With my parents moving quite a distance away, the issue of getting down to visit them has been on my mind a lot lately. The drive is 12 hours long, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable making it all by myself. I don’t think I could make it in one trip either, so I’d have to stop at a hotel for the night, which would add to the expense. It therefore makes more sense to fly, and booking this far in advance saves me some money. A round-trip flight looks to be around $210, which is cheap considering I will get a free place to stay and free meals.
I have to give two months notice to my job before I take any vacation, which kind of sucks because my parents weren’t aware of when they would close on the house until yesterday, so I had no way of giving them advance notice to help them move. Thus, I plan on (hopefully) being able to take off around Labor Day, so I can use one less vacation day.
My Vacation Predicament
My job is not very lenient with days off – in our industry being available is important. Before, this wasn’t an issue – I actually haven’t taken a full day off since I started working. I feel too guilty about it, and everyone in my office works very hard. As an example, my coworker had to take her father to the hospital a few weeks ago, and was SO distraught when telling me that I had to tell her to stop being ridiculous. When she should be worried about her father’s condition, she is fretting about when she can get into work. I don’t think I would go that far – if one of my parents was in the hospital I’d be too busy having an anxiety attack. My coworker is obviously not someone who takes advantage of time off, but she has had some troubles recently that has led her to miss more work than she would like. I can’t even bring myself to call my bosses to tell them I might be late! It’s horrible, and as a result I’m getting a little burnt out. I would love a day to just relax, or a proper vacation with a week full of no worries!
So I only get five days for vacation at the moment. Since the end of the year is near I don’t have any qualms with using them all toward visiting my parents. R doesn’t have any vacation time yet since he only started his new job in April, so at least I don’t have to consider someone else in my plans. My parents will be living near a hot vacation spot in the US, so if I feel the urge to be touristy it’s not difficult. However, next year, this will be quite a dilemma. R will have vacation time and understandably using that to see my parents wouldn’t be amazing. Neither of us have taken an actual vacation together, and I’d love to go out of the country! But, if I only get one week long vacation a year, I have to choose between tropical beaches and my parents.
What Options Do I Have?
My parents can come up and visit us at any time, which they will, but I would rather be able to dedicate all my time to seeing them instead of coming home from work and having dinner with them. Then there is the option of a joint-vacation where we can all go to the tropics together, but my dad isn’t really a beach person. I don’t like having to choose! I can’t place a value on family time, especially since my parents aren’t getting any younger. I can only hope our plans will work out and we will be able to live closer to them so that weekend trips are possible, but as it stands, this will be the predicament I am placed in next year.
Vacation time, or even flexibility, is one reason why I would love to be able to work from anywhere! I can do a portion of my job online, but the other part requires having physical copies of documents. I wish I could take a guilt-free vacation, but I know what I went through when my coworker took her vacation a few months ago – being down one person really hurts our small office. However, I would really regret putting my work before my family if anything happened. Ideally, in the future, I’d love to get a job with more flexibility. It’s interesting that while vacation time wasn’t a priority for me a year ago, now it is! As circumstances change, sometimes values change.
Taking It All Into Consideration
Everyone’s family situation is different, and it makes me feel like I’m being a little dramatic about the whole thing. R isn’t phased at all by moving away from his mom – they don’t have the best of relationships, and he went away to college and enjoyed his time apart from her. I really do place an emphasis on my parents and my grandma – they mean a lot to me, and I make as much time as possible to see them. They’ve done a tremendous amount for me over the years and it’s my turn to give back. Even if a flight cost a ridiculous amount I think I would suck it up, save for it and pay for it. At the end of the day, I know I’ll be happier putting my family high on the priority list. I just don’t think you can put a price on such things, so there is really no “saving” here, except on the price of a plane ticket. At least there is Skype!
Does anyone else visit family during the year? How do you make arrangements? How important is it for you to see family?