#TakeFamilyTime: 5-ways to prioritize family time using your vacation days

So folks, there is a scary trend we are tangled up in and only you can fix it. Vacation time you earned with hard work, dedication and loyalty, is becoming a languishing benefit. Well, what does that mean? Simply put, it means you are spending less time with your family and more time at work. Sad fact: According to the most recent Family Travel Association survey, 55% of American workers with children under the age of 18 in their household did not use all of their vacation time last year. Whoa! Talk about burnout! 

"The best way to predict your future is to create it” ~Abraham Lincoln

It might seem to reason that working more, earns you more. But studies have shown burnout is a real thing and with that comes lost productivity. A study done with Project: Time Off noted that employees who used their vacation days were more productive and there was less turn-over. It's a win-win for everyone. 

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Because of the staggering number of unused vacation time, the Family Travel Association has launched an advocacy campaign aimed at prioritizing family vacations and inspire parents to use their vacation days. By taking the pledge, #TakeFamilyTime, the goal is for families to regain their stronghold on family time which ultimately benefits the family as a whole with memories to last a lifetime. 

The survey highlighted some the largest hurdles parents feel they face when planning a family vacation:

  • Affordability - a whopping 82% of respondents noted affordability as a deterrent to family vacation planning.
  • Availability of vacation time - 32% of respondents stated they had difficulty actually using their vacation days.
  • Age of Children - 29% of respondents felt their children were too young to take a vacation. 
  • Timing vacation with school breaks - 23% felt challenged trying to coordinate vacations with school breaks.
  • Flying or traveling in a car with children - 21% of respondents felt it was difficult to either fly or travel by car with children.

 These are all legit hurdles and most of us have faced at least one while trying to plan a family vacation. But what can be done to help remove these obstacles? 

2 moms travel vietnam vacation

Take a staycation

We have all felt the belt tighten on around wallets and admittedly it can be daunting. Don't feel you have to plan an extravagant vacation. Your kids will appreciate just spending quality time with you whether you explore your backyard, take a bike ride or a staycation at a local family friendly hotel. Often times we overlook what we have available right in our own city. Check out the activities that make your city unique. It's creating the memories and spending quality time together that matters most. 

Plan vacation days 

If you have a hard time taking your vacation days, arrange a time with your boss to find out which days are best to take off as far ahead as possible. Depending on your job, certain times of the year might put a strain on your employer if you are gone. So be sure to have some flexibility. Compromise is always the best method to get what you need. Your family will thank you when you can all be together!

Kids are never to young to travel

It's a myth that young kids won't benefit from travel. First and foremost, kids just want to be with you. But travel shapes them and benefits them in so many ways. It also brings out their adventure side - get them to try new foods early, explore new cultures. Have them help pack so they feel the excitement. There is no reason they need to stay put until they are older. Now, I get it is hard to travel with an infant and especially a toddler who won't sit still for 5 seconds. If you have to fly try shorter flights at first or red-eyes so they can sleep. My advice: always bring a new surprise to treat them with so they are entertained. 

Try to time your vacation to shoulder a school break

Often times traveling during school breaks dramatically increases the cost of a vacation - now we go right back to the affordability issue. Heck, everyone goes to Mexico or Hawaii in March/April and the prices of hotels and airfares reflect that. Try to overlap your vacation by pulling the kids the week before or after break and you can get more bang for your buck. Also, try to find somewhere less traveled by the average tourist. If you know half your child's school is going to Hawaii, pick somewhere not as popular. 

You and your kids can survive flying and/or a road trip

I get it - I have two active kids - travel can be daunting. But getting there is a small part of the adventure. Once you are off that plane you can breathe and enjoy your vacation; maybe you also need to envision that spa day waiting for you on the other end to get you through the moment. You will need to prepare before hand to make sure your little will have some things to keep her company during the journey. And most airlines have in-flight entertainment. Before you head out, purchase some age appropriate headphones such as the ONAOFF Buddy Headphones that are not only comfortable but volume limiting so you don't damage her ears.

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Let’s plan that next vacation!

Now that you are equipped with the resources to take advantage of your vacation time, take the #TakeFamilyTime pledge and proclaim your intention to prioritize vacation time in the coming year.

As a virtuoso travel advisor, I would love to help you plan your next vacation! Check out my travel planning page so we can get started! 

Happy Trails!

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