Out of PTO? Here’s How to Travel Without Using Vacation Days

Whether you have spent all your paid time off or your business does not offer it, you do not need it to go on vacation. Instead, there are some practical things you can do to make that trip happen without taking much time off from work – if any at all. You will relax by the pool and sip your favorite drink in no time.

Do you need another reason to go on the much-needed vacation? Studies suggest that you will be even happier after returning from a short trip than you would be after a long trip. In addition, vacations can help give you increased mental motivation when you return to work.

Before you completely give up on vacation, we will tell you some ways to travel this summer when you have limited time or money left over.

Get more tools to work through your vacation

Taking your work with you while your family enjoys vacationing can sound soul-crushing, not to mention counterproductive. But if you absolutely have to work, you can at least get the most out of it by working from home somewhere else. A sea view strikes the back of your colleague’s head every day.

Pay for a plan to hotspot your phone. It’s worth the money to be in an environment that eases your mood and you can stop the subscription when you return. Bring an external battery pack to keep your devices running if the lounge chair sockets are restricted. A screen reduction can help you see what you are doing in bright sunshine.

Make sure you know how to work with your business VPN so you can access your files. If you have important meetings that you can not miss, this is what video chat apps like Zoom or Loose is for. When the sun goes down, you will really be able to enjoy the local flavor, and then stay the weekend and really dive in.

woman using a laptop on a porch.

Airbnbs can make your business trip feel like a vacation.


Do not stay in a hotel for your next business trip

You already know you can piggyback vacation days before or after a business trip, but consider booking an Airbnb for Work instead of staying at a hotel – provided your business allows it.

You are guaranteed Wi-Fi, a 24-hour access lock and extra space to take your family or travel companion to local dinners. An Airbnb will have a more homely personality than an anonymous hotel room, and you can extend your stay through the weekend – you will of course have to pay for the extra days.

Stack your hours to buy multiple days

If you do not have much vacation, talk to your manager about working extra hours during the week – two extra hours each day, a Saturday shift or even a vacation – like July 4th or Labor Day – to “buy” one day that fits your itinerary.

Your boss may be more open if you can stack your extra hours around a deadline. Remember, you are not asking for overtime pay, just time instead.

Someone who takes a picture of mountains and a lake

A road trip to a new destination is a great way to make a vacation out of the blue.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

Make Insta-worthy miniture

On a budget? No problem. Take the stay route and use apps like Eventbrite to check out local events and free concerts taking place nearby.

Or choose a place on the map and see what adventure awaits you, bring lunch, blankets, one of these top coolers and something to read for an impromptu picnic somewhere new. You can also choose a new activity or destination every night for a week to perform after work. You may not be “going” anywhere, but you’ll still get a thrill – and new adventure – to show off your Instagram following. Check out Roadtrippers to make your short rides feel more spontaneous.

Give yourself a budget so you feel entitled to spend money – try the Tripcoin app for iPhone and the Trabee Pocket for Android and iPhone. Overall, it saves you money as you do not have to pay for airline tickets or hotel.

a rocky area with a waterfall leading to a small body of water

Hidden places like this can be miles down the road.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

Apps help manage weekend trips

Traveling on the weekends is a proven way to get some downtime, and you may be surprised at how much ground you can cover in a few days if you are particularly motivated (or how much you can relax).

If you are flexible about dates, an app like Hopper can predict when hotel and air fares will be the cheapest. If there are more tracks at the moment, Hotel Tonight will find you hotel deals at the last minute.

Do you want to put miles on someone else’s car instead of your own? Turo is typically cheaper than most rental companies and you choose the car you want to drive. In addition, you get on the road faster because you do not have to drive to the nearest airport to pick it up.


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