It’s time to talk vacation budgeting. How much time off of work do you typically get? I know in corporate America, the typical is two weeks, maybe 8 holidays, and [almost] every weekend off. Having only two weeks of vacation myself, I realized that if I wanted to travel more, I would have to start vacation budgeting… no, not just money (although, yes, saving money for trips is super important), but I would have to start finding ways to utilize my time off of work.
Let’s do that math real quick. There are 365 days in a year within 52 weeks. So, while yes, you’ve got 10 days off of work, plus 8 days of holidays, that’ll get you to 18 days. Seems super low right? Well now take your weekend days so 2 and multiply by that 52 weeks… that’s 104 days, making a total time off per year of 122 days a year you are free to do whatever you’d like!
Vacation budgeting seems so easy now right?
Okay, don’t get me wrong, it’s complete BS that North Americans have to settle for 2 measly weeks off work a year, especially with the rest of the western world taking 5 or more, but rather than begrudging those two weeks off, throwing up your hands and deciding traveling is for the retired, think again! Taking advantage of the weekends, and long holiday weekends, can help you have more vacation than you even expected. Pretty awesome, right?
For example, you want to take a nice, long trip to Italy. Okay, well Italy is loads of fun to go to in May, it’s just before high season in mid-summer, so you may find some good deals. Also, almost everyone has Memorial Day off. Want to take a getaway to Italy for 10 days and only take off 5 from work? Take the Friday before the long weekend off and the whole following week and boom. From Friday until Monday of the following week: 10 days off, 5 actual days of vacation used. Which means you’ve got 5 more days left to spend… maybe you’d like to see Paris in the fall? Maybe you’d like to spend Christmas in the Maldives? Honestly, it’s up to you where you go, but know that you can travel more with less time off.
Another amazing thing to do? Even if you only have a weekend to spare, or maybe a long weekend, you can still have mini getaways to awesome places! That’s when you grab the ol’ atlas (or, like, Google Maps), and start seeing how far away cool, new places are. The potential for adventure is literally endless. You can even explore the cheapest flights for the weekend in the Google Flights tool.
When I first moved up to Cleveland, Ohio, I had no idea the travel potential the location held. I started searching Google Maps, determined to find a way to take some mini getaways. That’s when I realized there were amazing places within a reasonable drive away: Toronto- 5 hours, Chicago- 6 hours, NYC- 7 hours, DC- 6 hours, Pittsburgh- 2 hours, and seriously the list goes on and on. Even if you’re out west, the amount of national parks is unreal to drive to- take advantage of it!
Did I mention that even exploring your own town is a lot of fun? Explore your own city and find amazing, new places! Looking at your town from a tourist’s perspective can be a lot of fun and extremely insightful.
So start vacation budgeting and using that time off work!
Because it’s time to take back our time off of work. And trust me, I get it. I used to basically do nothing on my weekends. I figured if I expended my energy all week long at work, I should relax all weekend. So, I watched TV, I maybe exercised, and I sometimes went out. But when I realized it wasn’t adding to my passion for travel, I started reengineering my weekends. I stopped lounging on my couch for the entire weekend, either nursing a hangover or watching Netflix. Trust me, you need weekends of relaxation too, but now is the time to start getting out of your apartment and start exploring! You’ll feel way more fulfilled than you would finishing a pint of ice cream, re-watching episodes of Gossip Girl.
This year alone, I utilized my weekends to go to Chicago, Asheville (twice), Toronto, Lexington, and D.C.- and it’s only halfway through the year! Did I mention I still haven’t used my 10 days of actual vacation yet? Even just taking one weekend a month and starting to explore is worth it. A new experience will leave you feeling energized and ready for the week ahead! So start your vacation budgeting now! And take your well deserved days back!
Where will you go with all of your time? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to share and subscribe!