I am fortunate to have just taken a 10-day vacation with my extended family, and the adventure was just what was needed to refresh my soul and spirit. Because of it, I came back to work re-energized and ready to go.
Many studies show that employers who encourage their employees to take vacation days see increases in productivity, workplace morale, and employee retention and health. Other studies have shown that the average employee takes 17.2 days of vacation each year. Whether you want to make the most of your vacation time now or you’re looking forward to having more time to travel in retirement—or both—here are tips to help you work toward the relaxation time that your brain and your body needs.
Envision your dream vacation. Make a bucket list that reflects your authentic desires. Whatever you want to do—from traveling the U.S. in a motorhome to visit all your must-see places, to hiking or biking across another country—dare to dream big. A friend of mine just came back from an incredible week-long family excursion abroad that her in-laws planned as their own dream vacation to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. No expense was spared and it included bonding time with zip lining, snorkeling, hiking around a volcano and fun for everyone, ages 9 to 72. My friend said it was her in-laws’ absolute pleasure to plan such a memorable trip and share it with their loved ones.
You can make these types of experiences happen, too, by planning and saving. By keeping your eyes on the vacation prize and getting serious about your financial goals to get there, you can surely make it happen for yourself.
Start saving. Along with making a concerted effort to save for your retirement nest egg, consider building in savings for your dream vacation. Over time, saving as little as $50/month for, say 10 years, could provide you with $6,000 for a vacation, not including interest. The key to saving is twofold. First, you want to be sure that you aren’t spending frivolously on things you don’t really need, like a brand new car when a good used one will do just fine. Second, keep track of where your money goes on a daily basis, because those seemingly small expenses add up. Each time you choose to eat in rather than go out, or treat yourself to a coffeehouse latte once a week rather than every day, you can be putting that money toward your dream vacation and your future.
Plan with your budget in mind. Although costs may change over time, start putting numbers to paper to get an idea of how much your dream vacation will cost. You can stretch your budget by doing things like traveling in the off season, staying in local rentals rather than hotels and, as you would at home, shopping for food in local markets and preparing the food yourself rather than eating out every day.
Vacations are important not only for your physical, mental and emotional health, but also as ways to create experiences and memories for yourself and your family that will remain with you forever. To ensure that you are on track to take relaxing vacations during your working years and in retirement—and to have enough to live comfortably when you retire — get started now with a smart saving and investing plan. If you need help, consider talking with a financial advisor who can assist you on your journey toward taking your dream vacation. If you don’t yet have much saved to be able to fulfill your bucket list dreams, remember it’s never too late to get started.
Photo by Claude Piché
 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-l-ferguson/health-benefits-of-taking-a-vacation_b_9384466.html  https://projecttimeoff.com/reports/state-of-american-vacation-2018/
Lisa Taranto Schiffer
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