Research Proves This Is The Best Day Of The Week To Take Off Work And It's Not What You're Thinking

Juggling work duties and wanderlust isn't always easy. It takes some strategic planning to maximize your vacation days and find time for trips between project deadlines and team meetings. And when you really need a break from your desk, you most likely take a Friday or Monday off to get an extended weekend — what could be better than three or four back-to-back days of sipping drinks on the beach or camping in your favorite park?

Surprisingly, the long weekend method might not be the best way to recharge, according to experts. Assuming you work Monday to Friday, taking a mini vacation on a Wednesday can be more effective — and more fun. Dawna Ballard, a communications professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a scholar of chronemics, told Quartz that it all comes down to internal and external "pacers." "Everyone has a different chronotype. Some people are slower moving, some people are faster moving," Ballard explained. "Our work, though, just goes and throws that out the window and says actually, this is how fast you have to work, this is when you have to work."

Weekends interrupt this pace, but once you return to work on Monday (or Tuesday, if you choose to take Monday off), you're thrown right back into the grind for several days. Wednesdays offer respite and break up the workload, allowing you to establish your own pace in the middle of the week.

Another benefit: fewer crowds

Whether traveling to a popular tourist destination or visiting a nearby city, it's common knowledge that the weekends can get crowded. After all, many people can only visit restaurants and attractions on Saturdays and Sundays when they're off from work. Data from the website Avoid Crowds backs this up. For instance, the site's tool shows that while July in New York City is often packed with visitors, Wednesdays during the month tend to draw fewer crowds than other days of the week.

Other middle-of-the-week days, such as Tuesday, also tend to be relatively calm, but as travel expert Rick Steves shared in an article on his website, this isn't true for all activities and attractions. He explained that the Palace of Versailles is one place where Tuesdays can be packed with tourists since the museum is closed on Mondays. Wednesdays, on the other hand, aren't usually as congested, allowing for a calmer and more enjoyable experience.

With that said, less visitor traffic in the middle of the week might lead some businesses to shorten their hours on Wednesdays. If you have a specific restaurant or museum in mind, check its hours before taking the day off. Also, note that you might be forced to rule out any late-night activities, considering work will still be waiting for you the next morning.

How to enjoy your Wednesday off

Just because you're only taking one day off doesn't mean you have to stay close to home. A Wednesday off can be just enough time to disconnect from work and hop a flight to a not-too-far-flung destination. Locate the nearest beach or major city and book a same-day round-trip flight to treat yourself to a quick escape. If that sounds too rushed, consider leaving on Tuesday night and returning by Wednesday evening.

For a low-key getaway, head to a national park or, if you're in the U.S., a state park within driving distance. Spend the afternoon fully immersed in nature with your work notifications turned off (you wouldn't want an email from your boss to spoil the fresh air and stunning views, would you?). For some inspiration, check out our list of the 50 most underrated parks in America.

If you'd rather spend your free time catching up on sleep — not driving for hours or flying across state lines — you can still capture the feeling of being on vacation within your own neighborhood. Hit up the touristy attractions in your town that you'd usually skip over — think museums, historical sites, or theme parks. Another way to explore: trying a new form of transportation. If you usually drive, take the bus or hop on a bike for a different perspective. Strolling around on foot can also open your eyes to sights and experiences you'd usually miss during your commute.