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Financial Fitness: Using those days off

Are you someone who wastes your vacation days? Don't be!
Posted at 5:53 AM, Feb 08, 2024

IDAHO — Ever feel burned out from too much work? Or perhaps now that we've made it through January, it's time to start thinking about a vacation? We're looking at the best ways to maximize your time off.

Long winter weeks have many of us, like Joel Caithemer, dreaming of getting away.

"Sometimes you gotta go when you can," said Caithemer.

Nicole Landis wishes she had time for a beach or island trip right now.

"Just to get out of the gloom and get some sunshine," said Landis.

But every year, many of us let vacation time go unused. Pew Research reports nearly half of American workers use less time off than their employer offers, and that lost time off has serious negative effects. Human resource system "I-Solved" found that 65 percent of employees experienced burnout last yea

"Everybody needs a break. I think your work benefits when you have time to recharge," says travel expert Casey Carr.

Casey Carr is the vice president of Sharon Carr Travel. He encourages his employees to use all their vacation time, even if they don't leave town.

"You don't have to go jump on a cruise on your time off. You can just kick it at home with your family," says Carr.

He put together a calendar of the best ways to make the most of your time off.

"Almost every year it's possible to have up to 50 days," says Carr.

That's assuming you earn 15 days of paid vacation, and get federal holidays off. You can extend your time off by scheduling PTO around holidays and lengthening your weekends into mini vacations.

"Throughout the year it's possible to make three- and four-day weekends almost any month," says Carr.

Casey says you won't regret taking your time off strategically.

"Use it all, use every second of it. Go on a vacation, go see another part of the world," says Carr.

Nathaniel Wells does just that, and afterward, it makes him appreciate being home again.

"I go away all the time, I travel a lot. But I love getting back to the city," said Wells.