Dear Young Professionals,
You should be using all of your vacation days to travel.
Everyone in the U.S. is constantly wondering why no feels like they've taken any vacation. Note: it's because they haven't.
In fact, an analysis by Project: Time Off revealed that millennials are not only shunning paid time off, they’re shaming those who dare to take their leave.
That is absurd.
Let's not forget that the United States is the only developed country that does not require employees to take their paid time off, and already has tragically meager vacation time compared to the rest of the world. The average number paid days off (including national holidays) in the US is 16. France requires 30. Austria gives 35.
Here are some reasons you should be using all of your paid time off (PTO) to travel.
It isn’t “cool” to not take vacation
Bragging about having tons of unused paid time off is like bragging about not opening all of your Christmas gifts (?! C'mon!). What is even less cool is shaming co-workers and friends about taking theirs. First of all, it's rude. Secondly, it creates an environment in which people feel bad about taking time for themselves – which is not only harmful to their health, but harmful to overall society.
And if you are worried about not actually having the work bandwidth to take time off, that’s silly. There are certainly ways to work efficiently enough to plan for a week or two away from the office. Hell, the French manage to take a whole month of August off. And you can bet there are much busier people than you who take at least one major vacation every year.
Your job will be there when you get back
If you're good at your job, cashing in on your earned vacation days is not going make your boss reconsider your employment status. It costs a lot more to hire someone new. In fact, Project: Time Off found that workers who take all of their vacation days are more likely to be promoted than people who don't, which is probably closely related to the next two points.
Taking a vacation will actually increase your productivity and performance
If you don't take your vacation, you are doing yourself a disservice. There is alot of scientific evidence validating the claim that taking vacation time to recharge has a positive effect on employees. Aka it's scientifically proven that you are more valuable to your company when you take a break every now and again.
Travel makes you more interesting
You know what no one wants to talk about? How many nights you stayed late at the office. Alternatively, most people love to chat about their hobbies, interests, and especially travel. Not only do the personal experiences that come with travel open your mind, but having a war chest of stories to talk about at your next cocktail party will make you a more interesting person to talk to (and if you’re single, perhaps even earn you a date or two). Even if you have nothing else in common, being able to relate to the awe that someone felt seeing the pyramids or the frustration of getting swindled by a Roman taxi driver is enough to feel a connection with someone else.
It will help you network
Travel introduces you to new people and forces you to have conversations with all different types of characters. Your world opens up exponentially with each person you meet and when you go abroad, you are guaranteed to mix and mingle with some awesome people from around the world.
it will make you happier
Various studies have shown that travel makes people more creative, open-minded, trusting, and better problem-solvers – all of which are sure to make anyone happier.
It will never be as easy to travel as it is now
You can plan your own trips around the world using the many resources that are available to you through the World Wide Web, or take advantage of companies like FTLO Travel, where we offer small group trips exclusively for young professionals, and make it super easy to just pack up and go on a cultural, adventurous trip.
For $2,500, you can join an 8-day trip to Europe staying in great hotels, eating incredible food, and participating in unique activities.
Just think, when you have a family, that same $2,500 might only cover your plane tickets. And forget about the cooking classes and the sailing happy hours. And the kite boarding lessons. And the late night beach bonfires. And...so on.
The moral of the story is: take your earned vacation. You owe it to yourself. And to your co-workers.