that our 10 vacation days per year can actually stretch beyond a simple 10 days. I’ll show you how you can figure this out.

You have more time off than you think.

Let’s do some math.

Beginning on January 1, you have 365 days ahead of you. 104 of these days are weekends. Maybe another 10 are company holidays. Then you have your 10 vacation days and maybe 3 personal days. Let’s round up and say you have 130 days of no work. That’s about 35% of your year that can be spent traveling. Sounds a lot better now, right?

The best way to maximize your vacation days is to look for blocks on the calendar. There are many opportunities to get a 9 day vacation with only 4 vacation days. Sounds great, right?

I’m a visual person, so here’s how I figure out how to optimize my vacation days. Do this exercise with me:

  1. Get out your calendar.
  2. Mark every weekend.
  3. Mark every company holiday.
  4. Look for the larger blocks of time off.

In January I had one long weekend. The only mutual days off I shared with my husband was the end of the month. January definitely wasn’t an optimal travel month!

Now we can make things a little more complicated. Perhaps you have a consistent travel companion, like a spouse or significant other or travel BFF. In a different color marker, you’ll want to do the same for him/her.

Where there are consistencies on the calendar with your schedules, mark those in a third color. Those can be the times that you travel together. This can be especially challenging if you’re in a career that doesn’t work the typical M-F 9-5 schedule, like my husband. Getting time off at the same time can be rare. And some careers only get their schedule only a few months in advance.

February is full of fantastic travel opportunities: a long weekend over President’s day, shared weekends with my husband, and I’ll be out of town in Texas on a work trip!

Also mark any major events: weddings, parties, or obligations that you need to be home for.

This is a simple exercise, but it’s amazing how your brain will reprocess the information when it’s visually presented. When you do this for the entire year, you’re better able to see when you have long weekends, company holidays, and blocks of time off to travel. 

For example, over Thanksgiving I can have 9 days off by only using 3 vacation days. That’s how you vacation hack. That’s how you optimize your vacation days. 

And when you look ahead at these opportunities for optimization, you can take action to plan for those travels.

You Might Also Like

%d bloggers like this: