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Vacation Saving

April 26, 2010

I have little trouble saving cash to cover my vacations.  I was planning on saving several hundred a month to cover our big honeymoon trip this fall.  The trouble I have is saving my accrued vacation days at work.

I get two weeks paid vacation a year.  Depending on your perspective, this is either stingy (if you are from France or anywhere that has more generous vacation) or wonderful (if you don’t get any).  I have a hard time with it — it is a full week less than my last job, and I can easily use up to half of it on several little trips through the year.   Which leaves almost nothing for a bigger trip.

With the wedding, I’ve pretty much drained my balance, which makes me nervous about my plans for a long trip to Europe this fall.  I’ll have roughly 32 hours accumulated by the time the ideal timeframe comes up.  That is only 4 days!

There are a few things I can do:

  • Plan it over labor day holiday
  • Utilize weekends
  • Carefully utilize flex time
  • Take some time unpaid
  • Shorten the trip

Our other option is waiting LONGER.  This will mean that we will probably chose a new destination (my plans definitely require summer or early fall).  If we wait until February (or even December-ish), we can go to Patagonia instead!

I hate that the most significant factor in planning a vacation is not money, but time!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Becca permalink
    April 26, 2010 10:28 am

    I constantly have the same problem–for me, taking trips or having the occasional day off is really important and I am constantly right on the cusp of not having enough vacation. I ended up going into vacation debt for a trip to Ireland and taking leave without pay for an unanticipated extra day (read: missed flight) around Christmas. Still, it is worth the amount of travel I get to do!

    So, uh, yeah, no suggestions, just commiseration. 🙂

  2. April 26, 2010 11:19 am

    It’s always time huh?! I worked for myself for awhile and still do during the summer. People tend to assume that will make things easier in terms of time. And while there is definitely more flexibility, if I don’t work I don’t make any money.

    When I first got a job with vacation days, I really tried to save them. I only used them as needed, try to hoard them. However, as I get a little old (a grand of 27 today in fact), I’ve realized I need to sometimes just use them to take a stay-cation. Just like Becca said, just a day off.

    Now that I’m completely off topic, back to your dilemma. It’s great that you might be able to use some flex time. Honestly, if you are going far away, I’d wait until you had a good week saved up so you can really enjoy your trip.

  3. April 26, 2010 11:29 am

    Jordan and I can have a hard time balancing because he gets two weeks and I get three….and really – we want to take our vacation at the same time.

  4. Bonnie permalink
    April 26, 2010 11:33 am

    I would say that if you can afford to take some extra time unpaid–and it’s not going to create weirdness at work–then I would do that maybe. I’ve been at my job for a million years (well, 7.5) so i get 23 days of vacation a year–and believe me, it’s excrutiating to think that if i started somewhere new that I might only have say, 10 days. I feel for you. If I could give you some of mine, I would! 🙂 One of my pet peeves are these people who’ve worked somewhere for like 30 years and have 5 or 6 weeks of vacation. They’re such workaholics/no fun people that they only take 2 or 3 weeks of that (and that’s because they’re forced to) and then roll over the rest. I HATE that. How is that fair?

    • Sp permalink*
      April 26, 2010 12:35 pm

      Yeah — I’m not sure how frowned upon unpaid days off are. That really is my only concern with taking them at this point.

      If I had 6 weeks of vacation… that would be fabulous. I also changed companies after 2 years, so even reaching the 5 year milestone is going to take FOREVER. It’s so painful that I’d almost consider switching companies over it. Seriously.

  5. April 26, 2010 4:19 pm

    Bummer. I have leave banked (worked PT during my degree and never really took any time off) and so many trips I wanna do, but no money. Damn that BF.

  6. April 26, 2010 7:43 pm

    I do have to admit, I have a sweet deal when it comes to vacation time. I am a teacher and I have a good amount of time off in the summer (although not as much as people think). However, it is extremely difficult to plan a vacation during the school year when some rates are lower. I usually have to go at peak travel times and pay peak prices.

  7. April 26, 2010 10:22 pm

    I also get 2 weeks paid, then a few personal days. But I understand.. it’s so difficult to plan for a BIG trip (which to me says at least a full-week in the area, and if you add in travel time it can easily be 10 days or 2 weeks), and still have a few days here and there for long weekends or smaller trips.

    I’ve been to parts of Argentine Patagonia – it’s beautiful and I absolutely want to go back. The further south you go in Patagonia, the more expensive it gets because only the Europeans and Americans tend to be able to afford traveling in those areas. If you go to the fjords at the southern-most tip of the world (Tierra Del Fuego), the prices can be astronomical. But I’m SURE it’d be the experience of a lifetime.

    Do blog about it if you go!! Congrats on your wedding, btw. 🙂

  8. April 27, 2010 6:08 am

    Talk to your manager about unpaid leave. My managers were cool with it, I think they just felt bad for me.

    I was always in the same situation when I lived in CA. Every trip to see my family required a week or more of time off, and when you only get 2 weeks, that’s a lot!

    • April 27, 2010 10:33 pm

      I think I will do that — I personally feel a little odd about it for whatever reason. And I can squeeze something in without taking unpaid leave, but it will be much harder. Like someone said below it seems to indicate I don’t value my job. But at the same time, OF COURSE I’d rather be on vacation than at the office (and they must know that) and is it really a fault to value it to the point of being willing to pay for it?

  9. Melissa permalink
    April 27, 2010 7:23 pm

    I am in the same situation. My manager is pretty flexible when it comes to taking off a couple hours early on a Friday, so I try to squeeze in early afternoon flights on Friday. My company is also open to us going up to a week negative on vacation, however, taking unpaid leave is generally frowned upon because it shows we’d rather be elsewhere and are willing to give up our salary for it.

    I’m currently three years from an extra week, so in the meantime, I chart my vacation time out and make the best of holiday weekends.

  10. Jess permalink
    April 29, 2010 3:37 am

    I’m in Australia and I get six and a half paid weeks a year. If you work full time, your employer is legally obligated to give you four weeks, but I work public holidays so I get more.

    I could NEVER survive with two!

    • May 1, 2010 10:13 pm

      I’m sure you could SURVIVE!

      My grad student friends were bragging about their paid vacation time just the other day, and I wanted to be like “YES, but you get paid so much less, so it really isn’t the same!” In the US, 2 weeks is fairly normal for starting – but I still think it is crap.

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