Paid Time Off: 4 Rules that Get Vacation Approved!

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The studies released from employers and groups like Project: Time Off all highlight an unfortunate trend in American culture: We leave paid time off on the table year after year.

Why do we do this? We earned the time, our employers provide the time, yet we waste the time. Some studies suggest we don’t trust that work will be done in our absence, and we will only come back to a mountain of tasks once we return.

Other reports state we feel bad to leave coworkers to carry our load while we sun ourselves by the pool.

Not me. I have no problem with that, just ask anyone here at InsureMyTrip.

Here are my 4 rules that get vacation approved!


  1. Timing is everything

Want to be denied? Ask your boss for PTO after a rough meeting, a failed project, or her root canal. Wait until you have a win! That big client was signed, the quarter showed a 20% revenue growth, or you finally got that weird liquid spill out of the bottom of the break-room fridge.  Later in the week, later in the day is a good rule of thumb to follow.

  1. No, timing IS EVERYTHING

Want to get away for the Fourth of July.  No kidding, so does everyone in America. Plan your vacation at off-peak times.  Not only will you be more likely to get an approval, you’ll possibly see discounted rates on accommodations and travel fares. The lake is just as beautiful the weekend after, and less crowded too!

  1. Don’t lie

Don’t make up nonsense. No story about how someone is sick, dying, or any other morbid excuse. It’s bad karma. You’re going to post photos on Facebook, and that guy you forgot you befriended after the 2012 Christmas party is going to make a comment in the break room about how tan you looked at the swim up bar, and word will get out. Then you’ll be known as a Lying McLiar.

  1. The less details the better

It’s your time, and you don’t need an excuse for using it however you want. If you are requesting time off on very short notice, perhaps for an emergency, then of course you may want to share a bit more with your boss. However, they don’t need to know you’re headed to the Caribbean to waste away in Margaritaville. Promoting the fun factor could interfere with your work, co-workers may become resentful, and no one likes a bragger.

No matter how you do it, DO IT! Vacation time is important. None of us should ever leave that time on someone else’s clock.

1 comments on “Paid Time Off: 4 Rules that Get Vacation Approved!”

  1. Getting vacation days approved is definitely a key part of having a healthy work-life balance and taking all of your paid time off. I agree that timing is critical in so many jobs since we can’t all take off the same week or holiday off. Traveling during off-peak times of year is also a common piece of advice that I write about on my blog. Besides discounts and fewer crowds, it will often be a less stressful (more enjoyable) travel experience.

    And of course buying a travel insurance policy can make that vacation period feel less risky both during the booking process such as for a luxury cruise or when you are immersed in a travel adventure like on safari or trekking in South America. I hope you write more about this important topic.

    -Scott, Work-Life-Vacation Balance Blogger

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