How to Take A Vacation Without Actually Taking One

You need a vacation. Heck, you deserve a vacation. But millions of Americans arenít cashing out on their paid vacation days. What gives?

We live in a work-obsessed culture where taking a vacation is seen as a sign of weakness. The vast majority of†the American workplace seems to discourage, even look down upon, taking time off. According to a survey from Project Time Off, many Americans are using less and less paid vacation days due to the rise of this “vacation shaming.” In fact, 55 percent of Americans did not use all of their available paid vacation days in 2015. This is likely due to the fact that 6 out of 10 Americans do not feel that their boss supports them taking their paid time off.

Even with an accommodating boss, many of us fear†that we†will come back to loads of excess work after a vacation because no one else can do our†job. And if your job can be handled in your absence, that might just make you seem replaceable and put your career in jeopardy in the future.

And if that isn’t enough, traditional American vacations (like tropical getaways or cruises) are expensive and many of us simply cannot afford to splurge.

With so much working against them, it’s hard to †believe that†vacations are so important for your health! They not only boost your energy, focus, and happiness, but they drain your stress and anxiety like nothing else can. We all need and deserve vacations for our own wellness. If you are one of the millions of Americans who forgo your full yearly vacation (or if you donít have paid vacation days), you should know that there are ways to reap the benefits of time-off without actually taking extra time off.

If youíre short on time:†Keep it to microvacations

If you have so much work to do that you simply cannot fathom taking a vacation, take a microvacation. According to Project Time Off, 4 out of 5 Americans would actually choose multiple small vacations a year over one longer vacation. For your microvacations, plan on doing something fun one weekend out of each month.

Whether that means camping for 2 nights in May, skiing for 2 days in February or visiting an old college friend in Vermont for a weekend reunion in June, taking microvacations is a good way to fit in some down time and honest fun for those of us who cannot afford to take a week or two off from work. Albeit†small, microvacations can help to reset your stress levels and general life outlook. Plus, planning one special weekend a month adds up to 24-36 vacation days a year! Even if you miss a month or two, every little bit helps.

Woman traveling by boat at sunset among the islands.

If youíre short on cash: Plan a staycation

You really donít need to leave home to take a vacation. Take one weekend and go off-the-grid. If you can afford an AirBnB locally for the weekend (or enjoy camping), do it. Otherwise, shut down computers, laptops, phones and tablets. Tidy up your quarters, lay out some fresh sheets and flowers, and stay at home. Tell your closest family and friends about your plans so that you wonít be needlessly interrupted. Then, just spend the entire weekend doing things you absolutely love doing.

Whether that is snuggling into a soft blanket and enjoying a good book or getting out to ride your mountain bike on some distant singletrack, do what you want to do. Vacations arenít about a change in location, after all. They are about a change in mindset. Skip out on your expensive almond milk lattes and spend your pennies doing something fun for yourself once in a while.

Everyone needs a vacation to reset on a regular basis. Use up your vacation days if you can, but if you can’t, there are many creative ways to reap the health benefits of a vacation without actually taking one.

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Carolyn Bateman
Carolyn Bateman2 years ago

For the first time in my life I just took five weeks off and I still feel I could use some more time! We work so hard and technology makes work a 24/7 situation. I love the idea of taking mini vacations throughout the year and plan to try to do it so that I won't still feel burnt out after having five weeks off. (I worked too hard getting ready to take the holiday so the first week was just recovery. :-))

Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

M. M.
M. M2 years ago

TYFS.... and these comments with scam advertising are soooo annoying!!!

Teresa Antela
Teresa Antela2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Jacklyn Walker
.2 years ago

I was recently amazed to learn that paid annual vacations are NOT the norm in USA - Don't employers realise you end up with a mentally and physically refreshed worker IF you do? - Michael Moore of Bowling for Columbine fame has a new movie called 'Where To Invade Next'. He looks at various countries and how they treat people. In Italy they have 2hrs paid lunch breaks & 6 weeks paid annual leave. Franch children have a 4 course meal for lunch at the same cost as US schools. This goes up to University level (a friends daughter teaches at a Paris Uni) - you are what you eat - healthy bidy, healthy mind - And it looks at health conditions that are free, etc. One Euro Uni has several US student because it's free and it doesn't matter the country of origin as it benifits the world when more people are well educated. I urge people to whatch it. - In Australia we all get 4 weeks paid annual leave (that's not in the movie as it's mainly Europe) - I think Tunisia was the only non Euro country - it has the best female health system, possibley in the world.and free - smile

william Miller
william Miller2 years ago