Depending on where you live, summer is likely the shortest season you experience each year. I was born and raised in New England, having lived in Maine for the better part of my life. In my neck of the woods (literally and figuratively) we’re lucky if we have four solid months of summer per year. If you live in a part of the world with weather even remotely like the U.S.’s northeast, you’ll agree that in a quick burst summer comes and goes. It’s a fast-moving time of year and you’ll want to enjoy it before it’s gone.
Are you wondering how you can take advantage of summer, especially if you work full-time? Hey, I get it. Most of us in our mid-to-late twenties are not students anymore. We don’t have summers off. It’s not easy to kick back on the beach with a drink, go out on the boat on the lake, or vacation on a seaside rental for weeks on end. Despite the limitations, consider using a portion of your allotted paid time off (PTO) from work to indulge in a bit of summer before it fades.
Here are four reasons to use your PTO during the summer, and how:
1. Summertime is about enjoyment.
Depending on where you live, you might have been cooped up inside all winter. I can honestly say I spend most of my winter days indoors hiding from the ice and snow piled up outside in Maine. If you deal with cold temperatures and inclement weather most of the year, summer is your chance to get outside! Maybe your office gives you two or three weeks of paid vacation per year. Cash in a few days or even a full week to take advantage of the heat, the long days, and some relaxation.
How? Book a camping trip with some friends and spend a few nights in the woods. S’mores, lake swimming, and kayaking are a few enjoyable camp activities. Or, rent an Airbnb on the ocean for a long weekend where you can go fishing, swimming, and sunbathing. Better yet, go to an outdoor festival, an amusement park, or hike a new trail.
2. Summer is about being in nature.
Collectively, we spend far too much time looking at our phones, tablets, and computers. Think about how many hours you spend on social media and binge-watching Netflix each week. Most of the time, we partake in these activities while indoors.
Use some paid time off to get outside and put the electronics away. Be one with nature and soak up that precious Vitamin D we all need. Spending less time looking at a screen and more time living in the moment is bound to make you feel healthier and happier. Summer is the best time to do this because the weather is superb.
How? Sit outside and read a book while your body soaks in that Vitamin D from the sun. Grill dinner outside and eat while you breathe in that fresh air. Go for a simple walk and stretch your legs. Take your dog on a light jog to get some exercise in and naturally release your endorphins. Even a staycation is still a good enough reason to spend time off of work in the summer.
3. Summer is the nicest time of year to travel.
If you’ve been longing for a vacation and waiting for the right time to take the plunge, summer is the best time to do it! Pretty much anywhere you could possibly dream of going has nice weather in the summer.
Moreover, during the summer basically every restaurant, shop, and activity is going to be open and available because summer is the season for tourists. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a place only to find it was closed for the season because I didn’t go there in the summer. I’ve learned my lesson; summertime is the best time for travel!
How? Go on a cruise to a Caribbean destination where all of the local tourist attractions are in full swing, like snorkeling, horseback riding, or skydiving. Go on a cross-country road trip and checkout all of the sites you’ve only dreamed of seeing. Plan a trip abroad, whether you want to head to Canada, Europe, or Asia.
4. Summer can be a slow time of year.
Of course, not every field has the same ebbs and flows in productivity and demand, but many fields experience lulls during the summer months. If you work in a field where many of your customers are on vacation during the summer, you might find that business moves at a slower pace this time of year.
This is a great reason to take advantage of using your PTO during the summertime. Be out of office when many of your customers are also out of office. This gives you a chance to recharge and gear up for the next busy season at work. Be away when business is slow and enjoy the minor break.
How? Spend time with your kids while they are on summer vacation from school. Book a trip for you and your partner to go on a mini getaway for one-on-one time. Take care of projects around the house, like cleaning out your basement or landscaping your yard. Catch up on your list of books you’ve been wanting to read.
When it comes to summertime activities, the possibilities are just about endless. Swimming, camping, sunbathing, reading, traveling, treating yourself to an ice cream cone, and hiking are only some of the ways you can spend your summer. For many, summer is the shortest time of year.
Take advantage by taking some of your PTO from work and putting it to good use by vacationing this summer. Do it! You deserve it.
What is your idea of the perfect summer vacation? Share in the comments!