The Holidays present the gainfully employed with extended periods of days off from work. But don’t go home for the holidays, go abroad and stay abroad for a really long time. Here’s how to turn three vacation days into 11.
Usual Vacation Periods
Most American businesses give holidays off and the last couple of years the days have fallen conveniently for salary employees. Most businesses give employees days off for Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday and Friday of November. Regardless of religion, most businesses also give Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as well.
This year, the latter four days fall on Monday and Tuesdays which are ideal. They create short work weeks and normal weekends reduce the amount of time off that an employee might take off.
The best news for most salary employees is that Americans rarely take all of their days off in a given year this particular schedule is ideal. For those that face use it or lose it scenarios with their vacation time, having three days left at the end of the year can really add up. For example, those that want to spend a lot of time away, flying out on Friday, December 21st and returning January 2nd will only require three days off but will deliver an extended travel period of 11 days in a row off.
If you’re one of the lucky few who has rollover vacation days (shame on you, you should use them all every year – you earned it), add another three to the start of 2019 and enjoy a full 16 days off! My family has frequently taken advantage of this extended opportunity to travel to Asia where journeys are long and adjustments for time zone differences may require more effort.
The same applies in a shorter sense to Thanksgiving. If you’re near the East Coast fly to Europe. Load factors are low (read: flights are cheaper) and adding just one extra day (Wednesday prior) for example can get you on a flight out Tuesday night spending four and a half quality days across the pond.
Flying Convenient Times Are Expensive
The busiest travel day of the year is the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving and the Sunday following is also expensive. But flying Thursday and Monday tend to be cheaper, Tuesday costs even less. Around Christmas, the Friday night (21st) and Saturday (22nd) prior will be expensive for US destinations. But flying abroad will be cheaper than usual and flying on the holidays are typically bargain prices. Flying out on the 24th and returning on the 1st will also give you access to greater levels of award flights as does the 5th of January and beyond.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
The concept is simple: Fly when others don’t want to.
Despite this obvious outcome, every year we help people try and get to where they want to go with limited time away. The key to getting what you want at a great price is to be more flexible. The majority of people slip away the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, that’s an agreed outcome. Why not fly the morning of Thanksgiving and come back Monday or Tuesday afterward? If you’re going to take Wednesday off, maybe even Wednesday and Monday (look at you!) it’s the same amount of vacation days if you take them Monday and Tuesday.
Many people that live away from their families spend this time getting home. Sometimes we do too. But it’s really hard to pass up 5-6 or 11-16 completely excusable days off, especially when you have to save so few to achieve it.
Nothing Is Getting Done At The Office Anyway
With the exception of end-of-year financials, nothing is getting done at the office during this period. So many other people take some of these days off that productivity is limited. How many out-of-office replies do you get during this week? Meeting with clients? Probably not for the same reasons. Besides, their heads aren’t in the game. No one is doing big deals on December 27th, and if they are, it’s likely a one-off.
How many days do you take off around the holidays? Do you travel home or abroad, and if abroad, where do you go? Do you have any secrets to share?