With more and more bloggers sending out the call to leave everything behind and just travel, it can seem like taking vacations is suddenly the ‘wrong’ way to see the world. (Really, as long as you’re not hurting anybody, there’s no ‘wrong’ way to see the world.) At the same time, Western workaholic cultures make asking for time off more daunting than it should be. If you love your job and life at home, you can still enjoy travel. Follow these tips to strike your perfect work-life balance.
Ask for leave well in advance
The trick to successfully taking a vacation from a full-time job is carefully managing everyone’s expectations. Whether you’re a cubicle dweller at a big corporation, the owner of your own small business, or a server at a popular restaurant, making sure your boss and co-workers known when you’ll be out of town goes a long way to keeping everyone’s feathers nice and smooth. Waiting until the last minute doesn’t reflect well on you.
Communicate with your boss
In addition to the dates you’ll be gone, your supervisor may need more information about your time off. Make sure they know how to contact you, just in case, and set clear expectations for how available you will actually be. Before having this conversation, you may find it helpful to do a little research on what kind of phone and internet access you’ll have on the road. Or, maybe you want a clean break from work for a week or two. That’s okay! Just make sure you set that expectation in advance.
Know who will be filling in for you
It’s a great idea to work ahead and leave for your vacation with a clean desk. But there may be a limit to how much you can do. And who knows what surprise tasks might crop up while you’re gone? Work with your supervisor and co-workers to establish a clear plan for who will take care of what in your absence. Chances are, there is a strong team in place to help keep work from piling up on your desk until you return. Make sure you set up an auto-email response directing new messages to those filling in for you.
Prepare as much as you can before leaving
In addition to an auto-response letting folks know you’re out of the office, consider writing up a mini-handbook detailing your day-to-day workflow. Having a reference for any tasks that fall on their plates while you’re gone could be very helpful to your co-workers, and it shows your boss you do care about the job – even if you need a little break from it.
Check in on the road if necessary
With a T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan or a SIM card picked up at the airport, you can have phone access just about anywhere in the world. Many hotels have computers available for guests to use, if you don’t want to bring along a laptop to check emails on the go. There’s no need to go overboard – it is your vacation after all – but checking in once or twice during your time off can help ease your mind and take care of any emergencies at home.