How To Maximize Your Time Off

Maximize your 2024 escapes with a clever PTO plan.

Couple having dinner
Photo courtesy of The Hythe Vail.

Welcome to the last Tuesday of January, also known as National Plan for Vacation Day. This initiative, birthed by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off, is more than a gentle prod to use your hard-earned vacation days—it’s a clarion call to action. Astonishingly, Americans forfeited 768 million vacation days in 2022, a staggering sum of untapped rejuvenation. PTO isn’t merely a reminder; it’s an imperative to plan and relish your well-deserved breaks—and be healthier because of it.

Travel is shown to boost your mood and positively impact your mental health, alleviating stress for periods much longer than your time away. Not to mention that seeing the world can make you more creative. And trips that connect you to nature (like many of the ones you’ll take in Colorado) are associated with better health and well-being.

But here’s where the plot thickens. Visit Colorado has been playing fairy godmother, conjuring up deals to turn your Colorado dreams into reality. Peek at, and you might just find yourself booking a ski-in/ski-out escapade at the Grand Hyatt Vail with a juicy $200 spa credit, for example.

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Now, let’s talk strategy. A viral TikTok sensation, amassing 6 million views, unveils a clever hack: maximize your days off while minimizing PTO usage. It’s a masterclass in calendar craftsmanship. Repeat the trick around bank holidays in January, February, May, July, September, November, and December. The result? A rolling schedule of mini-sabbaticals, punctuating your year with rest and rejuvenation.

Here’s how you can orchestrate your escapes: take Jan. 2–5 off, and behold, a 9-day hiatus unfolds. Jan. 16–19 gets you another 9-day winter wonder. Feb. 20–23, hit the slopes then settle in for nine cozy nights. Endure March and April in the office, then take off May 28–31 for a nine-day spring revival. Your summer sojourns surround June 20 & 21 and July 1–3 and 5. Send the season off in slow-paced style over nine days with a Sept. 3–6 PTO request. Nov. 12–15 gets you nine days around Veterans Day, and give thanks for another nine days with Nov. 25–27 and 29. End the year with a bang by taking Dec. 23–24, 27, 30–31—that’ll get you 12 days away from office banter.

The only question is: what will you do with this bounty of free time? Our Statecation column archives are a treasure trove of Colorado’s finest retreats, from tranquil spas to adrenaline-fueled adventures. Dive in at, and tailor your year to be an odyssey of discovery and relaxation, all within the borders of Colorado.