Take One More Day

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Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about vacation.

Did you know that the US Travel Association found that 429 million vacation days were left on the table by American workers last year?  Essentially, 40% of us are donating money (in the form of earned time off) to our employers.

I say, collectively, we need to band together to stop this and to create a culture where taking the time needed to recharge, to travel, and to come back to work with renewed energy is prized. Take your vacation! 

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Granted, our family just returned from an extended holiday—three weeks abroad—that isn’t feasible for everyone, but it amazes me how much good just a single day of vacation can do. In fact, it’s been shown that there is no relationship between the length of a vacation and overall happiness.

MasterCard wants to join in encouraging all of us to take advantage of all the days we’ve earned.

Here’s how to take one more day:

Embrace the Daytrip. One of the most relaxing (and funny) day trips Aron and I ever took was a trip to Spa Castle in Queens, when we were living in New York. Essentially a Korean day spa, it’s a giant complex of saunas (“Sauna Valley”), hot and cold pools—some with requisite nudity—sleep rooms, and massage tables. (Psst: Word is they’re coming to Manhattan!)

Some other favorite day trips have included:
Swimming in the Yuba River; Spending the day on Fire Island; Driving through vineyards for a long lunch in Healdsburg; and Paddleboarding on Angora Lake (in the Lake Tahoe wilderness region).

Extend your weekend. It’s said that taking several three- or four-day-weekends throughout the year can have the same effects (happiness, relaxation, etc.) as a single long break.

Here are a few of my favorite getaways we’ve taken using a single day of vacation (plus a weekend):
A fall weekend in Yosemite Valley; a spa weekend at Solage in Calistoga; and a family getaway to Monterey where we checked out tide pools!

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And for those of you parents who need a weekend away without the kids, we found on our trip to Lake Tahoe that the easiest way to ask others for help is to start your weekend on weekday, when your kids will be spending some of the time at school, engaged in their usual routine. (Bonus: you’ll spend less time in weekend traffic!)

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A few more tips: 
Use your credit card rewards. A study commissioned by MasterCard shows that at least a third of people would likely take another vacation in 2014 if they had benefits to offset the cost. 35% of rewards card holders admitted they are only a little, or not at all knowledgeable about their program perks and services. We booked our trip to Bali and our trip to Europe this summer using perks from our card!

Plan Ahead. 53% of Americans prioritize travel but 28% end up cramming vacation days into the last months of the year. Plan ahead and don’t risk losing your earned time. I once read that Marissa Mayer (Yahoo CEO) plans one weeklong vacation every four months. If you (and your employer and your coworkers) come to expect your taking your vacation as part of a routine, you’ll be less likely to let things like office guilt get in your way.

No, seriously. Plan Ahead. A study in the Netherlands revealed that planning a vacation contributed as much to happiness as did the vacation itself.

Get something on the calendar (even that three-day-weekend getaway) so that you can start reaping the rewards immediately.

Take the pledge to take #OneMoreDay. This is a sponsored post on behalf of MasterCard. I received compensation for this post, however all opinions stated are my own. 

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