Vacation

You Have Vacation Days. Use Them.

Author: Michelle Ioannou, Career Advice

I am going to give you the best piece of career advice I can give. Well, one of the best pieces — use your paid time off. You’re given it for a reason. It’s yours. Use it.

Taking vacation time — whether it be to go on an actual vacation or not — is critical. And yet, many millennials aren’t doing this, and are scared to do this.

According to a report from August 2016, millennials want to be seen as a “work martyr,” and believe never taking time off from work will impress their bosses. Oh. Stop this way of thinking now, please. Thanks.

Do you know what will really impress your boss? Coming back to work with a fresh perspective and new ideas to help your company grow. Do you know how you do this? By getting away from work for a while.

Be a work martyr by giving your job your all — your energy, your focus and your best ideas — not by running yourself down by being at work non-stop. Take a day off. Take days off.

Millennials, we need to relax. We need to remember to care for ourselves. And getting out of the office is a way of doing this. You’re most likely given paid time off at your job. Use this. Get away. Do something that makes you smile.

If you can’t tell, I am a firm advocate of using your vacation time. It’s mine, and I will not let it go to waste. In fact, as I write this, I just got back from a vacation to the Caribbean a couple of days ago, and I feel so refreshed. When I’m at work, I’m looking at things in a new light, and can see new opportunities to grow in ways I didn’t before my trip. I’m not staring at the clock waiting for 5 p.m., and I’m remembering to be grateful for my job.

Is my ranting not enough to convince you to send that e-mail to your boss about needing a couple of days off?

Here are some more benefits:

You’ll be more productive
Well yes, it’s common sense that you’re less productive when you feel run down. But, there’s also research that proves that more frequent vacations boosts job productivity and job performance.

Need more research to back this up? Back in 2006, Ernst & Young found that for every extra 10 hours of vacation time their employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved by eight percent. Another surprising find? Those that took the extra vacation time were less likely to leave the firm than others.

It’s good for your health
U.S. News and World Report spoke to primary care physician Natasha Withers, who stated “Rest, relaxation, and stress reduction are very important for people’s well-being and health. This can be accomplished through daily activities, such as exercise and meditation, but vacation is an important part of this as well.”

Well then, doctor’s orders, right? Vacation is an important part of giving you rest and relaxation, things that contribute to your health. And we all know that you can’t work if you’re not healthy.

Avoid burnout
The last thing you want at work is to burn out, right? That won’t get you anywhere. Stress Management Expert Elizabeth Scott wrote about how employees who took regular time to relax are less likely to burn out at work. This in turn made them more productive in their work. Additionally, she went on to state that research shows that a good vacation will not only leave you stress-free in the moment, but can lead you to having fewer stressful days for at least five weeks later.

If you have paid time off, use it. Take a vacation. Take a staycation. Just get out of the office for a bit. And if you are worried about a vacation breaking the bank, check out these great websites that can help get you on that trip in a more affordable way.

The Internet Has Become a Millennial’s Travel Agent, So Here’s Some Sites to Use

Adulting, Author: Michelle Ioannou

Seriously though — when was the last time you sat in a travel agent’s office to book a vacation? Next question, when was the last time you sat in a travel agent’s office without parents, or someone of an older generation? Final question, have you ever even used a travel agent?

Fun fact of the day for you: according to a Skift survey from March 2015, only 10% of millennials booked their vacations through a travel agent in the prior year. A whopping 84% have never used a travel agent at all.

The world wide web is a glorious place — and one that gives you the freedom to book your own travel. You no longer need to go to a travel agency in person. You can book from the comfort of your own home, while at work, or even on the go. If you have any problems or hesitations, there’s almost always a travel rep’s contact information that you can use. However, for the most part, you can book with just a few clicks of a button, and credit card information of course.

I love vacations. I fully utilize my PTO and believe that everyone should. We all need to get away sometimes to come back fully refreshed and revitalized. Whether that vacation is a domestic one, an escape to a beach somewhere on the beautiful waters of the Caribbean, or to Europe — you deserve it. Go out, see the world and have fun.

Here are some vacation booking site recommendations for you to start with:

 

Cheap Caribbean
Don’t knock the name—this website has been my favorite and the reason why I’m able to frolic down to the Caribbean three times a year. Not only is it extremely easy to use, but you’ll find amazing deals that you won’t think twice to spend the money on. For instance, last summer I went to Punta Cana for a week and stayed at an all-inclusive hotel. With direct airfare (and remember all food and drinks and your hotel stay are included) I paid approximately $1,200. The website even lets you “budget search.” You can input the maximum amount you want to spend total for all travelers, and the number of travelers, and it’ll show you all of the deals at once. As if this wasn’t enough, Cheap Caribbean also has representatives at the airport and usually at the hotel as well, in case you need anything at all. I can go on and on about what an awesome resource this is, but I’ll stop myself.

 

Apple Vacations
I personally haven’t used Apple Vacations but when I was in Cancun last summer, I met a group that did, and had a great experience from booking on the website. Apple Vacations is known to share great deals and you can choose whether you’d like an entire vacation package, only a hotel, or only a flight. In addition to vacationing to the Caribbean, Apple Vacations also allows you to book travel to Hawaii, as well as any ski vacations.

 

Globus
Globus operates in six continents across the globe and hosts over 250 vacation packages. My BFF traveled to Italy last year and calls the trip one of the best experiences of her life, and credits that to Globus. Many of us don’t know where to even start when it comes to booking a larger, international vacation. Globus makes it easy for you to do just that. Their site helps you plan your own vacation, from hotels, to tours, and so much more.

 

Vacations by Kat
If you do still want to use a travel agent, why not use a fellow millennial who understands you? Katerina Johnson loves planning vacations—both for herself and others. Plus, she happens to be my best friend from when we were four years old, so I can wholeheartedly vouch for her, her passion and her dedication to ensuring that you will have the best vacation of your life thanks to her. She specializes in Caribbean vacations, as well as Disney. Seriously though, who wants a headache on a trip to Disney? Kat will take that away from you.

 

Extravagant Travel Corp.
If you still want a travel agent to fuel your vacation planning needs, Deborah Orgel-Gordon of Extravagant Travel is here for you! She specializes in customized concierge services for business or pleasure—if any of that fuels your interest she’s happy to work with you on a one-on-one basis, so please contact her!

 

These are five great places to start. Still a bit confused as to how to begin? I turned to someone who knows a bit more about travel than I do— Amanda Folk, founder of Chasing My Sunshine. She shared some of her go-to suggestions with me whether you’re in need of flights, a hotel stay, or a tour.

Here’s what Amanda had to say were her favorite sites, and why:

Google Flights
I love Google flights because you can find the cheapest flight to a general destination with a general range of dates. This is really good if you are flexible with your locations and time off, you can just follow the sales! I’ve searched “Europe” + “September” + “two weeks” more often than I care to admit.

Runner-up: Skyscanner used to be my go-to, and I still double-check it. I use this if I’m a little more specific with my destination. Let’s say I want to go to Stockholm, Sweden but the flights are outrageous. I can just look for the cheapest European destination listed on Skyscanner and check out connecting flights from there to Stockholm. You can save hundreds of dollars this way!

AirBnB
This is my FAVORITE way to look for places to stay, anywhere. You can find anything from hostel-type housing to an entire house for yourself. The prices are usually much more reasonable than a hotel and nine times out of ten you’ll get more of a “local” experience that everybody craves! If you haven’t used it before, that link gets you $30 off your first stay.

Runner-up: Hotwire is great if you’re looking for a hotel and aren’t too picky about where you’re going to stay. It gives you great rates and a general location, but you won’t find out the name until you book. This has saved me more than once as a wedding guest when booking destination hotel rooms! You can also get rental car deals on there too, which I find super effective.

Free Tours by Foot
Okay, but what are you actually supposed to do once you get there? I LOVE Free Tours by Foot. They’re great to give you the lay of the land and the tour guides are often full of information. Best part? As you might have guessed, the tours are free! You just pay for tip – but don’t skimp! They also have food tours which can be great for lunch. I’ve taken them in my home city, Philadelphia, and learned so much from them even though I’ve lived there for seven years. Highly recommend!

As you can see from above, Amanda definitely knows her stuff. If you love to travel, I highly recommend following her blog and connecting with her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

The Internet Has Become a Millennial’s Travel Agent – So Here’s Some Sites to Use

Adulting, Author: Michelle Ioannou

holiday-vacation-hotel-luxury

 

Seriously though—when was the last time you sat in a travel agent’s office to book a vacation? Next question, when was the last time you sat in a travel agent’s office without parents, or someone of an older generation? Final question, have you ever even used a travel agent?

Fun fact of the day for you: according to a Skift survey from March 2015, only 10% of millennials booked their vacations through a travel agent in the prior year. A whopping 84% have never used a travel agent at all.

The world wide web is a glorious place—and one that gives you the freedom to book your own travel. You no longer need to go to a travel agency in person. You can book from the comfort of your own home, while at work, or even on the go. If you have any problems or hesitations, there’s almost always a travel rep’s contact information that you can use. However, for the most part, you can book with just a few clicks of a button—and credit card information of course.

I love vacations. I fully utilize my PTO and believe that everyone should. We all need to get away sometimes to come back fully refreshed and revitalized. Whether that vacation is a domestic one, an escape to a beach somewhere on the beautiful waters of the Caribbean, or to Europe—you deserve it. Go out, see the world and have fun. Here are some vacation booking site recommendations for you to start with.

Cheap Caribbean
Don’t knock the name—this website has been my favorite and the reason why I’m able to frolic down to the Caribbean three times a year. Not only is it extremely easy to use, but you’ll find amazing deals that you won’t think twice to spend the money on. For instance, last summer I went to Punta Cana for a week and stayed at an all-inclusive hotel. With direct airfare (and remember all food and drinks and your hotel stay are included) I paid approximately $1,200. The website even lets you “budget search.” You can input the maximum amount you want to spend total for all travelers, and the number of travelers, and it’ll show you all of the deals at once. As if this wasn’t enough, Cheap Caribbean also has representatives at the airport and usually at the hotel as well, in case you need anything at all. I can go on and on about what an awesome resource this is, but I’ll stop myself.

Apple Vacations
I personally haven’t used Apple Vacations but when I was in Cancun last summer, I met a group that did, and had a great experience from booking on the website. Apple Vacations is known to share great deals and you can choose whether you’d like an entire vacation package, only a hotel, or only a flight. In addition to vacationing to the Caribbean, Apple Vacations also allows you to book travel to Hawaii, as well as any ski vacations.

Globus
Globus operates in six continents across the globe and hosts over 250 vacation packages. My BFF traveled to Italy last year and calls the trip one of the best experiences of her life, and credits that to Globus. Many of us don’t know where to even start when it comes to booking a larger, international vacation. Globus makes it easy for you to do just that. Their site helps you plan your own vacation, from hotels, to tours, and so much more.

Vacations by Kat
If you do still want to use a travel agent, why not use a fellow millennial who understands you? Katerina Johnson loves planning vacations—both for herself and others. Plus, she happens to be my best friend from when we were four years old, so I can wholeheartedly vouch for her, her passion and her dedication to ensuring that you will have the best vacation of your life thanks to her. She specializes in Caribbean vacations, as well as Disney. Seriously though, who wants a headache on a trip to Disney? Kat will take that away from you.

Extravagant Travel Corp.
If you still want a travel agent to fuel your vacation planning needs, Deborah Orgel-Gordon of Extravagant Travel is here for you! She specializes in customized concierge services for business or pleasure—if any of that fuels your interest she’s happy to work with you on a one-on-one basis, so please contact her!

These are five great places to start. Still a bit confused as to how to begin? I turned to someone who knows a bit more about travel than I do— Amanda Folk, founder of Chasing My Sunshine. She shared some of her go-to suggestions with me whether you’re in need of flights, a hotel stay, or a tour.

Here’s what Amanda had to say were her favorite sites, and why:

Google Flights
I love Google flights because you can find the cheapest flight to a general destination with a general range of dates. This is really good if you are flexible with your locations and time off, you can just follow the sales! I’ve searched “Europe” + “September” + “two weeks” more often than I care to admit.

Runner-up: Skyscanner used to be my go-to, and I still double-check it. I use this if I’m a little more specific with my destination. Let’s say I want to go to Stockholm, Sweden but the flights are outrageous. I can just look for the cheapest European destination listed on Skyscanner and check out connecting flights from there to Stockholm. You can save hundreds of dollars this way!

AirBnB
This is my FAVORITE way to look for places to stay, anywhere. You can find anything from hostel-type housing to an entire house for yourself. The prices are usually much more reasonable than a hotel and nine times out of ten you’ll get more of a “local” experience that everybody craves! If you haven’t used it before, that link gets you $30 off your first stay.

Runner-up: Hotwire is great if you’re looking for a hotel and aren’t too picky about where you’re going to stay. It gives you great rates and a general location, but you won’t find out the name until you book. This has saved me more than once as a wedding guest when booking destination hotel rooms! You can also get rental car deals on there too, which I find super effective.

Free Tours by Foot
Okay, but what are you actually supposed to do once you get there? I LOVE Free Tours by Foot. They’re great to give you the lay of the land and the tour guides are often full of information. Best part? As you might have guessed, the tours are free! You just pay for tip – but don’t skimp! They also have food tours which can be great for lunch. I’ve taken them in my home city, Philadelphia, and learned so much from them even though I’ve lived there for seven years. Highly recommend!

As you can see from above, Amanda definitely knows her stuff. If you love to travel, I highly recommend following her blog and connecting with her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.