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Sep 9, 2014

AVR: Adult Vacation Reality

Disclaimer: This is a serious #FirstWorldProblem, in reality I am completely thankful for my job and the opportunities I have been given to travel... but that won't stop me from bitching right now.  If you want to read something inspiring, go find another blog. 

Growing up PTO seemed like the dream. You get paid for doing whatever you want wherever you want?! What. A. Deal.

Suddenly I hit the real world and AVR (adult vacation reality) set in.

After recently returning from a 5 day Labor Day Weekend trip to Michigan, I can easily walk through all of the.causes and symptoms of AVR.


Use it or Lose it:
In the U.S., 85.8% of males and 66.5% percent of females work more than 40 hours per week (via 20somethingfinance.com), so really when you take PTO it's actually you just taking your Sunday nights back anyway.

Plus, serious FOMO alert! CSNBC reports that fewer employers are allowing carryovers of unused PTO time.This can cause serious angst over how to allocate precious days, while saving enough for that dream trip that could happen some day.

A To-Do List a Mile Long:
Growing up you get to hop on a plane or get in the car and end up at some great place that your parents picked out, planned, and payed for (that is really the sweet deal here, kids). In the real world, there is so much work that goes in before you leave on vacation, especially if you are Type A like me.

Here are a number of things that cause me a headache before a trip.

Booking - Booking trips can be stressful, especially if you are trying to keep to a budget (and by budget I mean how much you have in your checking account). There are so many different travel deal sites and if you're shopping around it's going to take you awhile to figure out what to book. Obviously it's always super cheap to fly on Wednesday - but since you work full time taking a Wednesday- Wednesday trip will never make sense. Womp.

Packing - Is packing this stressful for anyone else? In order to pack you have to time your laundry right. If you do laundry too far in advance you don't have everything you want to bring clean. If you wait until the night before all your clothes that can't go in the dryer will still be wet, plus you'll be up half the night getting it done. If you need to go shopping before your trip make sure you make time in advance since the days of spending afternoons at the mall over OVER. Lastly, if you need a nail or spa appointment before you leave, you better find a place that actually has evening appointments. What do you mean you close at 6?

And the Dog: As much as I love Stella (our dog), it's a PIA to go out of town somewhere when she can't come along. Stella needs a personal assistant just to pack up her stuff for boarding or schedule friends to take care of her. High maintenance.

The Work Doesn't Stop:
Let's be honest, if you're actually valuable at your job there is stuff you can do that nobody else can. Sure you can put up your out of office with a backup contact, but that doesn't mean that person can or will actually do anything for you.

You have a few options, and none of them are good...

1) You can try and get everything that can and will come up while you're gone done ahead of time. You will likely be up until the wee hours the night before you leave. And you better hope you have some Emergen-C. No sleep + plane germs = no bueno

2) You can come back to a hole so big that you don't know if you will ever be able to dig yourself out. As if post-vacation sadness wasn't bad enough, add 500 unread emails to the mix. Nasty.

3) You can suck it up and work a little during your PTO (which at this point stands for Paid Time On).
Pssst a little white lie that there is no cell service or wifi in the hotel never killed alone.

I usually end up doing a mix of all 3 (which typically leads to comments from my boyfriend to get off my email and stop working). 

Is there a cure for AVR?
Unless you have a time machine to go back to your childhood vacations, no. A big glass of wine and visions of your final destination can probably get you through though. Cheers!

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