5 Surprising Reasons to Take Your Vacation Days and 3 Low-Cost Ways to Do It

Senior woman wearing a large sunhat smiling standing on the beach while looking at the ocean.

When you’re going through the daily grind of life—working, taking care of your family, and paying the bills—it can be easy to let months and even years slip by without ever taking a vacation. However, don’t underestimate the importance of enjoying some well-deserved rest and relaxation!

In celebration of National Plan for Vacation Day, we’re going to share five reasons why vacation is important and then three low-cost ways to enjoy some time off. 

Why Is it Important to Take Vacation?

You might be pushing off taking vacation because you feel like you’re too busy or you can’t afford it. However, the benefits of vacation are undeniable! Consider these five reasons why vacation is important.

1. Vacation is Good for Your Physical Health

There are many studies that show vacations aren’t simply an indulgence, but rather are important for your physical well-being. For example, stress hormones can suppress your immune system, but relaxing on vacation can help your immune system recover. In addition, vacations are linked to lower rates of heart disease, with one study finding that women who took vacation less than once every six years were eight times more likely to develop heart problems compared to those who went on vacation twice a year.

2. Vacation Can Help Improve Your Mental Health

In addition to physical health, taking vacation can help improve your mental health by improving mood, releasing stress, and reducing depression and anxiety. One study found that women who took vacation only once every two years were 92% more likely to have depression compared to those who took vacation twice or more per year.

3. You Might Enjoy Meaningful Time With Family

Vacationing with family helps break you out of your usual routine and have some fun with the people who matter most. Vacations provide families with opportunities to enjoy quality time with less distractions, while building lifelong memories that cultivate a closer bond.

4. Or You Might Discover the Advantages of Traveling Alone

Don’t have anyone to travel with? No problem! Not only is solo travel cost-effective, but it allows you to do exactly what you want at your own pace. Be sure to check out our seven tips for successfully traveling solo!

5. There Could Be Career Advantages

It might seem counterintuitive, but taking time off work can actually advance your career! One study concluded that taking 10 hours a month of vacation time was associated with an average 8% boost in annual performance ratings.A different study of more than 5,000 people found that workers who use more vacation days are promoted at almost twice the rate of people who use less paid time off.

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How to Take a Vacation on a Budget

Do we have you convinced on the benefits of vacations, but it just doesn’t seem possible because of the cost? We get it! Extravagant vacations aren’t in the budget for many families—especially with the rising cost of day-to-day life. However, these three strategies will help you take time away from work without draining your bank account.

1. Make it a Staycation

You don’t even need to leave the comfort of home to vacation! Take some time off work and enjoy leisure activities while staying home. Visit local parks or attractions and perhaps go out to eat at a favorite restaurant. The key to enjoying a staycation is to not let your errand and chore lists dominate your time; really focus on having fun and unwinding.

Get six summer staycation ideas for retirees!

2. Plan a Nearby Getaway

Okay, so maybe you really want to get out of town. Are there any destinations you can drive to within a day? Enjoying a nearby getaway can help you save significantly on airfare and gas costs. Get the best deal on lodging by shopping around online and traveling in the off-season. Or, if you’re outdoorsy, camping is one of the cheapest ways to travel!

3. Visit Out-of-Town Family or Friends

If you have family or friends who live somewhere you’d like to visit, see if they’re up for some guests! Sure, you’ll have to pay for the costs of getting to your destination, but your lodging will be free. Plus, your hosts can serve as local tour guides and direct you to all the best spots!

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start planning your vacation. Not sure where to start? How about visiting one of these United States National Parks.

Keep reading and check out these travel tips for retirement.

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