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Summer is a great time to travel for many reasons: the weather is warm, it stays light out longer and, for some people, the weekends are extended by a work perk called Summer Fridays. There’s certainly nothing wrong with working for a company that lets you skip out of work early on Fridays during the summer (or, for some, take the day off altogether or work remotely). But the problem is that Monday still rolls around each week and causes a severe case of the Sunday Scaries.
But what if you didn’t have to go to work at the beginning of the week during the summer?
Recently, I took a Monday off instead of a Friday, and I felt completely different heading into the following week. I was less stressed, more productive and an all around happier person, even though I had the same amount of time off (just ask my colleagues).
So, should we all be putting our “out of office” up at the beginning of the week instead of the end? According to Moneyish, the so-called Sunday Monday is a growing trend — and there are more than a few arguments in favor of the switch. It turns out that being less anxious is just one of the bonuses of vacationing on Monday instead of Friday.
Here are five reasons why Summer Mondays should be the new Summer Fridays.
1. It’s significantly cheaper
You’re not the only one itching to get out of town on Friday. With so many people traveling, the demand for various forms of transportation increases and prices skyrocket, as Moneyish pointed out.
Airfare search site CheapAir found that travelers can save an average of $19 round-trip if the flight out is scheduled for a Saturday rather than a Friday. And return flights on Mondays can be $38 less expensive than the same flight home on a Sunday. Meanwhile, an Expedia study revealed that flying out Saturday can result in savings of 57%, while Friday flights are the most expensive. Broadly speaking, the travel service company AESU said people should avoid traveling on Fridays in June, July and August, because of both the price and the crowds.
Booking a hotel can be cheaper, too. Travelzoo producer Gabe Saglie told TPG that “in leisure destinations … Sunday [is] in fact the cheapest [night] to stay, as the weekend crowd heads back home.”
2. You don’t have to deal with crowds
The reason airline tickets and hotel stays are cheaper for Saturday to Monday trips is, quite simply, because there is less demand. And that means there are fewer people crowding your long weekend getaway, too.
According to American Airlines, three of the five busiest travel days in July were expected to be Fridays. And Friday, June 29, turned out to be the second-busiest day in TSA history. Crowds were also severe the Friday before Memorial Day. And though Fridays during the summer are notoriously bad for airport crowds and packed planes, Sundays can be quite hairy as well, since you have both vacationers as well as business travelers hitting the road.
But by heading out of town on a Saturday and coming home Monday afternoon, you avoid those peak periods and therefore the crowds that come along with them. And this is also true for the roads. Traffic research firm INRIX found that, in general, Fridays were the worst day to drive near a metro area. Mondays, conversely, tend to be the best.
Just be aware that if you were hoping to sneak in a visit to an attraction Monday morning before jetting off, many (such as museums) are closed. Then again, that means even fewer people on the streets of the destination you’re visiting.
3. It’s less stressful
Spending less money and dealing with fewer people? No wonder taking a Summer Monday is less stressful. But by simply shifting your day off or half day, you are also ridding yourself of anticipatory anxiety.
“Most people feel anxiety leading up to something,” psychologist Jessica Nicolosi told TPG. “With a Summer Friday, you’re waiting through the whole week to get to that place, making you feel irritable or unsettled all week. By taking off a Monday, there’s no build up, because you’ve started … with a shorter week already. Tuesday, when you get back, is just a Tuesday.”
Many of us also wind up cramming five days of work into the Monday through Thursday leading up to a Summer Friday, according to Nicolosi. But when you take off Monday, you don’t. “We don’t overbook ourselves Tuesday to Friday the way we do Monday to Thursday,” she said. “So there is this whole other element of not being as busy or crazy to get to the reward.”
Of course, not dealing with a ton of other travelers is also key to reducing your stress. “People go out to the Hamptons and brace themselves for the psychological chaos … just to get where they want to go,” Nicolosi added. “It creates this added tension and anxiety. Traveling on a Saturday and Monday starts and ends your vacation in a more relaxed way. You actually feel the benefits of the time away.”
4. You’ll be more productive
Need to make an argument to your boss as to why taking off Monday is better than Friday? Tell him or her it will make you a better employee. Yes, we’ve already established that you’ll be less stressed than your Summer Friday colleagues. But you’ll also be able to handle your office tasks better if you come back on Tuesday.
“Monday is a day of catch up from the weekend, and there’s this element of chaos with it,” Nicolosi said. “By Tuesday, things aren’t as urgent or were already handled, so you have time to focus on more important tasks, [rather] than putting out small fires.”
There’s even research to back up this productivity claim. According to a 2016 study by Accountemps, Tuesday is the most productive day of the week for workers. If you come back relaxed on the most productive day of the week, you’ll be in a prime position to check boxes on your to-do list and succeed in the workplace.
5. There’s more availability
Hotels might jack up the price on the weekend knowing there’s more demand, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want your business during the week. According to TMI Hospitality, Sundays are one of the lowest occupancy nights (in addition to Thursdays). This means your hotel probably has quite a lot of availability, and might be able to offer a complimentary upgrade. At the very least, in addition to finding a preferable rate, you’ll also have your pick of room categories.
And it’s not just hotels. Taking a Summer Monday means there’s better availability across the board. You’re less likely to be stuck in the middle seat on the plane, and Mondays have historically been the slowest day for restaurants — meaning you can more easily score a coveted reservation at the hot new table you’ve been eyeing.
Feature image courtesy of Syd Sujuaan via Unsplash.
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