Holidays can be rough.
Each year they start earlier and earlier, with the constant barrage of requests to buy gifts for the people we love. Not surprisingly, we tend to get more stressed and overworked at the end of the year than any other time.
Every year we promise ourselves to do better, yet come January 1, we end up making the same resolutions. Adding to the problem is that as entrepreneurs, we're so attuned to long work hours that when holidays come, we tend to ignore them and treat them like any other day. This can have serious detrimental health benefits.
In Japan, the term "karoshi" means "death by overwork." Multiple deaths have been linked to karoshi, including 24-year-old Matsuri Takahashi, whose 105 hours of overtime in a single month at the Japanese ad agency, Dentsu, led her to leap from her company's roof on Christmas Day in 2015. This led to the resignation of Dentsu's CEO.
In the US, 16.4 percent of people work more than 49 hours or more a week, while 54 percent of people don't take their paid vacation days. However, only 35 percent of Americans get vacation or holidays in the first place, which means if you're not working, you're not getting paid.
Combine that with another sobering statistic: The average credit card debt is $5,284 and one in 6 people have maxed out their credit cards at least once. People are less likely to spend money on themselves when in debt, further contributing to the cycle of working harder and longer hours.
So, when holidays come, many of us remain glued to our desks. How can we travel when we need to without breaking the bank and causing more stress?
Some companies have come up with intriguing solutions to the most common problems that keep us from visiting our loved ones.
1. Prices keep fluctuating
Hopper is a popular app that helps you to find the best prices and days to travel using their huge database of flight information. It sets up price alerts, and when the best price is achieved for your route, gives you the option to buy.
2. Can't get away
Skiplagged is a site that lets you buy flights based on hidden-city routing. If you're traveling last minute, you can often find great deals here, however you may not be able to check a bag.
Both Hopper and Skiplagged require you to purchase your tickets upfront. If you've maxed out your credit card or simply don't have the money, there's something for you as well.
3. Can't find the cash
Enter Affirm, a financing company that has revolutionized the way people, especially Millennials, receive credit. Founded by Max Levchin, they take into account things other than your credit score to give you a temporary credit line to use specifically on sites like Expedia, CheapAir and Suiteness. Buying travel from a site that gives you Affirm as a payment option will give you an extended way to pay for it without having to add more to your credit card.
4. Need peace of mind
Once you've purchased your flight, you'll want to make sure you get there. Freebird offers a unique solution for travelers who have already purchased their flight. For $19 each way, simply enter your flight information and if there are disruptions to your travel (delays, cancellations, etc), Freebird will rebook you on for no additional charge. You won't have to worry about those hefty change fees, or sleeping in the airport when things go south.
After you've arrived, make sure you spend time actually relaxing and enjoying your time off. There will be plenty of work when you get back.