As you sit behind your desk and work on your next project, make your early morning hospital rounds, or finish up your latest legal brief, you probably have your summer vacation plans somewhere in the recesses (or maybe even the forefront) of your mind. When things get tough at the office, we tell ourselves if we can just get through the next few weeks, we’ll be sitting on a beach somewhere enjoying the sunshine and not thinking about work.

You’ve booked your flight, invested in some new swimwear, and checked out restaurant recommendations. You’ve taken care of every aspect of planning possible – or have you? It’s 2018, and you know your professional life is going to follow you wherever you plan to vacation, no matter how remote. Whether it’s the nagging feeling of work piling up while you’re gone or an unsympathetic boss who won’t stop emailing you, we’re here to make sure you take care of it before you hit the road.


Vacation Checklist for the Professional Woman

  • Communicate your plans. Tell your boss. Tell your coworkers. Tell clients. Tell vendors. Tell anyone who might need anything from you, and tell them multiple times. Give them plenty of time to think of what they might need from you while you’re gone. Add it to their calendar if you think it will help.
  • Communicate some more. Your out-of-office reply is essential to a relaxing vacation. The actual wording of the email is just as important as the reply itself. Include details such as when you’re returning to work and the amount of access you’ll have to email (we recommend none). Personalize your voicemail to give these details as well. Tell those trying to get in touch with you who they can contact in your absence. This way, you know things are being taken care of.  
  • Delegate. Ask certain coworkers to handle certain tasks while you’re out. For many, that’s easier said than done. We like things handled our way, and we’re certain everything can just wait until we get back from our vacation or that we can just handle issues poolside. More often than not, we’re wrong. At the very least, give coworkers some “in case of emergency” instructions–“If this becomes an issue, this is where I keep the files on that.”  
  • Disconnect. No matter how many reminders you give colleagues or how specific and firm your out-of-office reply is, inevitably something or someone is going to try to ruin your vacation Zen. There’s only so much you can physically do ahead of time. The rest is up to you and your determination to truly enjoy your time off. If you have a work cell phone, turn it off. Stop checking your emails, and be content with an inbox that doesn’t say zero.  

You work hard and deserve to enjoy every minute of your time off. Ironically, it often requires a ridiculous amount of preparation to successfully take a vacation. The professional world doesn’t stop for us, but if we thoroughly plan ahead, we can enjoy our time off. Whether you’re jet-setting across the globe or planning a cozy staycation in your den, this checklist will insure you can leave work and not have it follow you out the door.

For more tips on how to prepare professionally for a stress-free vacation, click here or here.