How To Ask For 6 Weeks Time Off Work To Travel

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Asking for vacation time is everyone’s right. You have worked hard, and you’ve earned some time off.

For those living in Europe or Australia, it’s not such a daunting task asking an employer for time off, but here in the U.S., people often don’t take their vacation days for fear of losing their jobs, or fear of looking like they don’t care about their job or that they will be replaced.

Asking for time off for six weeks can often go one of two ways, depending on your employer and their flexible mindset.

But you don’t have to give up you job for a life of travel and there is no shame in wanting to keep your job to pay off some bills, and also want to take an extended period of time to travel.

You only live once.

If you’re feeling some trepidation about asking your employer for time off to travel, then here’s some steps you can take to approach the subject and get a WIN-WIN for all parties…

How To Ask Your Employer For 6 Weeks Off To Travel

overlooking colorful buildings of vernazza and small harbor beach
Cinque Terre

1. Build up trust with your employer

You will be more successful getting time off if you prove yourself to be a trustworthy, valuable employee before you ask.

I am lucky that in my particular line of work (bookkeeper) I have a lot of flexibility, and I’ve also built up a trust with my employer for 4.5 years, which had helped my cause.

My employer knows me well as a person, and knows whether I am reliable or not.

You might be worried about your employer saying no to your request, but they are worried you might not come back to your job, causing them stress and financial burden in finding a replacement for you.

Don’t forget, the hiring process takes time, resources and finance to do, so they only want to do it once to find a temp for you.

You need to first have a reputation of being a loyal, hardworking, and an invaluable employee. You need to have a good rapport with your boss, so you can be sure your job is there when you return.

2. Give them plenty of notice

people standing in a garden

Scott was a key employee at his job, and felt it would be tough for his office to get by without him, unless they hired a temp.

Hiring a temp last minute would be close to impossible, since it would take weeks to train somebody and they might not be able to cover all the jobs in his position.

If you have a job that requires someone to cover for you while you take time off, give plenty of notice. I would say about 4-6 months for most employers is average for six weeks or more time off.

3. Understand what your contract says

Most contracts will have your vacation days allocated, and it might even say something that says you can only have two weeks off at a time.

Most employers will have a contract renewal phase, or have a clause that allows you to have a contract break.

You can always approach the subject of having a “contract break” when your contract comes to an end, and restarting it in six weeks time.

Make sure you read the paperwork you have signed to see what you have allocated and what loop holes you can find.

It’s going to be a hard “no” from your employer, if you try to ask for something outside of your agreed contract.

4. Opt to travel in your slow season

Lady floating in water at a beach
The Exuma Islands are perfect in January

Every industry has a slow season, usually around Thanksgiving and Christmas (unless you’re in retail) when people are thinking more about the holidays and spending time with family.

It might be that January is your slow month.

Whatever industry you’re in, try to organize a trip for a time when your absence is less of a burden on your employer.

5. Catch your boss in a good mood

woman sitting on lounge on computer

This may sound like an obvious piece of advice, but you want to ask your employer when they’re in a good mood, for obvious reasons.

You don’t want to pour petrol on the fire, by delivering the news that they may be facing with a man down for six weeks.

Generally speaking, early morning on a Monday or Tuesday is a good time to ask, because there’s less likelihood of something annoying them before they come to the office.

End of the day on a Friday is not a good time. They are tired from the week, they want to go home, they may be stressed – you know your boss, you know their mood.

Use your best judgement on when the best time to ask is.

Tips for Asking Your Boss For Time Off

Getting time off work to travel

Well, these are some tips that worked best for us:

Ask in a way that is nonthreatening. I think it’s pretty obvious that you don’t want to say… “If you don’t let me have this time off, I’m going to quit.” Even if that really IS your backup plan.

Here is what we said to our employers:

“My job is very important to me. I don’t want to jeopardize my position in this company. This is something I have been wanting to do for years, and I don’t want to miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

If you start with this approach, you are showing your employer that you really do care about their company. If you feel comfortable with it, you can add that you are willing to spend some unpaid time training your temporary replacement.

If your employer does agree to hiring a temp while you are gone, it would be wise to make that transition as easy as possible for your employer.

I would suggest organizing a binder of step by step instructions of your daily responsibilities. It’s very likely that your temporary replacement won’t remember everything, and you don’t want to get constant calls or emails while you are on your trip.

I would say too that after you go, you should plan to continue to work there for at least 6 months to a year, out of respect for your boss.

If your plan is to quit right away after you get back, then what would be the point of asking to save your job?

Final Thoughts

Even though my boss is very lenient, I still get nervous when it comes time to ask for time off.

Fortunately, my boss is understanding, and assures me that my job would still be there when I got back.

If taking an extended break from your job in order to travel is important to you, then there are always ways of making your dreams a reality.

At the end of the day, if you work for an employer who would laugh at your dreams, and doesn’t care about your happiness, then why are you working there?

You first have to give respect to your employer by being a dependable worker. After you have proven yourself, if you don’t get the respect you deserve in return, there is nothing wrong with walking away.

As with most things in life… it doesn’t hurt to ask. And like us, you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Author Bio: Christy is the owner of the travel blog, Ordinary Traveler, which aims to inspire others to take life by the reins and fulfill their dreams of travel, without giving up their day job. You can follow their journey at Ordinary Traveler and visit their Facebook page.

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