Posted by: LYF | January 31, 2011

How I took 6 weeks vacation last year

I met with a reader yesterday to give him some career advice.  As we were talking two themes kept popping up – “can I travel as a CA?” and “can I have the lifestyle I want while working typical CA hours?”

I think this is part of a broader misconception of, “I don’t want to be a stereotypical accountant.”  Luckily you don’t have to.  Let’s start with vacation days.

Thai kickboxing in Koh Tao.  My right hand should have been tucked more under my chin.

You should be getting at least 3 weeks vacation if you work in public accounting.  On top of that, most offices will shut down during Christmas – our office closed on December 17th.  Then you will have sick days.  I get 6 a year.  After sick days you will have statutory holidays – Family day, Good Friday, Canada Day, New Years day and Labour Day.

That’s actually 7 weeks of vacation days I could have taken in 2010.  3 weeks paid vacation, 2 weeks unpaid, 6 transferable sick days and 5 statutory holidays.

I learn how to throw axes after the Warrior Dash. Me and my buddy are 7 beers deep at this point.

With all these vacation days I was able to travel to Washington, Madrid, Thailand and New York.  And I also participated in a 5k adventure race in the Adirondacks.

Ballered out Mosque in Cordoba Spain.  I also bought a samurai sword that day.

Here’s what you can do to take advantage of all your vacation days.

1) Book your trips early.  If you submit a vacation request months in advance and no one gets back to you, assume it went through.  Book your flight.  It doesn’t matter if you haven’t heard back from anyone.  Worried about your partner saying no?  It won’t happen.  It will look really bad on your partner if he disallows your vacation request, when he’s been sitting on it for the past few months.

2) Unless you’re having a procedure that requires a doctor, go into work.  Don’t get sick.

3) Check your schedule as far in advance as possible.  This is especially important around Christmas time and statutory holidays.  Nothing ruins Christmas like an inventory count.

4) Figure out when your busy season is.  I can’t take time off between February and April because of our audit season.


Getting time off to do the things you want is very doable.


Edit: Booked a 7 day trip to Iceland in June and just booked a 10 day trip to Buenos Aires in May.  Baller.



  1. Be careful with the advice on sick days as vacation days. Perhaps your company allows you to do that – many don’t.

    In particularly, other shops – particularly those with unlimited sick days – you use them if you’re sick. Short flus, no fuss. Longer colds (4 or 5 days or more, typically), you need a doctor’s note to prevent abuse of the unlimited day system.

    The other point worth considering is “carrying forward” vacation days from one year to another if your firm allows it.

    • We’re lucky and it’s a firm policy that we can transfer them. On the flip side, we can’t carry forward any vacation days.

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