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The U.S. has one of the highest standards of living in the world; Americans also spend more time at work than most of our counterparts in other countries. So although we are well compensated, we’re also more stressed, less healthy, and spend fewer hours with our loved ones and on leisure.

When you have limited time off, there’s a lot of pressure to do it right—so much pressure that many people skip out on vacation altogether, leaving precious paid time off unused.

Here are some hacks as to how to maximize the limited vacation time:

Plan

Planning is the key. Plan your vacation well in advance. Long weekend travel can be more expensive, if not properly planned but if you book early enough, you can still get some cheap and amazing deals. Also, keep in mind that a long weekend trip can be more than just an extra day on the weekend – you can club that day at the beginning/end of a week off to save a vacation day, or Use successive weekends to turn five days off into a nine-day vacation. Include the two weekends on either end of a Monday through Friday vacation and you’ll almost double your time off.

Travel close to home

Travelling closer to home ensures less travel time. Fewer flight hours saves your body on the jet lag and you are fresh to explore on your vacation. Short vacation trips are best for road trips. Drive down into your short vacation. You will come back with a truckload of memories for a lifetime.

Use your paid vacation

Plan ahead. Keep track of vacation days and ask for time off as soon as you know when you want to go away. Request unpaid time off by asking for an extra week or two of time away can be a great solution to the vacation crunch. A most effective technique is by pairing the weekday holiday with your paid vacation days in the same week.

Prioritize

Prioritize the items on your must-do list. Maybe you can’t do a month-long trip by train through Western Europe, but you can definitely do a weeklong trip to Ireland, London, Paris or Rome. The key is to decide which destinations and activities are most important to you, and then begin to plan around those.

Extend business trips

it’s often not difficult to extend a business trip by a day or two or to extend it into a weekend to give you time to explore the destination you’re already in for business or to maybe add in a stopover somewhere else before you head home.

Take The Red-Eye and Save Yourself a Day of Traveling

Red eyes are great especially if you’re going anywhere with a significant time change. That means get on a plane, sleep, and when you wake up, you’re there! Take red-eye (overnight) flight and come back to work on Monday morning.

Travel on Holidays

May seem like a nightmare but sometimes you get amazing deals during the holiday season. Combine it with a weekend and your leave days and voila! you have a long Vacation Time!

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