How to maximize your PTO in 2024

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“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

So said the great Ferris Bueller and his words still ring true today – which is why it’s so important to sit back, relax, and recharge with a vacation. 

Discovering how to maximize your PTO in 2024 opens up opportunities to make the most of national holidays. It’s the ideal way to slip in a short break overseas or embark on an extended long-haul adventure across the globe if your schedule allows it. 

If this resonates with you, read on to uncover the ultimate PTO hack of 2024. Before you know it, you’ll be planning that much-needed beach vacation or bucket-list adventure

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What is paid vacation?

Paid vacation, also known as PTO, is a period of time allocated to an employee, usually annually, as part of a company’s benefits policy. In addition to PTO, employees may be allocated parental leave, jury duty, sick leave, bereavement leave and disability leave. Paid vacation may or may not include some or all federal holidays, depending on company policy.

Making the most of your paid vacation in the US

If you’re lucky enough to get paid vacation and federal holidays off, you’ll be happy to know that you can use this to your advantage when booking in your PTO. All you have to do is work out when the year’s public holidays fall and calculate your time off around them, to stretch one long weekend into a week – or even several weeks – of holiday time.

Why is this annual leave hack so useful? Well, because it helps you to make the most out of your holiday entitlement; enabling your PTO to go even further. It’s also worth noting that Flash Pack solo adventure trips are especially designed to take the hassle out of travel planning, with all details organized for you. This means you don’t have to spend time worrying about logistics; simply rock up and enjoy your PTO. Find out more about how it works.

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How to calculate your paid vacation

The number of paid vacation days offered by private US employers varies greatly. Employees aren’t legally entitled to PTO or federal holidays. And not all companies offer federal holidays as PTO. Paid time off may also be calculated via an accrual rate outlined in a company’s policies. This means PTO is accrued according to the amount of hours, days or years that you work at any one business.

Most employers offer some form of paid vacation. The average American gets 11 days of paid time off per year, rising to 15 days after five years’ of service and so on. This discrepancy means it’s well worth making the most of those all-important federal holidays to plan your time off, if that option is open to you.

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How to maximize your paid vacation in 2024

If you want to maximize your paid time off in 2024 in the US, you’ll want to save them up and use them around some key dates in the federal holiday calendar. These are as follows:

Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King Day falls on Monday January 15, so treat yourself to a four-day weekend by booking off Tuesday, too.

President’s Day

This year, President’s Day falls on February 19 – leaving you with two options. You can either book off Friday February 16, and indulge in a four-day weekend, or you can take February 20-23 as vacation and enjoy nine long days off in a row.

Memorial Day

If you want to maximise your annual leave and turn Memorial Day (May 27) into a delicious nine-day break, you’ll want to book off four days: May 28-31. Alternatively, you can book off May 24 and relish a long weekend instead.


Another savvy annual leave hack, try taking June 17-18 and June 20-21 off work, timing it around this year’s Juneteenth celebrations, to get nine days all at once.

Fourth of July

Independence Day falls on a Thursday this year, so you can make the most of annual leave by booking just four days off: July 1-3 and 5. This should once again expand four days of holiday into an epic nine-day span of R&R.

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Labor Day

When figuring out how to calculate annual leave in September, bear in mind that Labor Day lands on September 2. Clued-up jetsetters, then, need only book off four days (September 3-6) to get another nine days off at once.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

October 14 is another federal holiday, so booking off October 15-18 (that’s four days) will give you nine consecutive days off work.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day falls on November 11, so booking off November 12-15 will transform four days of annual leave into nine days of vacation time. You might also opt to take Friday 8 off, and make a long weekend of it.


If you want to make the most of annual leave in 2024, set your sights on Thanksgiving. It arrives on November 28 this year, so booking off November 29 is your best route into an extra-long long, lazy weekend. 


To ensure a very happy holidays, be sure to book your time off for December 23-24, 26-27, and 30-31. It’s just six days’ leave, but it’ll unlock an enticing 12-day release once you account for the New Year’s Day federal holiday.

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When does PTO reset?

Before you start booking time off work, it’s important to work out when your paid time off resets. This varies according to company policy but it may fall on January 1, the start of the fiscal year, or the anniversary of the date at which you started your job. Anniversary resets mean your paid vacation time renews annually on the date that you were hired or began a given role. Some companies also allocate PTO according to an accrual system – whereby your paid vacation time builds in relation to the amount of time you’ve been employed at a given business – while others offer unlimited PTO. Confirming when your PTO resets is key to maximizing your paid vacation in 2024, as it will help you figure out exactly how many days you have to play with.

So, in summary, here are the dates you should consider booking to maximize your PTO in 2024:

  • January 16
  • February 16 and 20-23
  • May 24 and 28-31 
  • June 17-18 and 20-21
  • July 1-3 and 5 
  • September 3-6
  • October 15-18
  • November 12-15 and 29
  • December 23-24, 26-27 and 30-31
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Trips to inspire your next adventure

Life is short but wide, meaning there’s every excuse to max out your time off with an adventure abroad. If you’re planning a long weekend, Flash Pack has plenty of short breaks to fit the bill; from five days ice-hiking and jeeping in Iceland to four sweet days on a Finnish private island. Longer vacations, meanwhile, are your best bet for multiple public holiday stretches; think 15 days exploring the wilds of Antarctica, David Attenborough-style, or 12 days discovering the cultural delights of Japan.

By using this PTO hack, and scheduling time off around federal holidays, you’re guaranteed a calmer, more life-enhancing year – not to mention plenty of time to stop and look around once in a while, Ferris Bueller-style. And you’ll have more scope for planning your next great escape, too; be that a date with the wildlife of Antarctica, sensational street food in South Korea, island-hopping in the Philippines or a mosey around the many highlights of Europe. The world is waiting for you…

Flash Pack is a group travel company that specializes in small group adventures for solo travelers in their 30s and 40s. Find out more about how we work, and our mission to build a global community of friendships.

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