You have hard earned PTO days piling up at work, you’re feeling burnt out, and you deserve a break… so take the stress out of planning a vacation and schedule your staycation today! Staycations are wonderful because you don’t have to plan them far in advance, worry about getting a good hotel deal or booking a flight that fits in your price range. Never forget that Paid Time Off is part of your salary and work contract, and therefore your personal hours to spend how you wish; you wouldn’t give part of your paycheck back to your company, so why would you leave money on the table and not spend your PTO hours!? Below are 7 simple steps you can follow to plan your (easy and free!) personalized staycation.
1. Figure out how many PTO hours you have to spend
Knowing how many vacation days you let pile up is key to getting yourself on track to using your earned time off. If you don’t know, ask your HR person where you can find how many hours you have accrued – and plan to keep a regular eye on it! You can also make your own tracking chart for the year to ensure you’re planning in advance to cash in your salaried vacation days.
2. Determine how many days to take off
Based on how many vacation days you have piling up to use, decide if you’ll be taking a long weekend or a full week off. If you start worrying about your workload, remember two things: the work will always be there, but time is flying by and there is no better moment than the present to take care of yourself… and that you are literally throwing money away by not using your PTO.
3. Decide on your staycation vibe
There is no shame in the staycation game! They are YOUR personal paid time off hours to spend however you wish – whether you are traveling across the globe, working on your side hustle, or staying home to sleep in. Take a deep breath and a few minutes to decide what vibes you need from your PTO. Setting clear expectations or goals will ensure you enjoy your time off, and come back to the office feeling refreshed.
4. Prep for PTO work coverage
Many fear that staying home will lead to checking work emails and falling into their usual routine. Set expectations prior to starting your staycation with yourself, family, friends, and especially with your co-workers. Your company and colleagues need to be respectful and realize that although you won’t be on PTO with no cell service in a different country, it certainly doesn’t mean you’re available to answer any quick questions. They are a business – they will figure it out! Prepare your team in advance for you to be fully out of the office, then shut down the work computer and remove the emails from your phone. You’re the only one who can do that for you, so take control over your time off and follow your own rules.
5. Plan your staycation schedule
Or not! This is your Paid Time Off – so plan to use it as you please. If you have plans to be productive, writing out your daily goals will help keep you on track – but don’t forget to schedule some downtime to relax. If you need to catch up on sleep, be lazy for once, or just get out and have some fun, there’s no need to create a daily plan, but definitely put on your tourist hat check out Groupon or events in your area for fun things to head to during your staycation time.
6. Prepare your home
Make sure your house or apartment is feeling the staycation vibes too! Since you don’t have to pack a suitcase and you’re not spending extra money on flights, spruce up your home with your favorite indulgences – whether that means buying flowers, stocking up on your favorite wine, or hiring a cleaner before your staycation begins. Knowing what staycation vibes you are aiming for will help you figure out how to best prepare to get maximum PTO enjoyment.
7. Act like a tourist
Mindset will be everything to make the most out of your staycation. The night that you wrap up work and your PTO time begins – set aside time at home to sit down, breathe, regroup, and meditate on your vibe goals for the week. Let any work worries or fears go, deactivate work apps from your phone, put on that Hawaiian shirt, pour yourself a glass of wine, and act like a tourist that just got off a plane in your hometown!
Congratulations will be in order once you take these 7 steps to planning your staycation and spending your vacation time – you may even inspire a few of your grumpy, burnt out co-workers to take their time off too! Take control and empower yourself to enjoy this time off you have been working your ass off so long for; soak in that fact that you are avoiding airport security lines, the joys of packing and unpacking a suitcase, and just revel in your personal hours getting paid to do whatever you desire to do as a hometown tourist. Don’t forget to send me a postcard!