Travel Sabbatical: How to Recharge, Avoid Burn Out, and Take a Break to Travel
9 July 2021
Young man and woman on hike overlooking Brazilian coastline from mountain

What to do if you’re feeling burnt out? Take a break! And travel, of course. A lot of people don’t realize how much stress they are under and the toll it is taking on their mental health until they take a break from work. It’s important to remember that your mental state influences everything in your life so take time for yourself and get away from those negative thoughts. Traveling can be just what you need to recharge and put things into perspective again. The post will give some tips on where to go depending on what type of traveler you are as well as some helpful information about traveling while being mindful of mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression.

So, you’ve committed to taking some time off this year – now how do you convince your boss to let you take it? Here are the top three tips for requesting a break from work.

Figure Out How Much PTO You Currently Have

The first step in requesting a break is to know your company’s policies regarding time off. Do they offer unlimited vacation? How many weeks of paid vacation do they allow per year? First, go online and look up the information about your particular employer. Second, think about what you may lose if you take more time off than what is available to you now – health care, 401K matching or any other benefits that will be affected by taking a longer amount of time away from work. For starters, talk with someone who works at the organization and see if there are benefits for using all available vacation days including sick days and holidays that don’t get applied toward an employee’s overall amount of holiday allowance.

Here is an example of things you might want to say: “My availability for work between now and the end of the year will be limited due to my desire to take a longer amount of time off. I’d like to request [X #] X amount of days off from this date until Y date. I’m not taking vacation days that I’ve already accrued, and I would like them applied toward this time off period.” Get approval in writing so there are no questions left unanswered. The conversation should be holistic – don’t just stick with your usual PTO policies when considering having more vacation time available; also consider what else it may cost you personally by taking extended time away from work.

Find Out What the Company Policy is for Requesting More Time Off

Let’s say your company has a limited amount of PTO available, but you want to take more time off than the policy allows. In this case, meet with your personnel department and explain why it is important that you be allowed more vacation days. People are usually willing to work with their employees if there is a valid reason or need for extra leave, but sometimes agreeing on what realistic expectations can be difficult. If planning an extended vacation over the holidays seems like grounds for reasonable exception, then have hope! You might end up finding that one person will rule in your favor and give you some wiggle room where other staff members won’t even consider it for fear of getting themselves into trouble later on.

Take a realistic look at your workload and determine which days would create the most work for others if they had to cover your position while you were away. If this is a concern in your organization, then be sure to mention it when speaking with personnel and plan changes accordingly. Sometimes there will not be much flexibility on the employer’s part in terms of allowing additional time off, but if you are being well-prepared for the meeting and coming in with backup plans for covering duties when you’re out, this can make all the difference.

Create an Action Plan on How to Negotiate More PTO Based on These Factors

What are some steps that have worked for other people who want more time off? If unlimited vacation means working extra hours without pay, then save up money to buy your time off. It may take many extra hours working at a sacrifice to take time off, but at least you’ll be able to plan the vacation you want without breaking the bank. Having company-provided PTO is great if it’s unlimited during a certain time of year – for example, most companies allow four weeks of paid vacation over Christmas every year. If this is the case, consider taking all of your available days and asking for more when they roll around again next year (if they’re still generous with that policy).

If your employer allows one or two weeks of vacation (or whatever amount), then give yourself a break by planning vacations in shorter terms than typical long weekends . Whether that means using multiple days of PTO to get away for a week or two at a time, take advantage of planning shorter vacations so that you still have your full amount left over for another occasion.

Good luck!

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