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Tell HN: Take vacation
188 points by hippich on July 18, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 117 comments
this is my last day of vacation in Mexico and I must tell you it re-energized me! if you didn't take vacation for awhile - take it!

Let's see if I can cover this entire comment thread in one comment.

Taking a break is good for most people. It can help prevent burnout.

People vary greatly in their ability to take vacation due to income, work and family requirements.

People vary even more in what they consider to be a good vacation. Some people like a lot of activity. Some people like lying around. Some people honestly don't like taking time off work. All of these are OK as long you do what works for you.

People in the United States get, on average, significantly less vacation time than their European counterparts.

Some companies have unlimited vacation policies, but unless the culture is unusually positive, these policies are generally harmful in that they require all vacation to be justified in some way.

In other words, there is no way to make a meaningful universal statement about vacation.

My previous job had unlimited PTO and that team sucked mega-donkey balls. It worked despite the culture, here's how:

- large vacation time was scheduled around projects. The SPM gave large priority to devs over the business. Thus priorities were reduced to meet resources for that sprint (SCRUM).

- We had a flexible work schedule so if you needed to be home because the guy fixing your water heater is coming at 3, we made that possible. The philosophy was that as long as you were meeting your targets, everything was peachy.

- We had one guy who would occassionally go on two/three day breaks and not tell anyone - including the SPM. As a team, we just left him alone and if he can't finish his task, oh well, we didn't bail him out.

- Ironically, most of us took fewer vacation days with unlimited PTO. You have the outliers who will gladly abuse it, but prior to my departure, I took a total of four weeks (20 days) of total vacation time. Most companies give that anyways.

Simply put, as long as we gave a long enough notice and put things into the engineering calendar, no one gave a crap. A lot of our unlimited PTO success boils down to prioritizing resources and expectations with the business. This company is around 300 people, so not a small company by all means. We just ensured that we all gave appropriate notice. For me, my formula was 1 month advanced notice for every week I wanted to take, so three weeks off meant three months ahead.

I don't think most companies in the US give 4 weeks PTO. Currently I am contracting but at my last full time gig standard was 1 week, I pushed at hire time and got 2. What are other people's experience with this?

When I started at this place, I had 10 days of vacation and about 8 sick days per year. Within the first 3 months, I had no more vacation, no more sick days, and just 15 days of PTO. Note the mathematical inequality. We were, of course, then required to use PTO days when the office was shuttered due to dangerous weather, and everyone got the flu because no one wanted to scuttle their own summer vacation plans by staying home sick in February.

My experience is that American companies hate the idea that their employees might prefer to do anything at all other than to make more money for the company than it costs to pay out their benefits and wages. This is not a theoretical hate, but an actual, almost tangible hate. They are completely furious that their inefficient meat-robots continually whine about needing to eat, sleep, and eliminate wastes. Never mind wanting to actually leave the workplace.

US companies emphatically do not offer 4 weeks PTO to new hires. You would be lucky to get that after 5 years of continuous employment with the same company. Your mileage, of course, may vary, especially if you are in a particularly labor-friendly job market. My personal experience, however, is that I have never been able to take a vacation longer than 9 continuous days, and those were often constrained by weekends and paid holidays, resulting in 4 days spent from PTO, and 5 days from weekends and holidays.

I would be willing to put up with some of the negative aspects of having a union, if it could manage even as much as stopping my non-paycheck benefits from eroding a tiny bit every year. I have had enough.

I think the US standard is more around 15 days of PTO. That's what I get here. Plus the week between Christmas and New year that is for everybody.

In other words, there is no way to make a meaningful universal statement about vacation.

Except this bit:

Taking a break is good for most people.

But... but it kills your github contribution streak.

Quick, before you go, write two scripts and corresponding cron jobs that convert tabs to N spaces, or N spaces to tabs. Then, set them up to commit to your favorite repo on alternating days.

Now you can enjoy your vacation while pissing off your fellow contributors at the same time!

Spaces to tabs please.

So you can convert them back again, right?

2 spaces 4eva!

Luckily github only looks at the commit date :-)

Which is quite easy to manipulate, with amusing results: https://github.com/jbranchaud/commitart

One key item not noted here: there's a certain minimum amount of vacation you need to take in a row before you stop thinking about work and start actually taking a break. A week normally isn't enough; you need several in a row.

Personally, I like my company's policy of giving periodic sabbaticals, in addition to vacation.

I'll add one bit of colour. At the three places I have worked since 1997, specifically, the teams in those places, vacation/PTO time wasn't rigorously tracked. All three companies officially had vacation and tracked it, but the teams and managers I worked with didn't.

We did put in for vacation, but if we came back early, or extended it a few days (with reasonable notice), it probably would not ever go into the system.

If we were out of the office a day unexpectedly due to illness or family thing, that was almost never put into the system.

If we wanted to take a vacation longer than the number of days we had available, that was just allowed.

From 1997 until 2009 I worked for an enormous (at one time, 'Fortune 1') company. From 2009 until now, I've worked for a pair of mature tech companies in the SF Bay Area.

In my personal experience, it all came down to the nature of the teams you were on, and the managers.

Agreed, every people is different. There isn't the "formula for all".

I'm from Brazil and got curious about the "unlimited vacation", how it works?

I have "unlimited vacation." Basically, there is no allotted number of days for vacation. At first, it sounds great, and for a day off now and then, it is. However, you can't just leave and spend all month at the beach. You have to justify your reason for taking off a week or two, asking yourself questions like "Have I done enough to justify a vacation? Can I take time off and not let down my team?" In contrast, getting a guaranteed number of weeks off doesn't require you to justify any time taken off. Instead, it's viewed as part of your compensation.

With all that said, unlimited vacation is not that bad in a good workplace with an understanding employer and team. I work hard, and I don't feel guilty about taking time off. What's annoying is when employers hire you with the lure of "unlimited vacation" and actually plan on turning you down if you try to go above a normal amount of PTO. In that case, it's all to their advantage.

When it comes down to it, be skeptical anytime an employer says things like "unlimited vacation" or "flexible hours." Unlimited vacation can mean that they just don't have official vacation days (and can deny you time off), and flexible hours can mean hours only flex one way: up. What people often don't see is that while the 40/hr work week and standard 2 - 4 weeks of vacation seem archaic and even oppressive, having time limits can also protect you as an employee. Remove those limits, and you just have to hope your employer continues to promote healthy work habits.

The startup I'm at has "unlimited vacation". Basically there is no set limit on vacation days and we can pretty much take vacation whenever we want if we just give the other people some advance notice say a week or so ahead of time.

That said I have only taken a few weeks of vacation in the last few years for some reason. I should take advantage of it more.

I'm from Brazil and got curious about the "unlimited vacation", how it works?

The U.S. is the only advanced economy without a vacation floor. (To join the EU, 20 days is the lower limit.) Three weeks is typical for an average job (but some companies are sleazy and pool sick time and vacation under "PTO") and two for a crap job.

It's surprising how reliably you can predict the quality of a company and job based on vacation allotment. Four weeks: solid, professional, you'll be treated as an adult. Three: average, mediocre. Two: dysfunctional, run the fuck away. Subtract one week if they use that pooled bullshit ("PTO") where sick leave is deducted from vacation. It's a horrible policy, because it means people come into work sick and everyone gets sick more often, but not only is it (shockingly) legal in the US to deduct sick days from vacation, it's not all that rare.

Generally, the assumption is that you should get one week off per decade (e.g. 2-3 weeks in your 20s, 3-4 in your 30s, 4-5 in your 40s) and that, if you have less than that, you're probably too old for the job you're in (you should be further along). That's not a legal requirement. It's just the cultural expectation. If you're 50 and you're still on two weeks, you haven't succeeded at life.

(It's different for consultants, who get no "paid" vacation but charge a higher daily rate. They can generally take off when they want, and can make more than most salaried people working 100 days/year. If you can pull it off, that seems to be the way to go after 40.)

Some startups have undefined vacation policies. This can be really good (if there's a positive culture) or really terrible (if it devolves into a race-to-the-bottom dynamic). It depends. (The one company, with more than 50 people, that I worked at with "unlimited" vacation was terrible. That's not casual, of course, and it's just one data point.) Better is to set a guideline (4 weeks minimum) but allow exceptions.

In software, the more talented people (until they can become independent) solve this by working "from home" and doing a bit of working travel. Free of office distractions and interruptions, you can actually accomplish more in a 3-hour "day" than most people get done in their 8-10. The downside of WFH is that you're still expected to be available during the full 8 hours, and if people get the sense that you're getting your work done in three, then they ask why you didn't ask for more work.

Honestly curious, what is the alternative to PTO? I don't see why this is such a bad thing - you get X days off, you can use them for whatever reason you want - sick or vacation - as long as X is a reasonable number, what's the issue here?

Having people's sick days deduct from their vacation is an incentive to go to work when you're sick, jeopardizing the health (and productivity) of the team.

A much better solution is vacation days and unlimited sick days, as well as generous work-from-home opportunities for days when you're under the weather but not too sick to work.

The supposition here is that it's very unfair to impose a professional cost on getting sick. I don't see it that way. I see people getting sick because they take lousy care of themselves. They're fat and eat lousy food. Also, they make various idiotic stressful choices like having a 1hr commute, or putting a kid in some germ infested day care.

People who do not make such choices rarely get sick for more than the odd few of days a year. Why should they subsidize poor choices? Not being sick a lot is a reasonable and sensible professional expectation.

You are encouraging those sick people you seem to have a lot of disdain for to come in to the office when they have diseases and spread them to you.

I'm not sure it's "very unfair to impose a professional cost on getting sick" but we don't have a way to measure whether people are sick other than self reporting until they are way past infectious, so you're not punishing getting sick but rather reporting that you are sick, and thus encouraging under reporting, which leads to everyone getting sick more.

Not only do you still have the few odd suck days but you might also have Kids that get sick. If you use up all your vacation time then you can't take any sick days

"PTO" is an accounting ploy to avoid having to pay off leave balances.

The alternative to to accrue leave.

Where I work, we have vacation/sick/personal leave. There are different rules for each, and vacation time accrues and you get paid upon separation.

It's fine if that combined PTO is a healthy number like 25 days. It's sleazy if a company promises three weeks vacation trying to look generous when that three weeks is really combined vacation+sick+personal.

If you have days "Specific" for being sick--that you can't take to "hang out" then you are likely to take them when you get a mild cold-- benefit to the company is you recover faster and you don't spread your germ. However if it's just "PTO" you are likely to not "Waste" your PTO on a mild cold... thus infecting everyone and making you sick and less productive for longer...

1. Companies implement those policies to inflate their vacation policies. In the negotiation phase, candidates don't ask, "do you mean 15 days of vacation, or is it that shitty thing where sick days are pooled with vacation?"

2. It gives people an incentive to come into the office sick. The result is that half the office is ill (but showing up!) all winter. It's pretty disgusting.

If you're trying to build a polar vortex of disease, then implement a pooled PTO system. If you're trying to build a company, then don't. It's that simple. What are you trying to build?

Here's how I would set it up:

* Three weeks minimum vacation. (Investment banks have mandatory vacation and it's not a bad policy.) In tech, that wouldn't be a hard-and-set rule, but taking little vacation should be the choice that needs to be justified. Five weeks paid, anything beyond that is unpaid leave which can be taken without stigma.

* Don't come in if you're sick. It happens to all of us. If you're going to lose more than 10 days per year to health issues, talk to HR about accommodation and we'll try to make something work. If it's less than 10 days (e.g. colds and flus and stomach bugs) then just stay home.

* Don't worry about emergent personal issues. Let people know where you're going, then go. Come to work when you're ready to concentrate on work, not when you have nonsense hanging over your head.

Good points. This is sort of a corollary that "everyone is different". You wouldn't buy your shoes based on the average male/female shoe size so why would you structure something as personal as vacation based on someone else's experiences?

Best way to discover what's optimal for you in such personal matters is trial-and-error. It's your life - experiment and find what makes you feel good. :)

I'm curious if any companies have required (minimum) amounts of vacation. Taking a break seems to be a general positive for productivity, but people with unlimited vacation seem to not take it. What if you were obligated to?

Required vacation time is a security best practice, especially for anyone handling money. This makes it more difficult to perpetrate fraud. It also prevents institutional knowledge from being trapped with individuals, as at least one other person must know how to perform the role of the vacationee.

Can you explain how it makes it more difficult to perpetuate fraud? I've never worked handling money, so I can't picture how that would be the case.

Say you're a bank employee who handles money. It'd be pretty easy to just slip some off the top of each stack every day and take it home. Or arrange the software to skim some into a separate account and pull that money out often enough that the balance never gets high enough to be suspicious.

Both of those things, plus many more, require daily or weekly effort. If you're out of the office, something will go amiss and you'll get caught.

It's fairly commonplace in the federal government to have 'use it or lose it' leave. Only a certain amount of vacation hours can roll over from one year to the next, so those which you don't use and don't roll over are lost.

While it's not mandatory to take that leave, it's a very good excuse for why you want to take several days off.

See more here: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/leave-adm...

Banks have this. In fact, the FDIC requires it.

It's harder to cover up fraudulent trading if you're not there.

Most jurisdictions require a certain number of days out of the office for people who work in finance. In Japan, it's ten consecutive business days each year. In the US I believe it's five.

Usually internal controls require that financial people in payables/receivables take a least a week off.

If there was an HN equivalent of Reddit Gold, you'd get it for this.

Amusing :)

NEVER!! hack hack hack hack hack

Actually, I'm just wrapping up a ~4 month vacation after a grueling year of creating a product, launching it, and failing. I was so cynical about programming by the time it failed and felt like I lost the spark. It was just a boring means to an end and everyday I had new ends to meet.

I finally feel good about programming again and I think I'm actually better than ever. You really see the forest from the trees after being away from it for awhile. I recommend a long break to anyone who is currently feeling like programming has lost its magic. It hasn't -- it's still a wonderful means to express your creativity.

I am currently on an indefinite hiatus/sabbatical/vacation after quitting my job at the beginning of June. I had been working on a project I didn't enjoy for a year and a half, culminating in the most horrible failed iterations I've ever been a part of: a new feature we started last November -- that should have taken maybe two months -- didn't get finalized until May. I've never been so discouraged and burned out on programming in my life.

I knew I'd need time to "heal" after that experience. It took a month and a half but I'm finally starting to feel interested in coding again. I'm really glad I took that time (and that I was lucky enough to have the means and an understanding SO).

If I didn't have bills I needed to pay, I would take a longer hiatus. Earlier this year, I was let go from my position as a senior software engineer. My review months before was like "you're a great dev, here's a 4% raise" and then a few months later "Your performance is horrible, you're fired."

Immediately, I began looking for work but I knew I needed to heal from the experience. I have a job now but there are times it crosses my mind that maybe I should have taken more of a hiatus. But I had enough money in my savings for only five months. I like my new job but there are times I get so tired, next year I might just take a month off and get some rest.

I'm sorry that happened to you. I think thoughtful feedback is so important (for any job!) but it never seems to happen. If you're doing well, you might get a generic pat on the back. If you go off the rails you don't hear about it until it's practically too late, if at all. It's one of those things where if everything's going OK, it's like your team doesn't even exist, but if something goes wrong suddenly upper management knows all your names.

Sorry you had a bad experience. Coding brings me joy now and I would never intentionally bring suffering to people helping me see a common goal brought to fruition. While I don't like ruling by democracy, ruling with EMPATHY is a requirement. What are you thinking about working on now?

The most frustrating thing about the slippage is that you couldn't really point to anything as the reason it happened. It wasn't just "poor management" or "poor effort" or "changing specs". I still can't satisfactorily answer WHY. Actually I wonder if the whole team wasn't burned out before we even started.

I haven't figured out what direction I want to go this time. If I want to be more contractor-ish I might go for mobile again, but if I'm honest with myself I prefer working on web apps. Just getting tired of the recruiters and company culture that seem inextricably connected with working on them.

Sometimes projects are just meh. Happens. And, just in case you get an itch for hacking on something cool again: http://github.com/stackmonkey/. :)

You have such an upbeat view after such dedication followed by failure. It's hard, so thumbs up to you!

What do you think were the contributors what you say is your failure?

In the last two years I've

* gotten cancer

* gone through surgery and chemotherapy

* beaten cancer

* watched my stepfather die of cancer

* wrote and self-published a book

* gotten married earlier than planned

* moved across the country

* watched my mother-in-law die of cancer (why we got married early)

* bought a house

* gotten married again on our original date

In that time I have been away from work for quite a bit of time but I have taken exactly three real days of "vacation", when we went on a short honeymoon after the big wedding.

I need a break, preferably multiple consecutive months, but we don't have the cash to make it through. And so I continue.

Can you cut some expenses in a way that doesn't lower your self-perceived standard of living too much? see www.mrmoneymustache.com for inspiration.

You seem to have a lot of resilience, so using more of your income to buy more time should be an easy feat for you. Especially with the life perspective I am sure you gained from going through all that.

Whatever you do, good luck.

Thank you for the recommendation. I've been devouring MMM since you posted and I've already made a few changes to bring spending down.

Damn man keep fighting! I hope you get that much needed vacation. You deserve it.

Sell the house!

I don't think my wife would agree to that, but it's a thought.

I'm actually required to, oddly enough. Well, nobody will stop me from working during the holiday if I want, but I have to file one and at least officially be "on vacation", for one contiguous 3-week period every summer (defined as between March 1 and September 30). Unless I get a manager's approval in writing that special circumstances justify skipping the vacation this year.

(A financial reason is that the company doesn't want unused vacation accruing on their books, because it represents a liability that in some circumstances can be cashed out. A non-financial reason is that having a high % of employees who don't take a proper summer holiday can lead to quality-of-workplace statistics that look poor.)

According to the Security+ exam, and I suppose other security recommendations, is that it's a good idea to have mandatory vacations. It apparently can help detect fraud and other issues.

I think it was RAND Corp that has financial penalties if you don't use a minimum number of vacation days a year.

Banks will usually force their employees to take full weeks of vacation. That way, if an employee is skimming off the books a regular amount each week, they will notice that on the week the employee isn't present.

I moved to Europe, mostly because I wanted more vacation time and the opportunity presented itself. Don't regret it for a minute.

Three and a half years ago I had 5 days of PTO per year. Admittedly it was a crappy job, but even so.

Now I have 22 days' PTO, plus 12 annual holidays. I make more money and pay less in rent, too.

Would you mind sharing which country are you working and what are the visa restrictions, if any?

Note that only having 22 days is pretty low by European standards. Here in Sweden we have 25 days by law, and many people have an additional week or two.

4 weeks of annual leave, plus a ridiculous amount of public holidays in Australia. We'd be pretty close in standard.

had a quick glance through his history, and it's ireland. (I'll remove this if you want OP). Can I just throw in that Ireland has some definite advantages, however living in Dublin is painfully expensive, and the money here (for lower level positions at least) is less than that of the UK

You are correct, it's Ireland. As far as visa restrictions go it seems to be somewhere between extremely difficult UK and relatively simple Germany.

Cost is all relative, I guess. Pay is lower than SF, but I also am paying less than half of what I would for my apartment. Given that I was spending a lot of money to take what vacation I could in Europe anyway I actually save a good deal on vacation budget this way too.

I find I have to be careful in conversations because I sometimes gasp at how cheap places are, perhaps insensitively. I guess I just got used to apartments always being $2000+. Of course, it still stings that a "cheap" pint is €5 (I remember two dollar beer night in college not so many years ago!)

> but I also am paying less than half of what I would for my apartment. Out of curiosity (I understand if you don't want to say) but roughly how much are you paying for your apartment, and how close to the city is it? I'm paying almost 1500 USD for my 2bed apt not far from the city centre, and the landlord is increasing the rent in September (I'm leaving anyway). The saving of ~500 dollars per month I would imagine doesn't last very long when you factor in everything else. I don't know what income differene you have, but a month ticket for bus only is 140 euro, (190 dollars), a beer is €5 (cheap in the city centre)and I find shopping in general to be more expensive than home (outside Dublin, but still in Ireland).

No problem; it's useful information. €800 (about $1080 at the moment), and next to Dublin castle, for a 1 bedroom apt in an old building with quirky plumbing. As I mentioned, it's not the fanciest area, but it suits me nicely. Bull and Castle is nearby and has a nice array of craft beers too. Work is less than 10 minute's walk away. A place like this in SF close to the office, tourist attractions, and not terribly high crime would be $2 grand+, I think. Something like this: http://www.padmapper.com/show.php?source=3&id=193107035&src=...

I'm not sure what $500 per month you refer to, but I'm guessing transportation costs. I have generally preferred living in places that didn't require owning a car, and find it makes a huge difference. I was in Berkeley for a while, and Santa Monica after that. Note that in Santa Monica I found it necessary to share a car with the gf; You can get around SM fine with a bicycle but LA remains a desolate suburban hellscape.

In San Francisco, a _1 bed_ apartment would often be over $2000.

Well, I mean, Dublin's very expensive, but it's not as expensive as San Francisco, say.

You sure about that? A quick glance at http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?coun... tells me that there is a difference in rent, (I know it's not accurate) but I know that the rent in Dublin has increased from that figure. Most people I know are now paying 1400-1600 USD for 2bed apartments, so I guess SF could have changed too.

I think the main difference is that in Dublin you can get cheaper without going terribly far from the city center. The sense of scale here is drastically different; the "suburbs" are 4 km from the city center. I live right in the middle of the city (not the poshest part, admittedly) a 5 minute walk from work and a 10-15 minute walk from basically every major attraction, and pay €800 per month for a 1 bedroom. By comparison, I used to pay $650 for one bedroom in a Victorian in Berkeley near Ashby BART, and that was 4 years ago before rents quite blew up. That $650 was stunningly cheap, in my view; my friends had higher rents for worse places. Fortunately I had awesome roommates.

Also, while it is certainly possible to live in SF without a car, it's even easier in Dublin, which saves money as well.

And again, I'm just a sucker for Europe. I was spending $2 grand a year on plane tickets to get over here, and now it's an €80 (or so) flight away.

> but I know that the rent in Dublin has increased from that figure

1270USD is about 950 euro; at a pinch, you can still get a city centre 1 bed for that, though a bit over 1000 would be more common. I'm also a bit suspicious of its restaurant costs; they seem high for Dublin, and its telecoms costs, while reasonable a few years ago, are now too high.

geekam - I don't see any contact info in your profile; email me if you want to chat re: visa stuff. gettingoutofamerica.com can be helpful as well. I actually have meant to start my own repository of immigration information at pond-crosser.com but haven't gotten around to really getting it up and running.

Sorry, I just saw your response. It is tough on HN to follow up.

Email me at geekamja@gmail.com. I am not a US citizen though, I just work here on a visa. However, the whole process of Permanent residency is so long and slavish.

I'm 49 years old. Almost 50. Been a hacker, entrepreneur, and coder all of my life.

One of the things I've learned that I found most shocking? That changing things up makes a huge difference in my productivity -- and it becomes more and more difficult to do.

I think the term "vacation" is a bit loaded here. Sure, go to the beach. Travel. But there's a deeper truth here: you need to regularly make yourself work, relax, and play in different atmospheres. It's very good for you. So go work at a coffee shop. Work in a city park. Take a week and live in a cabin without electricity. Take your development team and go out to the parking garage and work using cafeteria tables and metal chairs. Whatever. Purposely vary the conditions and surroundings of your life. This is not an optimization problem; you are not trying to find the perfect place. Instead, it's diversity: people are very prone to getting in intellectual ruts. It's difficult to see this when you're in one. Mixing up environments is a proven way to identify this.

I just took a weeklong backpack trip. Sure, getting out for an overnight on the weekend is fun, but there's something that happens after more than a couple of nights on the trail. You forget what day it is. You lose track of time, and it doesn't matter because your only responsibilities are 1) hike to your next camp 2) setup camp 3) make dinner. No email, no action item lists, nothing but the freedom to think about nothing for a week. I can heartily recommend it.

I always work more efficiently after disconnecting for a while. It helps me forget the mental clutter that builds up over time.

Where were you backpacking? This sounds alot like Nepal, where I've been for the last 2 months on a kind of workcation.

Sierra Nevada.

An interesting follow up that just occurred to me: there was a surge in PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) through hikers back during the dot-com bust. The theory was that lots of unattached moderately wealthy suddenly jobless young people took advantage of the situation. Since it does take something like 6 months and about $7k (USD), it's something that I've never done and feel like maybe I missed my opportunity when I was laid off. The younger and less attached you are, the better, so just consider that the next time you are between jobs. Of course, there's also other super long trails (AT, PNT, GET, etc) to take your pick from.

After a horrible year and a half, which included moving to a new city without any support structures, working remotely for a company not geared for it, losing my mom to suicide, working for a startup which I had to threaten to pay me, doing part-time work for another startup which will probably not pay me, and a failed relationship, I am happy to say that I have a month long holiday abroad coming up soon!

Looking forward to the break and coming back with a clear head!

Shit brother, I'm looking forward to you getting a break now as well.

Just finished a nice trip in the Rockies, including many day hikes. On some trails, the isolation and quiet was astounding - sometimes an open space can be the most silent and wonderful thing. (Not to mention the vistas, which were awesome)

Sometimes, a change of scenery can be very fulfilling.

Just went up to the Flatirons myself last month. It was amazing :) Not only the nature but the towns around there were nice. Took awesome photos, felt re-energized when i came back :)

But bro I'm killing it working 23 hours a day 365 days a year. My VC tells me this is the only way to be successful. Right? Right? Guys?

Ever once in a while we see posts about how important it is to take a vacation, but one thing we never see is about actually planning and budgeting in order to be able to take one.

What are the ways people currently budget for vacations?

Personally the way I do it now is I actually have a separate checking account that is used _specifically_ for vacations, _end of list_. Every time i do a consulting gig, I break it down the money like this:

33% - into business checking account for taxes

the remaining 66% is broken down to:

25% - another business checking account for expenses 25% - into a personal savings account 25% - into the vacation checking account 25% - to paying off debt (CC, mortgage, whatever)

There are times in a startup, where you simply have to do the work without thinking too much. This is for instance when you have finished all your wireframes and then you simply have to code it down for two months. This is simply grunt work, where you don't need to think much, you only need to get it done.

Then there are phases in a startup, where you need insane creativity. These phases are for instance after you've found product/market fit, say you got to 10,000 users with your product, however, now you need to figure out how to get to 100,000.

In these times it's not worth at all pushing 18h days, it's much better being a balanced human being who goes out with friends, does their exercise and eats well, because all you need at that point is ideas and creativity.

I had two weeks of vacation after finishing my masters, and am now back to work until September, when I start my PhD. I'm grateful for those two weeks... but I wish I could have afforded to take more time off.

Whenever I take vacation all I think about is how many days left till I have to go back to work. Vacations are like one big countdown clock looming over me. I'm honestly less stressed at work I think.

You're stressed out.

Take two weeks. You'll be amazed how much better you feel week 2.

Vacation doesn't have to involve going anywhere exotic, by the way. A vacation should really just be a time you are free from your main responsibilities and free from stress. So that means you could do it from home, but hacking away on a side project you've been stressing about finishing may not be the best idea (unless, of course, it causes you no stress).

I can't afford going far or for long...

Anyone know of any sites that list nice affordable family vacations within driving distance of x ?

I usually get unbelievably depressed on the last day of my vacations because it means I have to come back to my awful life.

Good idea. I've got plenty of PTO days (which I've been rationing carefully throughout the year), and I reckon it's definitely time to burn a few more days for an ultra-long weekend.

Besides, the weather's novahot at the moment and it's quite hard to work when you're being boiled alive.

I think it's not the vacation itself, but the change of the environment what makes the re-energizing effect. If you feel burned out and can't afford a real vacation, just try changing a thing or two about your life routine every week... even small changes can be really refreshing.

Income and work demands aren't a problem for me, but they are for most of the close friends that I would want to vacation with. I have been putting off arranging a trip for myself, and a big part of that is I don't think I would enjoy myself nearly as much alone.

That's funny you should mention vacation. Like many, I am a tad bit burnt out, but my company will not let any employee take vacation in July to prepare for their annual convention. Not a single employee can take off for 30 days, regardless of position.

I'm moving house on the 28th and I've taken a week off - it won't take me a week but this way I get to move in (with the other halves parents, again (so we can save for a house)), relax and take a well earned break.

Two weeks coming up! Another two weeks will be taken out at the end of the year :)

My vacation isn't far off at all now! First in a good few years, and my first time abroad - certainly looking forward to living without stress for a short while!

Last day of my 3-week solo backpacking trip in Brazil today. Feeling recharged and I can't wait to get back into coding again.

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” -Bob Dylan

I was just thinking about doing a 8-12 month around the world trip. Anyone care to join?

Contact info in sig. (I'm based in SF)

Welcome back to the real world :) I'm going on holiday at the end of August. Sussex and the Edinburgh Fringe!

I'll be wandering around the Italian alps next week.. looking forward to come back re-energized too ;)

A week in Mexico starting tomorrow :P

Sorry, I'm in launch mode. :)

Then get off HN! You got bugs to fix!

can't wait for August to take a break from my daily job! The more I'll change my lifestyle in this short time, the more my brain will "refresh". I hope everyone here will find his own "vacation", regardless of the budget.

I'm leaving for SF today...for vacation, in case that's not clear lol

Deal. Heading to Portland in a few weeks!

Will do.

What did ya do there?

No. Nothing beats hoarding vacation days.

Vacations are for the weak

The weeks are for vacation.

How you gonna raise money or make your site work without JavaScript enabled if you do that? smh.

How come this shit got on the landing page?

You would be surprised how many devs / techies don't take enough time off.

I used to work for a company where most of us had between 24 and 28 free days / year and it was pretty normal to see people having 40 or more days left, counting the current and the previous year...

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