Vacations are important for avoiding burnout and keeping yourself happy and productive. However, it can be hard to find the time to break away from work if you have a long list of things to do. When it comes to vacations, most people find the “when” more difficult to decide than the “where.”
The unfortunate truth is, there is never going to be a “best time to take vacation from work.” There will always be more work to do, so if you sit around and wait for a perfect opportunity, you’re going to be waiting for a while.
Fortunately, there are things you can keep in mind that will help you pinpoint the best time to take a vacation from work.
The first thing you need to consider about taking time off work is obviously your work schedule. No matter where you work, there’s a good chance that there are times that are busier than others. If you work in retail, for example, you may find that trying to take a vacation in November or early December could earn you a bad reputation among your coworkers for leaving them to fend off the holiday shoppers without you. If you work in an area with lots of tourism, the summertime is probably one of your busiest times of the year. Each different industry, and each job within those industries, will have unique schedules.
If you’re planning on looking for a new job, you may want to consider using the time between jobs to plan a vacation. If you can afford to miss a paycheck or two, you could utilize that time to take as long of a vacation as you need. Once you start your new job, you likely won’t be able to take significant time off for six months or more, so you might as well relax while you have the chance!
If you aren’t planning on switching jobs any time soon, or if you can’t afford to miss a paycheck, it is still a good idea to fit a break in between major projects. Most often, the best time to take a vacation from work is after a project has been completed, so you can enjoy a stress-free vacation knowing you won’t have to scramble to catch up when you return to work.
Just like how each job has busier seasons, each vacation spot has times where it’s busier than other times. If you plan on going to a water park during your vacation, you obviously wouldn’t want it to be cold outside. If you travel to a tourist destination during its peak season, you’ll find it overwhelmingly packed with other vacationers like yourself. This is typically the time in which a location is considered the most desirable to visit, either because the weather is perfect or because of local festivities that provide lots of interesting attractions for visitors. However, going anywhere during its peak season means you’re going to spend lots of time waiting in line, and prices are likely to be much higher than other times of the year.
Alternatively, if you go during the off season, prices will likely be lower, and you probably won’t have to wait on other people to see any attractions. Vacationing during off season comes with its fair share of problems, though. Usually, the weather is poor, and there is much less to see and do.
The trick to finding the right time to travel is to aim for what’s known as the “shoulder season,” which is the period between the off and peak seasons. That way, you can still get a great vacation, but without all the crowds of people.
If you’re taking classes, or you have children in school, you’re probably looking forward to using spring break to take your vacation, but beware. Spring break generally falls on the same week for almost all schools, so you aren’t going to be the only one with that idea. That doesn’t mean you can’t take your vacation during spring break, but most of the popular locations are going to be packed.
If you do end up using your spring break to get a breath of fresh air, try finding a place that is less iconic. Instead of going to Key West, for example, try going to one of the other beautiful islands in the Florida Keys that are less often visited by tourists.
No matter what kind of vacation you are planning, the weather is bound to play a large role. Obviously, you do not want to plan a trip to the beach only to have it storming the entire time. However, if you try to plan your vacation too far in advance, you may find that the weather is near impossible to predict. You need to find a balance between giving your employer enough time to plan around your absence, and giving yourself a chance to plan around poor weather conditions.
One good way of ensuring that the weather will be fair during your vacation is to avoid planning it for a time when the weather is unpredictable. A vacation on a beach in August might sound absolutely perfect for you until you remember that August falls in hurricane season for southern coastal states. By keeping weather patterns in mind, you can avoid having your carefully planned vacation ruined by an untimely storm.
Most people can expect to get national holidays off, which are basically free vacation days that you can build around. If you know that you’re going to get memorial day off, you could use four of your vacation days to get the rest of the week off. If you use the weekends, then you could get a longer vacation and easily turn your four vacation days into a nine-day trip!
Another option for using vacation time is to take off the days between Christmas and New Years if you don’t already have that. It’s a great time to spend with friends and family. However, if you want to take this time off, you should make sure to give your employer plenty of notice, since you won’t be the only person wanting to spend the holidays at home.
Well, there is no exact answer. Any time can be the best time, it just depends on who you are and where you work. Clearly, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding when to take your vacation. Take some time to think about what times work best for you, your employer, and the place you want to go. It may end up seeming like there is no good time to break away, but that just means you need to make time to hone your skills for success! If you keep putting off your vacation, you may end up never taking it!