May 16, 2016

Hey, Americans! Get Traveling!

"Even if their employers offered unlimited vacation days, most [Americans] wouldn't take any more time off than they do now."

As a self-described travel addict enthusiast, reading those words is nigh unto blasphemy to me. I've never had a problem using all the paid time off my employer has given and have even taken unpaid leave for travel plans on occasion. But the fact that so many Americans leave their precious paid time off sitting on the table is unfathomable to me. Compared to counterparts in other first world countries, we Americans actually operate under a severe deficit of paid days off. In Germany employers are required to give 20 paid days off to their employees (in addition to holidays), but even that's not as generous a policy as found in Andorra, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, and Panama, where 30 days is the mandated minimum time off.

Now this post isn't intended to champion a political stance of forcing employers to give more PTO. Although I would love for employers to offer more generous vacation benefits, I would not advocate government intervention to accomplish this. No, this post is meant as a wake up call to those of you who haven't been cashing in on your paid time off!

Hey, Americans! It's time to start traveling! Let's debunk your excuses for not going.

Excuse #1: I don't have the money.
Many of you may say that your financial situation is the primary reason you don't use your vacation days. You can't afford to take big trips abroad, so why bother even taking the time off? You'd rather save the PTO for a "rainy day" or for that big trip you've been planning for ages but never quite seem to actually book. If this is your situation, you need to get your financial house in order. Right now your money (or lack thereof) is dictating your life instead of you telling your money where you want it to go. Buckle down and get your finances straight; eliminate frivolous spending and pay off your debts so you can start traveling! And who says traveling is only about international trips? As Americans, we are fortunate to be living in a very diverse country in terms of culture, nature, and attractions. Beat feet in your own backyard!

Psst! If you missed my Turning Pennies Into Memories series, check it out!

Westminster Cathedral selfie when touring alone
Excuse #2: I don't have anyone to travel with me.
Who says you can't travel alone? Many of the bloggers I follow are young, single females who almost always travel alone and have a blast doing so! You don't have to be an extrovert to make a few acquaintances while on the road, and you shouldn't let a lack of a significant other or bestie be the reason to miss out on making your travel dreams a reality. Lately it's become almost a travel fashion statement to have at least one solo travel experience under your belt! While I dearly enjoy the travel memories I have with my husband, I've also enjoyed my solo excursions both for regional trips and solo sightseeing in London (twice) while my husband was busy with his business trip duties.

Fodor's has a cool list of 10 Reasons to Travel Alone that's worth reading! 

Living the good life in Oia, Santorini, Greece
Excuse #3: Even though my work gives me time off, I feel like I can't really be away from my job long enough for a real trip.
Bottom line is that if your employer gives paid time-off, use it. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and if you don't take advantage of vacation days to actually take a vacation, there's a good chance you'll get burned out and be a less valuable employee. On top of that, who said you have to take weeks off at a time in order to travel? Take extended weekends as a tourist in your own backyard! Or take a long weekend to just one city in western Europe or visit an island in the Caribbean. Normally I would recommend a minimum of 10 days in Europe just to justify the cost of plane tickets, but if you catch a good deal on airfare, you could pick one city in the UK and tour many of the sites in just a few days. In my first trip to London I was able to tour Westminster Abbey, hear Big Ben chime across the Thames, see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, eat a (overpriced, but delicious) hot dog in St. James Park, pose with the lions at Trafalgar Square, pop into the British Museum to gawk at the Rosetta Stone, climb to the top of St Paul's Cathedral for breathtaking views of London, and explore the Tower of London - all in only 48 hours! Where there's a will, there's a way!

WOWAir and Norwegian Air offer some great airfare from the East Coast to select destinations in Europe!

So have I convinced you yet? Where are your 2016 travels going to take you?

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We’re looking for the next travel crazy, social media savvy, bigger-than-life personality to become the new host and new face of the #TravelTuesday link-up! Nominations for yourself or others are still being accepted prior to a vote which will be open for all to participate in selecting a new host!

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Please send your nominations along with a brief explanation as to why you would be a great #TravelTuesday anchor host to any of the three co-hosts listed below:

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Please send your nominations along with a brief explanation as to why you would be a great #TravelTuesday anchor host to any of the three co-hosts listed below:

Diana: dianadegzz (at)
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Travel Tuesday Link up and new Host search

My #TravelTuesday Faves:
I loved Kids Travel Books' post about how to get up close and personal with STONEHENGE. I've not yet been, but as we travel lovers like to say, it's on the list!
If you missed Christy Swags' post on Prague, check it out asap! If those pictures don't convince you to book a trip to Prague, then I guess you're just a hopeless case. ;)

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  1. I would do anything for this country to have better time off policies! I always use more time off than I'm paid for and can't imagine being a person who left mine unused. Even if you don't have the funds to do any actual long-distance travel, people could at least take the days and do a stay-cation! It's beyond me!

  2. Ditto! I've never had my time off go to waste and doubt that I'll ever be in that situation. But I do know people personally who end up cashing in their PTO. It's mind-boggling.

  3. Joanna - Me-And-My-Itchy-FeetMay 17, 2016

    I can't believe people do that... But maybe that is a system/cultural difference here. We get 26 days PTO every year and if you don't use your limit, it gets transferred to the following year (but you have to use them up till the end of September of the following year). I have also heard that the best time off work is three weeks - cause during the first week your mind usually still is in the work mode, and during your last week before returning to work, you're also already thinking about work. I like it that you pointed out the excuses, cause many people have similar ones (no matter the country they live in).

  4. When I first got out of school and started working, I would take 4-day trips to London over 3-day weekends. Leave on Thursday night, wake up Friday morning in London, stay till Monday. It was the best use of limited vacation days and always the greatest adventure. I even did Copenhagen like that! It actually works, so I don't ever buy those excuses from people, lol!!

  5. I'm one of those people who would complain about #3. My work doesn't actually give me time off (I'm a nanny), and so being gone too long can actually be a real threat. Otherwise, I completely agree with your list. I think Americans should travel more. I feel like we don't do ourselves any favors by never exposing ourselves to the great big world around us.

  6. I believe in Brazil they're required to take a whole month off AT ONE TIME. So they can't split it into a week here and a week there. I think that's awesome! Of course as a teacher I get all summer off, but I still definitely use my personal days during the year!

  7. One of our acquaintances last year burned off some of his time off by just staying home. He said he didn't have anyone to travel with, and I so badly wanted to say, "Just go by yourself!" There's too much world to see for me to spend time off at home unless I'm sick! I only have 15 paid days off per year and that includes sick time, too. My husband gets more than that, though, so I usually take unpaid time off. I don't like the government telling people or employers what to do, but I wish employers would take the initiative to improve their time off policies. My current position is the best place I've been at so far for vacation policies. At my last job, some of the upper management rarely took time off, which is both hard on them and sets a bad example for lower level employees. Everyone needs to put their well-being at #1 priority and that includes taking days off!

  8. I can only dream of that much time off! One day when I'm a stay-at-home trophy wife, I'll have that much time off. But it'd be unpaid! :P

  9. excuses, excuses..:) I travel all time, even when I was unemployed:) #travel tuesday

  10. Like this post a lot! I say the same thing, use that time off. Even if your finances are shaky, I think a lot of people have the opportunity to go on a domestic (or even in state) trip. in some way, it is not about the place or about the amount of time. It is about breaking the routine, learning about new places, trying new dishes and meeting new people. It is all about discovery.


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