How to Plan Your Time Off for the Year

P:TO Takeaway

Planning sounds so simple, yet a majority of Americans let vacation days go unused.


CONFIRM YOUR TIME OFF BENEFITS. To get started, look up your company’s time off benefits. Your benefits may have changed from last year as many organizations offer additional days based on your years of service. Make sure anyone you are traveling with also takes stock of their vacation days.

REVIEW YOUR CALENDAR FOR THE YEAR. It’s important to see when you could actually take a vacation. Consider:

  • Holidays during the year. If your office is closed for a holiday, could you add an extra day off and turn a one-day holiday into four-day weekend vacation?
  • Workloads and coworkers. Are you thinking of getting away during a particularly busy season at work? Are you considering time off when a member of your team will already be out on vacation? Start thinking now about how to ensure shared responsibilities are covered – and consider how to sync up with your coworkers on handling vacation during the year.
  • Family events and other important dates. When will your kids have time off from school? Are there other events–weddings, family reunions, or birthdays–that you should include in planning your time off?

GET TO DREAMING. Now, the fun part. What are you going to cross off your bucket list this year? Where have you been wanting to travel? What are you dying to try? You don’t necessarily need to know exactly what you’ll do with every vacation day—just block the calendar now and give yourself the opportunity.  Use our vacation planning tool below to get started.

SHARE WITH YOUR MANAGER FOR APPROVAL. Once you have your desired schedule together, share it with your team for consideration and manager for approval. But don’t be anxious: nearly all senior business leaders believe vacation time benefits their employees and the company. By getting your time off on their radar now, it will be easier to take the time off when the day comes. After you’ve received approval, block the days as out of office on your calendar and any master calendar your team may share.

Need a little extra help?

Try our Vacation Planning Tool to take all the guesswork out of planning.