more »" />


by Meghann on April 28, 2010

  • Breakfast for the plane – Check!
  • Snack for the trip – Check!
  • Netbook – Check!
  • Camera – Check!
  • Power cords – Check!
  • More clothes then I’ll need for 5 days, but still feel like I need to pack more – Check!

I think that’s it?

I stayed up way too late packing last night. I bought a new suitcase on Monday that is much larger than my old one and I think I went a little overboard taking advantage of the extra space. Good thing I was planning on checking my bag anyways, right?

I tried to make the most out of my gym experience this morning. I’m not sure what my availability will be to work out over the next few days, so I made it count while I could.

I started with an arm strengthening session, moved on to the 15 minute ab class, followed by a 30 minute speedwork session on the treadmill and ended with 10 minutes of lunges. I really made the most of the hour and a half I spent in the gym and felt great once I was finished.

When I made it back to my desk I dug into my pre-packed breakfast of over night oats in a jar.


I finished on this jar of Peanut Butter preparing last night’s peanut butter blondies and happily used it as a vessel for this morning’s breakfast.

IMG_5743 IMG_5746

In the jar:

  • 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
  • 1 container Chocolate Oikos
  • Almond Milk
  • Chia Seeds
  • Cacao Nibs


I added some apple at my desk.


This really is the ideal portable breakfast. 🙂


How Can You Take So Much Vacation?!?!

This is a question I get a lot. Yes, it does seem like I take a lot of vacations and get a lot of time off of work, but really that is not the case. 

As I’ve discussed in previous posts I have a problem with dipping into the hole for PTO. Lucky for me I have a great company that allows us to do that and are great with granting most of our leave requests.

Still I love to travel and see the world and try to be careful with how much time I actually ask off. Here are a few of my secrets to getting away without digging into PTO:

  • Spread your vacations over the weekends. I will be in San Francisco for a total of five days, however I will only be taking 3 days of PTO since two of those five days fall on a weekend.
  • Tag vacations on to the end of work trips. For New Orleans I didn’t have to take any time off since I was over there for business anyways. Once I was done with work on Friday I was more than ready to start my vacation without any additional traveling.
  • Take advantage of three day weekends. If there is a three day vacation in the forecast you know I will be away. Last July 4th I went on a cruise. For labor day I was in Key West. And I took advantage of the multiple days off during the holidays with a trip to Colorado.

Those are just a few tips. Do you have any to add?!?!

1 runningwithsass April 28, 2010 at 9:40 am

unfortunately I am a teacher and we are not allowed to take days off surrounding 3 days weekends. Everyone things its so great we have summer and christmas off etc. BUT those times of year are the most expensive to travel and the most crowded, so it’s really not that great after all! 🙁

have fun!

2 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) April 28, 2010 at 9:40 am

Happy travels!!!! I always pack waaay too much clothes and end up wearing less than 1/3 of it. Such is the life of a female 🙂

3 Jenny April 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

Have a great trip! My only advice is to enjoy it to the fullest!

4 caitlin April 28, 2010 at 9:42 am

just curious, when you say you are dipping into the PTO hole, does that mean you are taking unpaid days off or you are negative PTO? one of my former employees was negative PTO and he didn’t get a last paycheck because he had to “pay” the company back his time.

5 Meghann April 28, 2010 at 9:49 am

It’s negative PTO and when i left my last job the same thing happened to me. I think I ended up ‘owing’ the company like 4 hours of PTO that they took out of my paycheck. It was no big deal at the time, I think I was just so happy to be leaving that I happily let them take the money from me rather than having to work an extra two weeks to make up for it.

6 britchickruns April 28, 2010 at 10:05 am

Have a great trip! I don’t have a job (I’m a student) so I couldn’t give any tips…but it seems like you’ve got that area covered!
Love the OIAJ 🙂

7 Nicci April 28, 2010 at 10:07 am

I like when we have down time on work trips, I try to take vacations around that time too.

8 BethT April 28, 2010 at 10:09 am

I will give you a “dress in layers” tutorial so you can pack less next time 🙂 Honestly, the weather changes so much here (daily, in fact) that it’s better to have more clothes.

9 Bobbi April 28, 2010 at 10:12 am

Have fun dear! You won a little something on my blog 🙂

10 Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) April 28, 2010 at 10:34 am

I like what Beth said about a layers lesson… I am from Northern California and if there´s one thing you learn to do in the SF Bay, it is to layer efficiently 🙂 It will really change your life. Ten items, fifty outfit possibilities for every type of restaurant… or weather. I guess that is more important. Have a great vacation!

11 Britt @ Runnerbelle April 28, 2010 at 10:40 am

Now if only my work would budget more travel in again…. we used to travel more but that got cut big time.

I often to try leave for a driving trip right after work if possible. We go to Cape Cod every summer as we have family with a house there, we head down on a Tuesday night…. no traffic, I get two days of work in, but also I get to wake up the next day at my destination rather than fighting traffic earlier in the day. We then head home the following Wednesday…. I take 6 days off, but I don’t have to travel on the weekend when the traffic is nutty. Plus that way it totally feels like an escape…. 8 days of fabulous Cape Cod. Oh and I have two short work weeks! I have time to get caught up on emails thursday & friday when I get back, so the following week I’m all caught up.

As for layers…. cardigans & scarfs are your friends.

12 Caitlin in MD April 28, 2010 at 10:41 am

I don’t get PTO, per se…I get vacation days, and sick days, and they are separate. Vacation days are VERY valuable to me, so I am very careful about when and how I use them! Here are some things I do:
a) Plan ahead as much as possible, to ensure that I have enough vacation days to use them when I want/need to.
b) Decide what is important to me (extra time off at Christmas, for example) and what is not (random days off, like my birthday…I’d always rather save vacation time for something awesome or a bigger chunk of time)

Also, my company now offers the opportunity to work a compressed work week…basically, working longer days in order to have a Friday off once a week or every 2 weeks. I take advantage of this and its GREAT because I can plan long weekends without having to take vacation time, or just have an extra day at home to get stuff done!

13 Anna April 28, 2010 at 10:45 am

Have a great trip! I’m lucky to be able to travel a lot with my job too– as a college instructor, I can cancel class whenever necessary. I try not to take advantage of it, as tempting as it is to just cancel whenever I don’t feel like teaching 🙂

14 Marianne April 28, 2010 at 10:48 am

How to get more time off?

Move to Europe!

I worked in the UK for a year and got 5 weeks paid vacation per year (sick days are NOT taken out of vacation time) with the option to purchase an additional week with my benefit allocation.

Now I work in Norway, where standard paid vacation allotment is 5 weeks per year.

15 Sarah for Real April 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Ok! LOL Love that suggestion.

I work in a small office so going “in the hole” would be a big problem. I get sick time and vacation time. If I’ve ever wanted to take more time off than I am “given” I just asked for un-paid time off. If it’s not super busy then that’s usually ok.

16 May 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Just out of curiousity, how does holiday time work in the US. I’m British and, like you said, we get five weeks of paid leave a year. And a lot of the time that doesn’t feel like enough!! How many do you get in the US? Do you have a certain amount for vacation and a certain amount for sick days??

17 Molly April 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

One thing people forget to do though is set aside time for the holidays! I love taking time off in the summer and would do it at the drop of a hate…but once december rolls around and I am in desperate need of PTO (especially for days around christmas/new years) I dont have any time left! Damn!

Also lots of companies do “summer hours” where you get out early most days, especially fridays! Take advantage!!!

have fun on your trip 🙂


18 Morgan @ Life After Bagels April 28, 2010 at 10:54 am

I use all of those tips for extra time off too. I’m going to Japan in May for work and I extended my trip by three days, but it will only use up one PTO day.

19 Carolyn @ lovinglosing April 28, 2010 at 10:56 am

My first company would let you go negative a little bit, but not too much. My last job we got a awesome amount of leave so I didn’t worry about it. My new job is crap leave, but we do get some floating holidays where we can work the holiday and then take it a another time so it’s basically like more leave.

20 theprocessofhealing April 28, 2010 at 11:13 am

Chocolate + PB = AMAZING!

21 thedailyoatmeal April 28, 2010 at 11:23 am

I often end up doing client work on nights or weekends– my boss recognizes this and lets me take off afternoons or days connected to weekends since I don’t get overtime for those hours.

Also, when you take a job, look at the PTO policy carefully…how much can you carry over, can you use it before you earn it, what are the standard holidays, etc. If you are coming from another job where you had something more, you might be able to negotiate that 🙂

22 Heather @ Side of Sneakers April 28, 2010 at 11:54 am

While I’m not an hourly employee, I do work a certain number of hours a week- sometimes I’m able to work extra hours one week in order to make up for missed hours the next week without taking actual PTO. It’s not necessarily policy, but you never know what your boss will say if you ask!!

23 hundredtenpounds April 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm

That’s how I take my vacations too. I try to make long weekends and enjoy more vacations rather than taking an entire week or two off at a time. Although, these days I am craving a full 2 weeks of doing NOTHING….:)

24 jen trinque April 28, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I have definitely used your tips for taking more vacations – adding on to a long weekend especially. You DO seem to take lots of vacations, but I think that is so, so wonderful, because many people either don’t take their vacation time or have kids and obligations and never seem to go anywhere!

25 Erin April 28, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Tips: don’t “waste” your time off. So many friends take a day here or there for random things — recovering from a hangover, going to an in-town event or just not feeling like going to work. If you save your time off for something that is really important to you, you’ll use it more wisely.

26 Meghann April 28, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I live by this philosophy too!

27 Becky April 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Totally unrelated to this post, but related to the earth day post about being more “Green”- I notice you do an awesome job of bringing your food in reusable containers, but you use plastic spoons and forks at work! Do you reuse them? If not, you should bring a real fork/spoon/knife to have at work!

28 Meghann April 28, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I keep a real knife at my desk, but I admit I am bad at using plastic forks and spoons. Maybe I should keep a real spoon and fork at my desk at well. Thanks for the tip!!

29 missyrayn April 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I wish I could take vacations around weekend but I actually work weekends being a pastor and all. So we try to schedule them over fridays since that is our day off.

30 *Andrea* April 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm

great tips!!! have you seen the friends episode when ross gets married in london?? your ‘check’ reminded me of monica and ross who said ‘check’ as if a mental checklist. funnier to see it than explain haha

yummy bfast! i love oats and nut butter. winning combo

31 Kelly April 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Yeah, make sure you work for a company that gives you more than 5 paid vacation days.

32 Mary April 28, 2010 at 1:33 pm

have fun on the west coast!

it’s easy taking vacations as a nurse, because you only work 3 days a week (12 hour shifts) it’s an extra plus because I get to self schedule. so if I want to go home to NY or go to Orlando to visit my bf’s parents, we both can spread it out without taking any pto! 🙂

33 Matt April 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Great tips! I will have to remember those when I get a “real job” 😉

34 LindsayH April 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm

I try really hard to preserve my vacation and converted sick leave! I’m pretty stingy with it.

I do the same things you do, but in addition to that my boss is fortunately pretty flexible with weekly hours. We do have to work 40 hours in a week, Sun-Sat, but we can take shorter lunches (as long as we take the minimum) or tack on 30 minutes at the beginning or end of the day. We can also work on the weekends once in a while only if we are open. So for example if I want to take a Friday off for a weekend trip, I might see if I can work on Sunday instead of Friday and thus take no vacation hours.

This year we had to take 5 days furlough, so I tried to strategically plan them around long weekends like MLK day, Memorial day, etc.

Another thing we’re allowed to do is convert 12 hours of sick leave to vacation if we haven’t used any of our sick leave for that month. I haven’t taken a sick day in over a year so I have a lot of converted sick leave built up that I leave there for emergencies or like if someone in my family would get sick and I wanted to be gone beyond emergency family leave (5 days).

35 runnerforever April 28, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Have a great trip! I can’t wait for pictures!

36 sarah April 28, 2010 at 3:03 pm

i do the same thing with scheduling around weekends but i also usually take a day unpaid if the trip isn’t long…last year i went to NY for labor day weekend and took off friday unpaid – no vacation time used and my company lets you make up time if you wish with overtime! i only get 10 vacation days so i have to be creative and save them for when i really need them (longer trips)!

37 newleafeats April 28, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I planned my wedding the weekend before Thanksgiving, that way I would only be dipping into PTO for two-and-a-half days, but I’d really be gone on my honeymoon for seven! It was great!

38 Lacey @ Lake Life April 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I think I want to come work where you do!

Where I work, when your PTO is spent, that’s it. Also, our “holiday” pay comes out of the PTO so either way it’s using time 🙁

39 Katherine: What About Summer? April 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Krema? never heard of it but love the sound

40 megan April 29, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I’ve been accruing PTO for a year and have taken 3 vacations and only used one day of PTO! I’m an RN and work 3 days a week so when I go on vacation I work Sun-Tues, leave on Wed and get back the following Wed, then work Thur-Sat of the next week. It’s awesome. Plus I can schedule myself to have 8 days off in a row pretty much whenever I want- I try to do it once every six weeks.

41 megan April 29, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Oh, I accrue 4 weeks of PTO a year. 🙂 and almost 2 weeks of sick time.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: