14 July, 2015

How to take endless Vacations

Recently, my colleague commented on my endless vacation trips:
"People take off from work and go for vacations,
You take off from vacations and come to work".

Normally, I manage 3 trips a year. This year,  I am blessed to have time and energy to experience some of the most exciting times of my life.

But, since i have been asked by so many, as to how i manage to take vacations, here is my deal.

My simple rule is "priority". You know your needs and responsibilities.

If you are like an average full time employee with benefits covered, you would get 2-3 weeks paid time off a year.  Which trust me is hell lot of time on free paycheck.

Most of my friends who are foreign exports, struggle between taking vacation and going home. For these folks, i would suggest, either make your home trips alternating year or shorten the stay. I have traveled home for 1 week, 2 weeks and managed to save 1week for local trips. I have a friend who visits home every year for three weeks, works overtime for one week and gets two week paid time off. -So its about your priority.

Other, thing i see with my friends is getting stuck at long weekends for vacations. This is a huge deal in terms of budget, travel time and freedom for leisure time amidst the crowd. If you would like to take advantage of these weekends, find places where you can connect with family or friends (that would help you save/share budget for food/board)

So, assuming you are not traveling home, which gives you 3weeks.
 Let's set 1week  for social events, or planned/unplanned events etc...
Now,  you are left with 2weeks, which is 14 days.
I have 12 months on my calendar, so even if i spare one day each month for a vacation, i would still be left with 2 extra days. There, i said it!
You can vacation every single month. Pick a monday or friday and you got a long weekend every month for a year!!! 

Another thing, use your sick leaves. Most work places would not warrant for a doctor's note if you take one or two days at a stretch.  You need to recondition your mind and body even if it is not sick.

Vacations need not be just to destinations, you could very well vacation at home. Gift yourself "Me time", "family time",  a body massage or spa day in local resort. Camp in your backyard, party at pool, there are endless options to pamper yourselves.

Now, comes budget.
If exploring places is your priority like mine, you should start pitching $ for your explorations.
We save or devote part of our income on mortgage/rent, car insurance, health insurance, gym every month. So, i have made a travel donation every paycheck or every three paychecks for my upcoming trips. This keeps me motivated and on track of my finances.

Use your credit card benefits(American express covers rental car insurance), enroll in flight mileage programs, wholesale retails memberships (Sam's, Bj's, Costco)- to your advantage.
I strongly recommend using these travel apps : Google flights, Kayak, Airfarewatchdog, Hoteltonight, Wunderlist, Instagram.

Life is short but enough if lived right and cherished.
That's how i do it!
So, when do you start?

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