TikToker Reveals The Secret To Maximizing Your 2024 Vacation Days

The average American only gets a total of 10 to 14 paid time off days (PTO) per year, according to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and that's only if you've clocked a certain number of years at your job. Stick around longer, and you may just score a few extra days. Compared to our global neighbors, however, you'll notice that U.S. workers get the short end of the stick. Employees in France typically get to unwind for 30 days, those in the U.K. get 28, and in countries like Spain, Denmark, and Sweden, workers can completely unplug for 25 days. Sounds like a dream, no? But hear this: according to a viral TikTok hack, even the most PTO-starved American can vacation like a European. 

TikTok user @flowerpowerxoxo0 suggested a clever hack to maximize those limited days off without ruffling any feathers in HR. The secret lies in aligning your PTO with federal holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, which are typically non-working days anyway. For instance, consider Memorial Day, which falls on May 27th in 2024. By strategically booking your PTO from May 28th to 31st, you can snag a total of nine days off. You get to enjoy the pre-holiday weekend, Memorial Day itself, four days of PTO, and another weekend succeeding it. With this nifty workaround, you won't have to relegate to a micro-cation just hours away from the city but instead indulge in a well-deserved, extended break far away — all without overstepping your PTO limits.

Request early, book early

It goes without saying that this travel hack is not a one-size-fits-all solution and may not apply to people in industries like food service and retail, where weekend duties are a norm. It also doesn't suggest you stick to the proposed schedule religiously since employer policies on PTO can vary significantly. Instead, it simply encourages taking a more creative approach to using your time off, leveraging your specific work calendar to potentially extend your vacation and enjoy a more rewarding break away from the hustle and bustle of work.

If it just so happens that you have the flexibility to take consecutive PTO days, another viral TikTok that suggests the same hack recommends you plan your trips well in advance, and that starts with filing your time off ahead of time. "My biggest piece of advice is to try to get these requests in early," John Liang of @johnsfinancetips noted. Depending on your company's rules, it may be better to put in your request sooner rather than later to improve your chances of getting it greenlit.

And once you get that sweet, sweet approval, you'd also want to book those flights and accommodations as early as possible. The last thing you want is to drop more money than you should because you decided to procrastinate and get your affairs in order at the last minute. After all, the goal here is to burn through your PTO strategically, not burn through your checking account.