How to Take the Time Off You’ve Earned

woman laying on the beach

When it comes to vacation days, a lot of people are more talk than walk.

We say we’re dying for a break from work. But according to Expedia’s annual Vacation Deprivation survey, in 2012 the average American left two vacation days on the table.

“We can blame the economy and the job market a little on this,” says human resources consultant Kimberly Roden. When you’re feeling insecure about your job, you want to appear 200% committed to work.

But you’d never pass up one of your paychecks—and you shouldn’t forego days off that are part of your compensation. It’s important for your health and for your sanity. Plus, you’ll be more productive on your return.

Make taking vacation pain-free by drafting your plans now. You will look uber-organized and have plenty of time to book travel. Best of all, you’ll avoid wasting that precious R&R.

  • Budget vacation time so it’s evenly distributed throughout the year.
  • If you’re nervous about committing all your vacation days, leave a couple available for last-minute getaways.
  • Plan vacations around your company’s busiest periods.
  • If you’re worried about coming back to a zillion emails, activate your out of office reply before you leave, so folks know you’ll be out on certain dates, Roden suggests. “It encourages people to reach out to you for anything they need prior to vacation.”

Trip advisor. How likely are you to take all your vacation days this year?

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