how to maximize vacation days + how to maximize pto

Creating a healthy work-life balance that includes travel is essential for me in a demanding work environment. That is why I prioritize day trips, long weekends, and extended vacations at least once a month. As someone who travels while working full-time, I do this by maximizing vacation time.

According to Forbes, the average American worker gets 11 days of annual leave, increasing to 15 days of PTO after five years of service. The good news is you can utilize the power of federal holidays and take advantage of your vacation days to go on three-day weekend trips and other types of extended breaks.

If you’re wondering how your coworker always seems to be on PTO traveling to new destinations, in this post, I’ll share a PTO hack on how to maximize your vacation days in 2024 to get as much as a nine-day vacation. Note that this strategic approach using the following holiday dates assumes you work a traditional Monday-Friday job in the US.

how to maximize vacation days + how to maximize pto

How to Maximize Vacation Days in 2024: Check Your Work Calendar

The first thing to do when learning how to maximize your vacation time next year is to look at your overall work schedule for the upcoming year. There are 11 National Public Holidays in the U.S. Combining these days with your PTO and weekends will allow you to maximize your PTO.

  • New Year’s Day: Monday, January 1st, 2024
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Monday, January 15th, 2024
  • Presidents’ Day: Monday, February 19th, 2024
  • Memorial Day: Monday, May 27th, 2024
  • Juneteenth: Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
  • Independence Day: Thursday, July 4th, 2024
  • Labor Day: Monday, September 2nd, 2024
  • Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Monday, October 14th, 2024
  • Veteran’s Day: Monday, November 11th, 2024
  • Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 28th, 2024
  • Christmas Day: Wednesday, December 25th, 2024

Below is an example of how to maximize your PTO days in 2024 by combining vacation time with weekends and major holidays.

Depending on the company and/or industry, days like Good Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Veteran’s Day may or may not be included

You can play around with dates leading to the bank holidays or weekends based on your allotted time and job schedule to best suit your travel needs.

how to maximize vacation days + how to maximize pto
An Extended Memorial Day Weekend in Cuba

January (New Year’s Day & Martin Luther King Day)

  • Mon, Jan 1: Take 2 PTO days (Jan 2 & 3) for 5 days off (Dec 30-Jan 3)
  • Mon, Jan 16: Take 2 PTO days (Jan 12 & 16) for 5 days off (Jan 12-16)

February (Presidents’ Day)

  • Mon, Feb 19: Take 1 PTO day (Feb 16 or 20) for 4 days off (Feb 16-19)

March (Good Friday)

  • Fri, March 29: Take 4 PTO Days (March 25-28) for 9 days off (March 23-31)

May (Memorial Day)

  • Mon, May 27: Take 4 PTO days (May 28-31) for 9 days off (May 25-June 2)

June (Juneteenth)

  • Weds, June 19th: Take 4 PTO days (June 17-8, & June 20-21) for 9 days off (June 15-June 23)

July (Independence Day)

  • Thurs, July 4: Take 4 PTO days (July 1-3, & 5) for 9 days off (June 29-July 7)

September (Labor Day)

  • Mon, Sept 2: Take 2 PTO days (Aug 30 & Sept 3) for 5 days off (Aug 30-Sept 3)

October (Columbus Day/ Indigenous Peoples’ Day)

  • Mon, Oct 14: Take 4 PTO days (15-18) for 9 days off (Oct 12-20)

November (Veteran’s Day & Thanksgiving)

  • Mon, Nov 11: Take 1 PTO day (Nov 8) for 4 days off (Nov 8-11)
  • Thurs, Nov 28: Take 1 PTO day (Nov 29) for 5 days off (Nov 28-Dec 2)

December (Christmas)

  • Weds, Dec 25: Take 6 PTO days (Dec 23-24, 26-27 & 30-31) for 12 days off (Dec 21-Jan 1)
how to maximize vacation days + how to maximize pto
Spending MLK Day Weekend in Tulum, Mexico

As you can see, turning those 10-15 days of vacation into a year filled with unforgettable experiences and much-needed relaxation is possible without taking business trips or sacrificing work commitments. Whether it be for a ski trip or island hopping to exotic beaches, I have learned how to maximize my PTO with careful planning for domestic and international trips to Atlanta, Toronto, Barcelona, Lisbon, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, and more.

With the rise of remote work, you can add extra days to your trip or work in different locations if you have a reliable internet connection and it is approved in your company’s remote work policy.

By combining long weekends and strategically planning time off, you can find time to create a well-balanced year of travel that includes professional growth and personal enjoyment. Using these effective tips to travel during shoulder season also gives you the advantage of lower travel costs and avoiding large crowds at specific travel destinations. Remember, your vacation days are for you to use, so invest them wisely.

If you found this post about how to maximize vacation days in 2024 helpful, share it with your social community and pin it for future reference.

Work less, explore more! Learn how to maximize vacation days in 2024 and get the most out of your paid time off with this simple PTO hack

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Do you have tips on how to maximize your vacation time? Leave them in the comments below.

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