In our household I work for a hospital with lots of employees and my Husband works for a small Cabinet Shop with about 30 people. My benefits are corporate and therefore slightly more robust.
I have a living PTO balance that accumulates hours each pay period. So even after coming back from over 2 weeks off this summer, my balance only got down to 230 hours (5.75 weeks) remaining. So I always have time to travel.
My Husband gets a flat 2 weeks per year. He has been there 20 years and it doesn’t look like that amount will ever change. That being said, it is hard to schedule a lot of trips together since our vacation time varies so significantly. It is very lopsided indeed.
On the years that we take big 2 week adventures, we drain his PTO bank all at once. Then he has no vacation time left for the rest of the year. Ouch! Other years, we take some 4 day weekends and smaller trips to stretch it out. I end up taking some time off without him just to keep my balance from maxing out.
We have been empty nesters for 3 years, finances are in order and there are no pets at our house to worry about making arrangements for so it is so easy to just go. We only need to figure out the vacation time gap! Because we love Vacation!
How we are navigating it this year
Since Mark used up all of his vacation time for this year on our big European Adventure, I will have to be very creative. It will not replenish until April, 2019. One thing we did was book a solo weekend trip for him to Texas to visit our Son. He will leave after work on a Friday and return home on Sunday night. Since we had some Delta Vouchers to use, the airfare was very affordable. This quick trip will be a great chance for him to connect one-on-one with our Son, attend a super fun football game, and just feel like he has gotten a mini vacation. 0 vacation hours spent.
In October, I am flying to Texas with my Daughter. With my Delta Voucher and catching a Flash Sale, It is only costing $241 Round trip total for the both of us! Winning! We are leaving on a Friday morning and not coming back until Monday evening. We will get to be there for a little longer visit than Mark and I will be able to use up 2 vacation days.
Once we take those trips, the holidays will be upon us. My floor at work becomes a ghost town. I have learned to spend 1 week of vacation time between Christmas and New Years and just hang out with the family and enjoy the season. This year I will also take off the Friday after Thanksgiving to extend it to a 4 day weekend. Why not, right? 6 days spent over the holidays.
Come February we will probably take a long weekend. My husbands birthday is in the middle of the month and February is notoriously dreary in Michigan. Always a good time to just get away and visit the Ale Trail in either Grand Rapids or Traverse City. I love visiting TC any time of year because I know it very well and there are so many great “foodie” places to enjoy and plenty of activities close at hand. No vacation time spent, but a nice little winter break.
I find Long weekend getaways to be such a refreshing thing. You can fit them in any time and in Michigan, we have tons of great options for a quick driving trip. It breaks things up during the year giving you more short bursts of relaxation and that vacation feel. They are usually cheaper than a big vacation and if you do a couple you get to enjoy the variety of multiple locations.
Before you know it April will roll around and my Husband’s PTO bank will be refilled! Who knows what kinds of adventures we will get up to next year. But you know that my wheels are spinning!