After the brutally cold and snow winter, the days are finally getting longer and the warm weather is making its gradual return. As Memorial Day creeps up on us, so does the first day of summer.
Prom season is upon us and graduation is around the corner. This time of year is a busy, but exciting time all around. Families mostly look forward to summer for the numerous recreation opportunities that abound.
The problem is, a lot of families still won’t be able to afford a vacation. According to a new survey, 1-in-4 Americans can’t afford to go on a vacation, even if they have paid vacation days. The situation is so frustrating, that only 36% of people said they don’t even plan on using all their days this year. 13% said they won’t use any days at all.
It’s not all about being unable to afford a trip, either. In a lot of cases, the economy is booming and businesses are experiencing a labor shortage. If there’s not enough help, then workers may decide to take advantage of the need and work through their vacation time to earn more money. Some strongly feel falling behind at work will cost them in the end.
But not taking a vacation is as good as leaving money on the table. While a lot of Americans seem reluctant to take vacations, they’re very important for a variety of reasons. If you get paid to take days off, then you should do it!
Vacations, even long weekends, are great for your health, will prevent burnout, and can increase your productivity. The problem is, these benefits only work if you actually take a break from your work.
61% of people claimed to do work while they were on vacation and reported all sorts of ill effects, such as higher levels of exhaustion and burnout, compared to people who took a real break they considered “highly recuperative”, even to the point of feeling more satisfied with their lives.
Whiling taking a vacation is highly suggested, if you’re the 1-in-4 who simply can’t afford a vacation, here are a few ways you can save throughout the year to ensure you get some necessary time off:
1) Don’t Choose Heavily Populated Areas
Sometimes, the best places to get away to are off the beaten path. Going on a long weekend camping trip up the road might be best. It gets you out of the office and communing with nature while allowing for family time.
You might consider theme parks or areas where a lot of other people go, but those types of places tend to be expensive to visit. Choosing the right location can save your bundle and have the same desired effect.
2) Plan Your Vacation Well Ahead of Time
Don’t be that person who waits until it’s almost summer to start planning that vacation. If you can plan well ahead of time, it gives you a better chance to save more money knowing what to expect. Also, you can book tickets cheaper the further out you go.
3) Use Cash
It might be tempting to put everyone on credit, but that will make the vacation much more expensive than you might realize. Not only will you have to pay the interest, a lot of credit cards have extra fees for using your card away from home. This is especially true if you leave the country. Cash is best so you can budget exactly what you need and not break the bank.
4) It’s Great for Your Health
Again, a lot of people fear taking vacations for a variety of reasons, but usually at a cost of lost production and increased burnout. Scientists discuss the benefits of getting that much needed break and they include better heart health, higher production when you return, better quality of life, and an overall reduction of stress.
Taking a vacation is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Most people who end up skipping it, even if they don’t think they can afford it, often regret it. Even if you can’t afford to leave on a trip, do yourself a favor and find time to relax. You won’t be sorry.