5 Tips to Maximize your PTO to Travel More
The beginning of the year is a perfect time to plan your travel goals for the new year. Typically, I will look at my vacation time, then go through the locations on my list, and break it down from there. Usually, by the end of the year I would have completed 4-5 international trips to new countries and multiple domestic trips which always lead to questions from friends, family, and followers: how do we travel so much? Do you work? How much vacation time do you have? And the favorite of all “You never work, you are ALWAYS on vacation!”
The answer is I work full-time and I am an entrepreneur, which means I am always working! The difference is, I make my travels a priority. At my workplace, I make it clear that traveling is a priority for me. I am also grateful to have others on my team who also enjoy traveling as much as I do. At the end of the year, I don’t leave any vacation time to roll over for the next year. Vacation and personal time are meant to be used; I do that and you should too! If you are having a hard time finding time to travel here are some tips to help maximize your time in 2019 and crush your travel goals!
Enjoying my 20th country traveled & my 5th country traveled in 2018!
Make it a priority
Have you seen the quote “People make time for who and WHAT they want to make time for”? Well, that goes for traveling too. If you really have a desire to travel, you should make time for it and include it in your yearly plans and goals. Save all your PTO (Paid Time Off) and use it for travels. I never use a vacation or personal day to stay home, when I can use it to travel. Weekends and evenings are made to stay home to rest, not vacation days! That is again, if traveling is part of your goals.
Traveling on an evening flight or red-eye
One of the many ways to maximize your PTO at work and stretch your vacation time is to depart for your destination after work. Travel time can take up a lot of your PTO, but it doesn’t have to if you plan accordingly. Depending on your destination there are plenty of evening and red-eye flights that can get you there the same day. This allows you an entire full day to enjoy your vacation without having to worry about travel time.
As an example, I recently traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico with my mother on a 4-day trip and I only used two days of vacation time. We departed from Boston on Wednesday at 10:50 PM and arrived on Thursday at 3:30 AM. I was still able to go to work on Wednesday, go home after work and head to the airport around 8 PM. I didn’t use any of my PTO as I didn’t travel during work hours. This strategy allowed us to enjoy PR on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I only used the time for Thursday and Friday.
Enjoying San Juan, PR with my mother.
If you are like me you are very fortunate to have 11 paid holidays throughout the year *insert dance move*. If you do, I encourage you to use those days to travel. You can easily take a 4-day trip during a holiday weekend by only using 1 day of PTO. Do keep in mind that this works best for travel destinations that are a 6hr flight away or less.
For example, I will travel to Iceland during President’s day weekend and I am only using 1 vacation day. I leave out of Boston on Thursday at 6:20 PM on a 6hr flight and I arrive in Iceland at 4:50 AM (GMT). I will have 4 full days in Iceland: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Monday is a holiday for me (President’s Day). I leave Iceland at 3:50 PM (GMT) and arrive in Boston at 5:00 PM (EST).
In this example, I combined two tips to maximize my time. I am traveling on an evening flight and during a holiday weekend where I have Monday off.
Company conferences are a great way to maximize your time to travel. Depending on the location of the conference you can stay an extra few days for a personal vacation on company dollars. Some organizations will allow you to extend your stay after the conference. This is a time and affordability tip.
Let me explain, last year I traveled to Orlando, Florida for a 3-day conference for work. The conference was Monday-Wednesday. I spent 5 days (Th-Mon) in Cartagena, I only used 2 days (Thursday and Friday) of PTO. I left Orlando on Wednesday evening and arrived in Cartagena the same night (3hr flight). I returned on Monday afternoon, which was a holiday (Memorial Day). I didn’t have to pay for my return flight. I only paid for my flight to Cartagena from Orlando. Still confused? Here’s a step by step breakdown:
I booked a flight from Boston to Orlando for Monday AM, Orlando to Cartagena for Wednesday evening (after the conference, tip 2), and Cartagena to Boston for Monday- Memorial Day.
Enjoying Cartagena, Colombia solo after a 3-day conference in Orlando, Florida.
The cost of my flight from Cartagena to Boston was the same for a flight from Orlando to Boston. Therefore, the company I went to the training for approved it and reimbursed me. This example, combined different tips such as traveling at night, holidays, and conferences to maximize my PTO.
PTO is an earned benefit; Use it!
The last tip is to simply use your time! We all have PTO from our employer that we earn and it is for you to use how you see fit. Use it to travel if you are looking to travel more. According to Travel Agent Central approximately only 35% of Americans use their PTO, well, I know we are apart of this percentage! I am grateful for my 4 weeks of vacation and 6 days of personal days and I use them all unapologetically every year. I may have more than you, but whatever you have, use the tips listed above to help you maximize your time!
Until Next Time,
Steph & Vannie