The Facts: Why Should You Plan for Vacation Now?
With Americans leaving 658 million vacation days on the table each year, you can’t afford not to plan your time off. Research conducted by Project: Time Off, an initiative to encourage Americans to use all of their vacation days, shows taking time off is associated with not only increased happiness in general and at home, but also less stress and higher productivity and performance levels at work. Additionally, time off is linked to improved mental and physical health and better relationships.
The first step to reaping these benefits may seem obvious: make time to plan how you’ll use your vacation time. According to Project: Time Off, 51 percent of Americans who planned their vacations took all of their allotted time off work, whereas only 39 percent of non-planners did the same.
To get you started, here’s a guide to help you plan the most important days of this year — your vacation days!
How to Plan a Vacation: Your Step-by-Step Guide
1. Determine Your Vacation Benefits
First, confirm your paid time off or vacation benefits with your manager or human resources department. Vacation benefits can change each year, so double-check and plan accordingly.
2. Skim Your Calendar
Determine office holidays. You may want to consider adding a few days off right before or after to turn a long weekend into a full-on vacation.
Then take note of any big office projects or personal commitments you know will be coming down the pike later in the year. Whether it’s a must-attend office retreat or your niece’s first birthday party, planning ahead will ensure that you won’t miss any special moments or use previous commitments as an excuse to forgo taking vacations.
Tip: Can’t review your calendar right now? Set a 30-minute appointment for later this week to sit down and determine what days/weeks look best for taking vacation.
3. Brainstorm and Select Your Destination
Ask yourself: Where do I see myself on vacation in 2017? Think about the type of experience you want — whether it’s a beach escape, an urban tour or an outdoor adventure.
Also, consider your travel companions and trip duration. Who you travel with will affect the type of vacation you take as well as your budget. Families may want to find an affordable destination that offers something for everyone, whereas couples seeking a romantic escape may be more willing to splurge on an all-inclusive package at a high-end resort.