How A Vacation Can Earn You A Raise




I’m in the midst of a wonderful two-week staycation from work.  When I initially decided to take these two weeks off, I thought that I would get bored.  Boy, was I wrong.  I have been able to work out, work around the house, and meet my Nephew who was born on Monday (three days after my birthday!).  


A Staycation

Typically, I’d be the first to want to go out of town with this much time off from work, but I am thoroughly enjoying this staycation.  Not being at work has been wonderful and not having to plan a vacation has also been wonderful.  


Earlier this year, I took my first staycation.  We preferred to stay local because my son did not travel well at the time.  That was proven when we drove to my sister-in- law’s graduation.  It probably had something to do with the standstill traffic, but either way, the two-hour car ride was miserable.  


We figure at this point in time that the max we can drive before he becomes too fussy is about 1.5 hours.  I am one of those people that loves to travel and play at the beach, but unfortunately, warm weather is not 1.5 hours away for me.  


So I am home-bound for these two weeks.  But it’s actually been a huge blessing as I’ve been able to really relax.  I still wake up early since my son can’t sleep in past 7 am.  As a result, my days have been pretty productive and packed with playing with my son, spending time with my wife, and even catching up on some leisure reading on my Kindle.  


Week #1

In my opinion, taking one week of vacation is not enough.  In order to totally feel totally recharged, I like to take of two full weeks, if at all possible.  During the first week, I’m still trying to decompress from the stress of work while my brain attempts to flip over to relaxation mode.


Week #2

But, ahh, the second week of vacation.  I finally feel relaxed and no longer have work on the forefront of my mind.  Another positive is that I’m usually ready to get back to work after the second week no matter how amazing the vacation has been.


Losing Vacation Days

I am really fortunate in that my boss encourages me to take my allotted time off each year.  So I can say that in my 10+ years in the government, I have only lost three days, which was my fault because I miscalculated the amount of time I had available.  


After that happened, I said never again and now try to plan out my vacation days far in advance, so I don’t lose track of my vacation days.  However, I know that I’m not the only one that this has happened to.


The average American receives 21.9 days off each year.  However, last year the average American only used 16.2 days.  This means that on average, people give up a week of vacation.  On top of that, 55% of American’s didn’t use all of their vacation days in 2015.


Vacation Benefit: A Raise or Bonus

I know some think that they are too invaluable to take time off from work.  Others are concerned with taking off because of overwhelming workloads and deadlines.  But according to a study done by GfK, employees who take 10 or fewer days of vacation time are less likely to have receive a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took 11 days or more.  


A study completed by Ernst & Young, found that for every additional 10 hours that an employee took for vacation, an employee would be more likely to receive an 8% higher raise the following year.


Vacation Benefit: Health

On top of the monetary benefits of a vacation, according to Centerstone, a nonprofit community-based behavioral health healthcare network, “Vacation helps shrink stress and anxiety while boosting the mental and physical health of the entire family.”  This study completed by UMass found that those who frequently vacationed had “a significant reduction in the risk of death.”


So, not only is it good for your mortality, but it’s also incredibly good for your mental health.  “Leisure, including vacations, contributed to more positive emotions and fewer negative feelings and depression,” as reported by NPR.


Vacation Benefit: Creativity

Finally, evidence suggests that when workers return from vacation, they oftentimes come back with more creative ideas than they had when they left.


So with the New Year coming upon us, don’t be part of the 55% that lose vacation days each year.  Plan out your year to ensure that you are maximizing your time away from the office.


Readers, were you able to maximize your time away from the office this year?  Did you experience any of the benefits laid out in the research above?  Share your thoughts below.

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  1. I’m actually supposed to be off starting today (through the holidays) for a staycation, but now I have to go into work today to handle an issue. Usually I’m good about using all my time off, but this year I’m going to lose a few days. Normally I take all my time but this year has been tricky. I received a large new project at the end of the year, when I had some time saved, and have had to skip some days due to deadlines. Usually my company doesn’t allow time to roll over, but I can make an unofficial request for an exception. Oh well, maybe next year!
    Liz@ChiefMomOfficer recently posted…Restricted Stock – Sell as Vested or Keep?My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Liz!!! That stinks that you have to go into work and handle some issues close to the holidays. Hopefully it can be resolved quickly so you can spend some quality time with your family 🙂

      Hopefully your unofficial request gets approved!!!

  2. More people need to read this! It seems like everyone is afraid to take vacation days because they don’t want their work product to suffer, when studies show that your work product suffers when you DON’T take vacation.

    I love the staycation idea. I work an alternate work schedule where I work at least 9 hours per day and get to take off every other Friday. Sometimes we use this for long weekend trips, but often I just have a day at home alone. I can read, do a few errands, exercise, and really do whatever I want. The idea of having that schedule for two weeks sounds amazing!
    Matt @ Optimize Your Life recently posted…New Year Adjacent ResolutionMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Matt!!! A flex schedule at work is awesome. I use to be on one years ago and I still fantasize about being off every other Friday. I always felt more productive after the long weekend 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!!

  3. I’m in the middle of a pseudo 1 week staycation. I say pseudo as some old friends are visiting from across the country. So far it’s been a blast and very relaxing. That being said they leave tomorrow and then I will take the two work holidays Friday and Monday to relax myself. The rest has already garnered some interesting ideas for both some still open work projects and for blog posts.
    Full Time Finance recently posted…What to do with a Surprise Windfall?My Profile

    • I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying you staycation this week. Catching up with old friends is the best and even better when it can help generate a couple of fun ideas for work projects and blog posts. It’s amazing how getting away from the office opens ideas 🙂

  4. Great points. I only get 10 days of vacation a year plus 5 sick days. I used 2 sick days this year (I was out cold in bed with the flu) and only 5 vacation days. I haven’t done a long (1 week+) vacation in probably a year and a half although I probably should! Most of the vacations I’ve used this year have been to extend the weekend by a day or too and I’ve enjoyed them all 🙂
    Andrew recently posted…A Few Ideas To Invest In Sports MemorabiliaMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Andrew!!! I am definitely a big fan of extended vacations as it really allows me to clear my head. With that said extending the weekend by a day or two is also amazing!!!

      Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. I definitely prefer a chance in scenery rather than a staycation (with 3 kids and a dog there’s always so much cleaning to do!) but just getting that time to release stress is so important. I can totally see why it would increase your money, since your productivity and focus will be better.

    • I’m with you in that I like a change of scenery although I have to admit with a one year old who likes to tear into everything, the staycation has been a bit less stressful than the cruise that we took in September 🙂

      Thanks for sharing and stopping by!!!

  6. That’s quite interesting to note that people who take over 11 days or more of vacation a year are more likely to be paid a higher salary. My guess can only be that people with higher salaries generally get more vacation as part of their package, and thus they take more vacation days on average. Those that take less than 11 days are likely in lower paying careers.

    On a happy note, I’m going away on vacation on Saturday for 9 days, I can’t say it’s going to be a relaxing one though! 4 cities that are all in Eastern Canada during winter over Christmas hardly sounds like a sabbatical to me! Probably going to come back more tired than when we left. Should be fun though!
    Andrew Knapman recently posted…What is FIRE? A Beginners GuideMy Profile

    • That’s an interesting note that you brought up. I have to admit that it crossed my mind as well when I was reading through the studies and whether or not it was causation or correlation 🙂

      Hope you have an awesome trip in Canada. My wife and I did 8 cities in 17 days in Europe and I have to admit we came back exhausted but it was an exciting trip 🙂

  7. I really need to take some more vacation days…mine are really piling up. It doesn’t help that work also piles up when I’m gone. As for car rides, fortunately my kids are generally good on car trips if I time it right. I’ve tried to tire them out and then start driving when they are about to fall asleep…plus it helps that the motion of the car helps them fall asleep.

    • Thanks for sharing Andrew!!! That stinks that work piles up when you are out of the office and you don’t have anyone to backup for you.

      I would be in the same situation that you are in if I couldn’t rely on some of my colleagues to help shoulder some of the work.

      Although admittedly I try to take off when there is a lull in some of our activities.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective!!!

  8. When I worked at the government, it was a ghost town during the holidays due to ‘use or lose’. When I was working full time, I took three weeks off at home, and it was awesome. Now that I only work 2-3 days per week, my time off at home sometimes gets taken for granted, and I actually look forward to going into work. 🙂

    I think salaried professionals should have the option to “buy” as much vacation time as they please. I also think we need more options for professionals to work part time and be able to take regular unpaid sabbaticals. I think if we could move in this direction, there wouldn’t be such a big push for early retirement.
    Primal Prosperity recently posted…The Price of Everything and The Value of NothingMy Profile

    • Also, there was an ‘experiment’ done by a company (can’t remember which one now), where they had employees go down to 32 hours per week and they were actually MORE productive than when they were working 40 hours a week! With these statistics, we could reduce work by one day and week and keep our same salaries, while the companies benefit in greater productivity!
      Primal Prosperity recently posted…The Price of Everything and The Value of NothingMy Profile

      • Wow I would love to take a look at that study. It’s interesting that the 40 hour week was adopted in 1940, during the manufacturing era. Workers obviously worked 8 hour shifts. I think you’re right to question whether this is the right structure for today’s environment.

    • Thanks for the great comment Primal Prosperity!!! I definitely agree with your comment about buying as much vacation as I want. I definitely like to stretch out a couple long weekends along with some other planned vacations 🙂

      Now that I’m in day 10 of my vacation I am definitely feeling a little bit of an itch to get back. But I can wait 🙂

  9. I’m currently in the middle of one month of paternity leave. While it’s not a vacation by any means, at least I don’t have to go in for work. My wife has five months of maternity leave. Needless to say we won’t be able to do much in terms of traveling for some time, but we were able to take a few mini staycations earlier this year. It’s nice to get away from things even if for just a few days. I feel more refreshed when I go back to work.

    Interesting studies. I can see how taking time off could have many benefits, most important of which I think is the positive effects on both your physical and mental health.

    Congrats on the new addition to your family!
    SomeRandomGuyOnline recently posted…Poopy Diapers Everywhere!My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing SRGO!!! Soak up as much time as you can with your little one 🙂 I took off six weeks and it was an amazing bonding experience. Although I have to admit at times there was only so much I can do as the baby needed mommy more than me at times 😉

      Thanks for sharing and enjoy your blessing during this holiday season!!!

  10. This year I couldn’t take all my vacations, but it’s mainly due to the reason that next year we’ll have a 3 weeks leave. I can’t wait and based on the EY study I hope it will come with a decent pay rise 🙂
    Roadrunner recently posted…Flying Home for ChristmasMy Profile

    • Wow three weeks leave. Are you going anywhere fun? I will definitely be rooting for you to get a pay raise. Maybe it will rub off and I’ll try it the following year 🙂

    • I am definitely going to take your advice and put together a plan for vacations this year. I came to the end of the year and had to use two weeks or I was going to lose it.

      I was fortunate that my boss allowed me to take the time but you are right in that I need to plan better for next year.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective and I know what I’ll be doing with my remaining vacation days 🙂

  11. I just completed a post about how Australians hoard their annual leave. I’ve found it interesting that both yourself and Chief Mom Officer lose your annual leave if you don’t use it – in Australia it just keeps rolling over. This presents a burden to companies, and as you have detailed above, affects the wellbeing of workers. I’ve added a link to this post in my article, thanks!

    • Wow I had no idea that Australians could roll over their leave every year. That’s amazing and definitely something that the US should implement immediately 🙂

      Thanks for linking my article and I’ll be sure to head over!!!

  12. I’m going to be losing vacation days for the first time in a while. I will end up taking about 2.5 weeks this year. I get 4 weeks total and can carry over 1 week, so I had 5 total weeks to use this year. That’s a ton, and I don’t think I could ever take that much.

    Also, I’m lucky to work in an actual meritocratic environment, where we are paid based on the value we create for the company. I have specific pay increases assigned to different initiatives that I set out to achieve each year. So the less I work, the less I achieve, and the longer it takes for me to increase my salary. But I do recognize the benefit of recharging. For me, I think about 3 weeks of vacation is just right.
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…Investment Fees are Costing You Years in RetirementMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Go Finance Yourself!!!

      Sounds like you know what the perfect balance at work for you is.

      It’s too bad you can’t trade in your leave for some cash if you know that three weeks is the right amount of vacation.

  13. Super points! Good for you for making the most of your time. I totally agree that a week is not enough. I still can’t understand how people leave their vacation days on the table. It’s free money and of course the benefits of recharging are huge!!

    I have the benefit of taking time off whenever (unpaid) but my BF never takes more than a few days at a time. It kills me to know that he never benefits from the real relaxation that a multi week break would give him. This year he is taking the 23rd to the 2nd off!! 11 days is better than a poke in the eye! 🙂

    Enjoy the rest of your staycation and congrats on your new nephew!!
    Miss Mazuma recently posted…The “How” & “Why” in FIMy Profile

    • That’s awesome to hear that you can take off time whenever you want. In someways I would love to do that. Having that flexibility would be amazing.

      I’m guessing that you’re going to be reminding your boyfriend often how awesome it is to take off all that time every day. I know my wife does.

      Thanks for sharing and stopping by!!!

  14. Hi! I am on a two-week staycation right now, and I agree with your comments. I’m just now starting to break away from work stress.

    I took a one-week staycation during Thanksgiving, and it was simply awesome. I even started my blog.

    I’m 33 and have 4 years to go.

  15. The logic of this post seems so obvious (more vacation -> less stress -> higher productivity/creativity at work) and yet I find myself constantly falling into the trap of believing that others will recognize my extra days in the office. Well, no more. I’m also proud to note that I’ll have an entire month off next year to study for the bar exam. So here’s to mandatory paid time off!

    • Thanks for stopping by Mixed Money Arts!!!

      I definitely agree that it’s such a simple concept but I know for me oftentimes it’s a struggle to fully appreciate and really take off all the time that I should.

      Congrats on the ability to take off a month and to dedicate it towards the bar exam.

      I look forward to hearing your success!!!

  16. At my day job, we have been debating why more people don’t use their vacation days in the context of changing our paid-leave policy from PTO back to a sick/vacation model next year. I talked to many employees who are not bonus-eligible at my company and they said that they ‘cash in’ one to two weeks a year of unused leave to make up for the fact that they do not receive a bonus from the company. So I think another factor to consider is the strategic use of the vacation or PTO-sell policy to increase one’s current earnings.

    At this phase in our life – taking the time off is way more important to Mr.Need2Save and I, so no ‘cashing in’ for us.

    Enjoy what is left of your staycation! I have the rest of this week off and I’m very excited about the opportunity to work out, walk our dog more often, clean up a little and work on a few house-projects.
    Mrs. Need2Save recently posted…What Will FIRE Look Like?My Profile

    • Today was my first day back after a nice two week break. I have to admit it was a bit hard to go back and definitely thought, “what if I bought another week.”

      Anyway I hope you have a great week off and come back recharged for the New Year!!!

  17. I’ll admit that I have become a PTO hoarder and I am completely burnt out! Time away is absolutely necessary to de-stress and come back ready to hit the ground running but silly me always thought that I would be the shining star by coming to work everyday. I guess you can’t really shine when your borderline miserable huh. Cheers to a new year of using that PTO.

    • Thanks for share Dyana!!! I definitely like to hoard my PTO but only until I’m about to lose it. We’re only allowed to carry a certain amount over each year and I’ve finally reached that max. So now I’m basically forced to use all my vacation time year.

      Hopefully my wife and I can find something fun to do this year as I did three weeks of staycation time which was fun but I’m itching to do something a little bit more exciting 🙂

      I hipe you and your family have a great 2017!!!

  18. This is a great reminder that health and well being doesn’t just come from being physically fit. It often comes from just decompressing from work. I hate to say it but on Sunday evenings starting at around 5pm or so I start thinking about work so weekends never really allow me to decompress. I like the two week vacation idea although with such a small team it is often to take that much time off all at once. I tend to take days off here and there especially when my kids are off so that I can get some quality time with them now that they are smaller. Later on they won’t care too much if I’m home with them when they are off from school. So glad you got to enjoy your time off.
    Tammy recently posted…A List of My Favorite ThingsMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Tammy. Spending two weeks at home was truly wonderful and I definitely am going to try to do it again in 2017 if time permits but we’ll see.

      I can definitely understand the feeling of thinking about work on the weekends and gearing up on Sunday. There are definitely some days that I feel like all I do is think about work so it’s definitely nice to be able to unplug.

      I hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

  19. Cool post here MSM, agreed taking that time off is very important to your career and life as well :)!
    Congrats on getting to meet your nephew as well and all the best for a kick butt 2017

    • Thanks for stopping by Jef!!! I was shocked to read the stats behind vacations but it makes a ton of sense. The more rested we are the better we probably perform.

      Thanks for the well wishes and I hope 2017 is fantastic as well for you!!!

  20. I’m in one of those in a position that is too valuable to take time off work. Every time I left I would come back to a ton of problems that would take weeks or months to fix. Luckily I found a compromise. We have the ability to work remote on occasion, so I tend to take my computer with me on vacation. Since I’m an early riser and the rest of my family is not, I’ll get up early and check emails for an hour or two in the morning and another hour at night. This helps me keep the stress and workload down for when I return to work and it also allows me to extend the actual number of vacation days I take each year because I bill the time I work while one vacation. For example, when I went to Hawaii for 10 days I would surf from 5 to 8 every morning work 8 to 10 then head out with the family on vacation activities, then at night, I would check emails an hour before bed. That totaled 24 hours of work, so I only had to take 40 hours of vacation vs 64 hours. I did the same on a 3-week vacation in Japan and saved 45 hours of vacation time.
    Stuart @ Epic Quiver recently posted…MY 4 YEAR ADVENTURE AS A PEER 2 PEER LENDERMy Profile

    • Wow that’s incredible time efficient Stuart!!!

      I love hearing stories like this to squeeze out extra days on vacation. I definitely wish I had the ability to work remotely at times.

      I also wish I had your discipline to wake up at 5 and go to be late. For whatever reason 7 am is what time my body wakes up everyday whether I go to bed at 8 pm or 11 pm.

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