In this post, we’re giving our best tips on how to maximize your vacation time! One thing we always get asked is how we’re able to travel so often and for so long. Some of it is due to having a flexible school schedule with our girls, but we’ve really worked to perfect the art of our time away. We’re no strangers to long weekends and shorter adventures, but for our big trips, we really like to make the most of our time that we’re given. This blog post is all about helping you find the best way to make the most of school vacation days, PTO, and holidays so you can spend as much time as possible making memories with our top tips. With a little planning, you will have plenty of options for short breaks and longer trips!

Memories Multiplied

Here are our best tips for maximizing vacation time for optimal vacation magic!

Take 4 -9 Away Rule

This is the best tip for maximizing time off – look for holidays you can get 9 days away, while only taking 4 PTO days. For example: MLK Day is always on Monday. So, you leave for a trip on Saturday and only require taking time off from work or school for Tuesday-Friday, and leave the following Sunday, you just got a 9 day vacation for the price of 4 days! You can even check your kids’ school calendars for an occasional five-day weekend made possible because of teacher work days and other school related days off.

There are plenty of holiday weekends that give you a four-day break where this planning hack works…check out our cheat sheet printable down below for quick reference to plan your next trip. You can get an extra day or two, or more by planning around a holiday, or even better a paid holiday, like Memorial day, Fourth of July, Veteran’s day, New Year’s day, or even Christmas day. There are plenty of public holidays to choose from!

Be Smart About Travel Days

One of the easiest ways to maximize travel, especially for long weekends or trips that involve car travel, is being smart about your travel days. It’s a fine balance between packing too much in and wasting a whole day just getting to your destination. Depending on your destination, traveling early in the day may be best. Or if you’re hopping time zones, taking a late-night flight may work better (and hopefully everyone sleeps to help with jet lag!). Either way, we always look at our travel days like vacation days – how can they be filled with fun and not just logistics?

Don’t Worry About Seeing it All

Easier said than done, and I totally get it. Especially when we travel abroad, it’s hard to not want to squeeze everything little thing into your travel plans! But, what we’ve learned is that trying to see everything creates too much pressure and only leaves us with tired and unhappy children, parents who are eager to get to bed, and a lot less memories made. So, we try hard ahead of time to really plan vacations carefully and do only the things we care about as a family, rather than everything in a guidebook. Everyone is happier and it makes our vacation more fulfilling rather than exhausting.

Putting it Into Practice: How We Have Maximized Vacation Time on Our Trips

This video below shows our recent travel day to Marrakech, where we were able to take our travel day and turn it into a bit of R&R for the whole family.

@mrsblinks You should have seen me frantically reading every thing I could get my hands on during both flights… plus I was a little stressed about not having packed the right items to wear but it all worked out #22adventuresin2022 #familytravel #tiktoktravel #marrakech ♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) – Danilo Stankovic

We recently spent a week in Athens, Greece and this video shows a quick rundown of what we did with our kids. A great example of doing what mattered to us with no pressure to do it all!

@mrsblinks E got a replica of the first Olympic gold medal as a souvenir. It’s perfect because it means a lot to her and is small enough to squeeze in her backpack. You can still buy things when traveling with a backpack. We just need to be a bit more intentional #22adventuresin2022 #familytravel #tiktoktravel ♬ Paper Birds (3 min) – Jordan Halpern Schwartz

Time Away Cheat Sheet

If you’re like me, sometimes the federal holidays sneak up on me…I’m looking at you President’s Day! But so many of these days are “free” holidays for our family to travel more. This free printable lists out all major US Federal holidays, along with some generalized school vacation times. While each family will have some differences in the way they take vacation time, I hope this helps you find some new pockets of time to getaway this year! Just add your name and email below to download this free Time Away Cheat Sheet!

time away cheat sheet

Time Away Cheat Sheet Download

* indicates required

If you’re going to put the effort and money into traveling, you want to get the most out of your trip! I hope these tips help you maximize your vacation time.

Want more travel tips?

Our Top 6 Favorite Travel Credit Cards

Just in Case Bag – What it is and why you need one

Tips for Booking the Best Travel Deals