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5 Ways to Use Your Vacation Hours

For many of us working full-time jobs with benefits, we earn paid vacation hours. Depending on the profession, these vacation hours typically equate to eighty hours or more for the year.

Did you know that 55% of American workers did not use all of their vacation days in 2015? That was 658 million vacation days that went unused. Don’t let that be you! You earn those days off and deserve to take them.

Sometimes employees use their paid time off to spend time with family during the holidays, travel for pleasure, enjoy time off during the summer, attend graduations, and/or celebrate birthdays.

Others have vacation hours they don’t quite know how to use, simply because there are so many ways to utilize paid time off.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to use your paid time off from work, look no further. GenTwenty has some fresh tips for you. Here are five ways to use your vacation hours.

1. Enjoy a staycation. 

Sometimes the most satisfying way to spend your vacation hours is by staying home. You get paid to stay at your own house for a week.

It’s a great way to use your paid time off because it gives you a chance to catch up on chores around the house, run errands, and/or binge-watch a new television show.

Related: The Staycation: Your Time at Home Was Never Sweeter

The time off leaves no more excuses for you to avoid doing laundry, painting the house, gardening, registering your vehicle, or any other miscellaneous chores you’ve been meaning to do.

Plus, you can crash on your couch and not feel guilty. After all, you’re getting paid to relax. How great is that?

[clickToTweet tweet=”55% of Americans don’t use all of their paid vacation time leave 658 million paid days off on the table.” quote=”55% of Americans don’t use all of their paid vacation time leave 658 million paid days off on the table.”]

2. Tour your state. 

There’s something to be said for traveling in your home state. Sometimes when we think about travel, we assume it has to be international. Not always! It can be really fun and worthwhile to travel in your own state.

Consider checking out local landmarks. Maybe your state is known for its museums, lighthouses, beaches, or statues. Try a new diner in town or hike up one of your state’s well-known mountains. Stay at a local Bed ‘n Breakfast or visit your state’s parks. You might discover how scenic, fun, and exciting your state really is!

3. Travel to a U.S. state on your bucket list. 

Have you always dreamed of traveling to islands of Hawaii? How about seeing the Grand Canyon in Arizona? Or maybe your heart is set on the beaches of Florida? Pick a state that you’ve had your sights set on and travel there.

If money allows, spend a week visiting a U.S. state of your choice. There are affordable ways to travel, such as renting an Airbnb for a few nights or looking at travel deals on Groupon.

Related: 5 National Parks To See Before You Die

There are so many amazing landmarks and places to see in our own country. Do your research to book a trip!

4. Travel overseas. 

Whether you’ve never used your passport in your lifetime or you’ve been overseas before, traveling internationally is always a great use of your vacation time.

There are so many affordable ways to book trips abroad. Deals through Norwegian Air offer low fare flights to Ireland, Scotland, and the like. You can also find deals on cruises to destinations like the Caribbean for reasonable rates.

If traveling to another country appeals to you, research some destinations you’d consider visiting and go from there. Depending on the time of year, you might find great deals!

5. Go on a getaway. 

If you really want to put your vacation hours to good use, consider going on a specific getaway. Some ideas include writing retreats, fishing trips, camps, and the like.

Some people rent RVs and drive to a specified destination. Others go on a hunting trip with their friends. Sometimes groups of people pitch in to rent a house for an extended stay on a beach, a lake, or in the woods.

Getaways come in all forms, so try to figure out what type of trip you’re looking to go on and how many people should be involved. Going on a specified getaway is a great way to utilize paid time off.

Paid vacation hours through work are a great benefit for employees. Whether you want to save them to attend specific events like birthdays and graduations, or you want to splurge on a week’s stay somewhere, the choice is yours.

As a tip, always make sure you plan ahead. Make sure your boss doesn’t need you to work when you’re planning on utilizing paid time off. Assess when the high and low season of your job is. As long as you’re work is covered while you’re gone, take your vacation hours and put them to good use. We all need a break now and then!

How do you use your vacation hours? Share in the comments below!

About the Author

Rachael Warren (Tulipano)

Rachael is a University of Southern Maine graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Sociology. She remotely works full-time as a Senior Content Marketing Specialist for Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. In her leisure time, Rachael enjoys traveling with her husband, finding the next Netflix series to binge, and taking too many photos of her dogs Jax and Kai. Rachael is obsessed with chapstick, favors the Oxford comma, and is a proud Mainer. You'll likely find her exploring New England + beyond.