Understanding the High Cost of Not Planning a Vacation + 3 Winter Vacation Ideas for Richmond Professionals

January 10, 2023
Will Melton, National Editor

Every year, American workers leave an average of nearly five vacation days unused. This lack of planning can be costly – both in terms of money and productivity. But there are hidden costs that people who don’t regularly vacation are blind to. If you’re a professional in Richmond, VA, struggling to lock in vacation time, this article is your relief! Below, we break down the various costs associated with not vacationing and share some inspiration to book a wintertime vacation in 2023.

The Importance of Planning a Vacation

Planning a regular vacation is important if you actually want to take any time off from work. Failing to plan a trip often leads to a use-it-or-lose-it scenario, because regardless of whether the days roll into the next year, the opportunity to vacation this year is lost. With proper planning, vacation becomes possible amongst the many priorities at work, and travelers are able to use their resources more efficiently, making their trips both memorable and cost-effective. The lack of vacation preparation often leads to taking no vacation at all – which has high costs. So what is the true impact of not vacationing?

The High Costs of Not Planning a Vacation

If you’re like most people, you might be putting off planning a vacation because of the perceived high costs. But what you may not realize is that the cost of not taking a vacation can be even higher. When you don’t take a rest from your everyday life, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind and forget what’s important to you. This can lead to mental health consequences and unseen costs.

Vacations provide a much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. They give you a chance to relax and recharge, and see things from a different perspective. The pandemic provided a lot of “hustlers” with the forced opportunity to slow down and reevaluate. What resulted was a great resignation. A planned break provides this opportunity on a regular basis and gives space for needed inspiration – regardless of whether uncertainty or big changes are around the bend.

As a person responsible for sales in our organization, I was in a bit of a mental rut before going on vacation in May of last year. I had plenty of opportunities around but wasn’t making the kind of progress I had in mind for myself. When I returned from vacation, I closed deals totaling seven percent of the previous year’s revenue in a week. With some planning and the assistance of my team, I was able to book revenue while I was on vacation in December. With each vacation I take, the upside becomes more and more apparent. These three things seem to be consistent rewards associated with vacationing:

  1. Vacations provide a clean work slate (upon return) that you do not get if you do not take a vacation. But you have to plan the work and work the plan in order for this to be a reality.
  2. Fresh perspectives bring fresh ideas that can lead to more value creation and perhaps a well-deserved promotion.
  3. Improved work performance is a natural byproduct when you strip away stress. This stress accumulates like layers of an onion with each passing day – it can take several consecutive days off to find real relief.

3 Winter Vacation Ideas for Richmond Professionals

Richmond professionals seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of their day jobs will find a number of winter vacation ideas available in their neck-of-the-woods while more-distant options provide a better climate to boot. For something cozy, relaxing, and close by, Smith Mountain Lake provides a great wintertime respite. Airbnb is a great way to plan a stay that fits your schedule while securing important amenities like a fireplace or a hot tub. If the mountains aren’t your thing, but you’re still looking for water, Virginia Beach provides inexpensive winter getaways without the summertime crowds. Restaurant week in 2023 is January 16 -22 in Virginia Beach. For a more relaxing yet extravagant getaway, El Dorado Seaside Suites, outside of Tulum in Mexico, offers all-inclusive stays, swim-up rooms off the main resort pool, and lots of activities on-site to stay entertained for a week or more.

Failure to plan a vacation in the winter last year had me desperately seeking an escape (definitely a sign you’re overdue for vacation) and was able to book a last-minute and much-needed restorative break at Smith Mountain Lake. A planned vacation to Tulum in December took the cake for all of my vacations over the years. I left feeling like a million bucks and I came home with a tan.

How to Plan Your Departure from Work

On my first planned 7-day vacation since starting Xponent21, my business coach, Brooke Purcell, asked me what I needed to do to go on vacation. I honestly hadn’t thought about it and wasn’t likely to start planning until days before my trip was scheduled. It turns out that there are really only a few things you need to do to secure your leave from work:

  1. Request time off and announce your planned vacation. Let your teammates know that you will be unavailable and make plans to perform work or provide necessary information before your departure or after your return.
  2. Let your clients know that you will be gone. If you are a client-facing professional, be sure to give your clients advance notice of your departure. Everyone knows you need a break and the last thing you need is an interruption in your planned rest.
  3. Put up an away message. This is something you are likely to do anyway, but be intentional to provide instructions to your message senders. Who can they reach to resolve the problem now? Are you going to get back to them when you return or should they plan to reach out to you at some point?

Aside from that, it’s a good idea to plan your work for the week before and after your vacation and ensure work that needs to get done while you are gone is assigned to someone else. I find that there is ample motivation to “get it all done” before leaving and if the plan is well-put-together, you’ll return from vacation with a clean slate.

Vacations are essential for restoring our energy and motivation, especially during the cold winter months when seasonal affective disorder impacts so many of us. Planning a vacation can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be if you follow these steps. With all this taken care of, you’ll be able to enjoy some much-needed restorative downtime without worrying about what’s happening at home or back at the office. Remember: the hard costs of taking a vacation are minuscule in comparison to the reward that they deliver. Don’t wait to reward yourself. You deserve it and so does your team.

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