By Andrea Romano
January 03, 2019

Even if you only have a handful of paid days off for the next year, you can still maximize your vacation time.

According to Project Time Off, 52 percent of Americans do not use up all of their vacation days. Considering that in 2017, the average worker with five years of experience or less has about 15 days of paid vacation (20 days for workers with 20 years of experience), according CNBC, that’s nearly a week of time that we’re not using to travel, be with family, or have new experiences outside the office.

Related: The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2019

But if it's feeling limited and thinking you don't have enough time to have a truly restful, rich travel experience on the number of allotted days you have, there is a trick to maximizing your travel time without having to request more days off from your boss.

All you have to do is take advantage of national holidays in order to extend your vacation time in 2019.

Many U.S. national holidays (not including Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, or Christmas) are celebrated on Mondays. So if you’re looking to finagle your time off, choose a weekend like President’s Day in February, Memorial Day in May, Labor Day in September, or Veteran’s Day in November. By leaving the Friday before or coming back the Tuesday after, you’ll find that you’ve actually grabbed yourself three extra travel days while only using one or two days of your paid time off.

So, if you want a nice vacation, opt for leaving Friday, enjoying yourself Saturday, Sunday, and even Monday, and return Tuesday without making too much of a dent in your PTO — so you’ll still have plenty saved for visiting family during the holidays or taking another summer excursion.

Or, when it comes to the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, you can also plan your getaways for an extra two to four travel days without using up PTO, especially since offices often close for the days before or after these holidays as well.

There’s never been a smarter way to spend your vacation days.

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