Whether you’re planning a family trip for the holidays or a much-needed beach vacation, you don’t need paid time off to make it happen. There are several ways to do this without taking a lot of vacation time from work — maybe none at all. We’ll make sure you’re relaxing by the pool and sipping your favorite beverage in no time.

Still need a reason for that much-needed vacation? Studies suggest that a short trip will make you even happier than a long trip. Plus, vacations can help boost your mental motivation when you return to work.

Rather than giving up vacationing altogether, check out these travel options if you’re short on time or money.

Get more tools to survive your vacation

Taking your work with you while your family is enjoying the vacation can sound soul-wracking, not to mention counterproductive. But if you absolutely have to work, you can at least make the most of it by working from home somewhere else. A sea view hits the back of your colleague’s head every day.

Pay for a hotspot plan for your phone. It pays to be in an environment that lifts your spirits, and you can unsubscribe when you return. Bring an external battery pack to keep your devices going when lounge chair outlets are limited. Anti-glare screens can help you really see what you’re doing in bright sunshine.

Make sure you know how your business works VPN so you can access your files. If you have important meetings that you can’t miss, that’s exactly what video chat apps like zoom or Relaxed are for. When the sun goes down you can really soak up the local flavor, then stay for the weekend and really immerse yourself.

Woman using a laptop on a porch.

Airbnbs can make your business trip feel like a vacation.


Don’t stay in a hotel on your next business trip

You already know you can take vacation days with you before or after a business trip, but consider booking one Airbnb for work instead of staying in a hotel – assuming your company allows it.

You’ll have guaranteed WiFi, a locker with 24-hour access, and extra space to bring family or a travel companion for local dinners. An Airbnb has a more homey personality than an anonymous hotel room, and you can extend your stay over the weekend—you’ll have to pay for the extra days, of course.

Stack your hours to buy more days

If you don’t have much vacation time, talk to your manager about midweek overtime — two hours a day, a Saturday shift, or even a holiday — like July 4th or Labor Day — to “buy” a day that’s too suits your itinerary.

Your boss may be more open if you can stack your overtime around a deadline. Remember that you are not asking for overtime pay, only compensatory time.

A person taking a picture of mountains and a lake

A road trip to a new destination is a great way to vacation from scratch.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Take Instagram-worthy mini-trips

On a budget? No problem. Go the staycation route and use apps like Eventbrite to find out about local events and free concerts nearby.

Or pick a spot on the map and see what adventure awaits, bring lunch, blankets, one of those top coolers and something to read for an impromptu picnic somewhere new. You can also choose a new activity or goal to do after work every night for a week. You might not be going anywhere, but you’ll still find thrills — and new adventures to show your Instagram followers. Check out Roadtrippers to make your getaways feel more spontaneous.

Give yourself a budget so you can afford something – try the Tripcoin app for iPhone and Trabee Pocket for Android and iPhone. You save money overall because you don’t have to pay for plane tickets or a hotel.

a rocky area with a waterfall that leads to a small body of water

Hidden places like this could be miles away.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Apps help manage weekend trips

Traveling over the weekend is a tried-and-true way to get some downtime, and you’ll be surprised how much you can put back in a few days if you’re extra motivated (or how much you can relax).

If you’re flexible on time, an app like Hopper can predict when hotel and airfare prices are cheapest. If it’s more spontaneous, Hotel Tonight will find last minute hotel deals for you.

Want to earn miles on someone else’s car instead of your own? tower is usually cheaper than most car rental companies and you choose the car you want to drive. Plus, you’ll be on your way faster because you don’t have to drive to the nearest airport to pick it up.

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