Most people view vacation time as a chance to relax and get away from work. However, if you want to make the most of your vacation days, there are a few things you can do to maximize your relaxation when taking PTO time. Here are five tips for doing just that.

1. Plan ahead

First, take a look at your schedule and try to plan your PTO (Paid Time Off) around any big events or deadlines at work. This will help minimize stress and ensure that you’re able to fully enjoy your time off. There are many types of PTO, so make sure you are availing the right one.

If possible, try to schedule your PTO for a time when you know you’ll be able to relax and not have too many responsibilities at home

For example, avoid taking PTO during school holidays if you have young children.

2. Set realistic goals

When it comes to PTO, there’s no such thing as too much planning. By mapping out what you want to do and when you want to do it, you can make the most of your PTO time and come back feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Of course, the first step is to set realistic goals. If you’re hoping to take a two-week trip to Europe, it’s probably not realistic to plan for that during a busy work period. Instead, try something like this: 

“I’d like to take a long weekend trip somewhere within the U.S. I’d also like to spend at least one day exploring my city (or a nearby city) and taking in some tourist attractions. Lastly, I’d like to have at least one day where I can relax at home without any plans.”

By setting smaller, more attainable goals, you increase the chances of actually achieving them. And once you’ve mapped out your goals, the next step is to start planning how you’ll achieve them. If you’re taking a trip, research flights and hotels in advance so that you can book the best deals. And if you’re planning on doing some exploring in your hometown, make a list of places you’d like to see and activities you’d like to do. That way, when PTO time comes around, you’ll be all set and ready to go!

3. Make a list of things to do

Next, make a list of all the things you’d like to do during your PTO. This could include anything from big items like planning a trip or taking a class, to smaller things like catching up on sleep or spending time with friends and family.

Once you have your list, start planning how you’ll really be able to accomplish everything. Don’t try to pack too much into your PTO, or you’ll just end up feeling stressed out.

Prioritize the items on your list and give yourself some flexibility in case things don’t go exactly as planned.

Finally, remember that PTO is meant for relaxation and rejuvenation. Don’t spend your entire vacation working on home improvement projects or checking items off your to-do list. Make sure to schedule some time for yourself to just unwind and enjoy doing nothing. You’ll come back from your PTO feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

4. Stick to your schedule

Creating a schedule and sticking to it is one of the best things you can do for your productivity. When you know what you’re working on each day and when you’re going to do it, you’re less likely to get overwhelmed and more likely to get things done.

There are a few ways to create a schedule that works for you. You can use a calendar, planner, or apps like Google Calendar or Asana. You can also create a list of tasks for each day and order them by priority.

No matter which method you choose, here are some tips for sticking to your schedule:

  • Make sure your schedule is realistic. If you know you can’t realistically work for eight hours straight, then don’t schedule yourself for eight hours. Break up your tasks into smaller chunks and plan for breaks throughout the day.
  • Start with the most important tasks first. This will help ensure that you get the most important things done and avoid feeling overwhelmed later in the day.
  • Stick to your schedule as closely as possible. If something comes up and you can’t complete a task, reschedule it for later in the day or week. Don’t let yourself get behind on your work!

5. Have fun!

PTO is all about having a fun time and really rejuvenating yourself. Here are some ideas for you to consider to add more fun while you are off from work:

  • Plan a getaway. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, plan a trip to a new city or town. There are plenty of resources online to help you find the perfect destination, and budget-friendly options like Airbnb can make travel more affordable. 
  • Staycation. If getting away isn’t feasible or you’d prefer to stay closer to home, consider taking a “staycation.” This involves exploring your local area and discovering new things to do right in your backyard. 
  • Hit the pool or beach. A day at the pool or beach is always a fun way to relax and escape the heat. Pack some snacks and drinks, put on your sunscreen, and enjoy the sun and sand. 
  • Attend a festival or show. There’s always something interesting going on in cities big and small, so check out what’s happening in your area and buy tickets for a festival or show. From music festivals to comedy shows, there’s sure to be something that piques your interest. 
  • Get active outdoors. If you’re looking for an active way to spend your vacation, consider exploring the great outdoors. Hiking, biking, and camping are all great options that can be done in a variety of locations.


Maximizing your PTO time doesn’t have to be hard. Just follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a stress-free vacation. Planning ahead is key, so start thinking about where you want to go and what you want to do as soon as possible.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask for help from friends or family members. With a little bit of preparation, you can make the most of your time away from work and come back feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.