Canada is usually at the top of the list for the best of the best, except for this one thing…
Canadians are legally entitled to just two weeks (10 days) of paid vacation per year…Meanwhile in Scotland, some of our family members get 5-6 weeks paid holiday a year. It’s very unfortunate, because we are all hard working people and probably over-worked at times.
It can be challenging trying to find a destination that isn’t too far, but still a bucket-list place. Jamie and I went to Thailand 2 years ago, and I took my two weeks of vacation, which means Christmas time was challenging as I didn’t have any vacation days left. However, I work for great people, so they were really accommodating.
When we did actually arrive in Thailand we had a lot of travel days, going from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, to Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe.
Yes, it was what we wanted, but we ended up losing “vaca time” for travel days. Travelling is very important to me. Everyone should get out there and see the world! But it can definitely be hard for some.
A lot of people also don’t take their vacation days, or they stay home, which is totally fine, but I do hear some excuses on why they can’t see the world…
“I’ll go next year”
“I don’t have time to plan a trip”
“I have no money”
“I can’t travel that far”
Travelling does cost money and requires time to line up with you and your co-workers. However, there are ways to still take time off, relax, and unwind in a new place for a couple of days, or weeks.
Tip: I do recommend looking into getting an AMEX card. You can transfer all of your bills on there and collect points! That way when you do go on vacation, it can help you save some of your money in your bank account!
I’m going to show you how you can maximize your vacation days, so you have no more excuses left in the book.
Plan your days off in advance
This one can be important depending on what kind of job you have and how busy your workplace is. The more time you give your employer the better.
I let my boss know about my vacation plans a couple months in advance!
Prioritize your bucket-list
Perhaps you organize your list and figure out where you want to go and how far these places are. You need to realize that based on your available time off you might have to put some items on the back burner until you have more vacation time. Remember you can always go back!
Vietnam or New Zealand would be rushed if you only did it in 2 weeks, it’s definitely possible to do it, which will keep you wanting more when you leave, however for those places it’s also nice to take your time and not feel rushed! We did New Zealand for 2 weeks, but the weather was pretty bad, which meant we couldn’t do everything we wanted and although it was an amazing trip, it did feel rushed, since we did both islands.
Travelling closer to home is sometimes the way to go. Maybe do a roadtrip that’s not too far. Every hometown has places to see outside of it. Day trips are also fun and spontaneous!
From Toronto you can go to:
– Niagara-On-The-Lake. Filled with SO many wineries! We haven’t even seen them all! My favorite getaway from the city.
– Niagara Falls
– Blue Mountain in Collingwood
– Muskoka (cottage country)
– Buffalo, NY
The list is endless!
You also save a lot of money by sticking to something closer to home. If you’re someone who has children, it also might be perfect for you to stick to a place closer to home, so you can keep your actual travel to a minimum.
Extend your long weekends
Start planning vacation time around the long weekends! If it’s a long weekend on a Monday, see if you can take one day of vacation on that Friday and leave for your trip on Thursday after work. That way you either use 1 day of your vacation, or if you used up all of it, one day without pay shouldn’t hurt you. I think it’s brilliant!
Most holidays fall on Fridays or Mondays for us, which means you only need to use four paid days to get a full week off.
Leave on the weekend
It’s totally possible to take a nine-day holiday and only use five paid vacation days. Make sure two weekends fall during your time off!
For example, if you book your trip from Saturday to the following Sunday, you’ll get nine days worth of travel, four of which fall on the weekend. And, if there happens to be a holiday during that time, you can take a nine-day trip using only four paid days off!
Red eye isn’t so bad
Yes, it’s not always ideal, red eyes can suck, however if it gets you to your destination quicker, why not?
Go on an overnight flight on your last day of work, before your two week vacation officially starts. This way, you’ll arrive at your vacation destination on the morning of your first full day off. wooohoo!
Negotiate more vacation time
If you have been at your workplace for more than 5 years, depending on the company you work for, you should at least have 3 weeks of vacation!
If this is important to you, try to book time for you and your employer to discuss maybe adding an extra week for your paid vacation time in lieu of a salary bump.
Don’t pack too much in
Travelling is important, but also being able to relax and enjoy yourself out of work. When you over-stuff your itinerary, you will get exhausted!
Jamie and I went to 8 different destinations in Vietnam in 3 weeks, I’m very happy we did that, every place was magical, however, I was DEAD.
Packing and unpacking every 2-3 days, was insane and not to mention the travel days to get to point A to point B, can get very overwhelming very quickly.
Be smart, but also see things! Try to organize your itinerary before you leave, that way you can be prepared and know what you will be seeing and what you will be skipping; For the most part, can’t plan everything! 🙂