When Michelle Warren traveled to the Galapagos Islands for 10 days this spring, her bosses helped foot the bill.
It's one of the many benefits offered by her employer, Denver-based tech company FullContact.
Warren's not alone. While paid vacation days are a sought-after benefit, some employers are taking it a step further and giving workers money to help offset the cost of their trips.
Warren, who traveled with her husband, father and stepmother, received $7,000 towards the cost of her vacation.
"It's life changing, truly, to go to the Galapagos," said Warren, 38.
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She and her husband, Jeremy, wanted to do something big and celebratory after they both earned their master's degrees.
"The bonus from FullContact meant that we could do that in a way that was super-meaningful for us as a family," Warren said.
On each work anniversary, employees get a vacation bonus, the amount of which depends on each person's tenure. It starts at $2,000 and maxes out at $7,000 by year three. The employee must also have a good performance record.
As the company's vice president of global human resources, Warren knows the impact the perk has on both employees and the company.
"It creates engagement, motivation for the work and energy around knowing that they can fully disconnect," she said.
"It's about that true reenergizing, resting [and] relaxing, that then helps them come back in a positive way and continue all that work."
Paid vacation days are part of an overall benefits package that includes unlimited vacation days and 26 company holidays. Warren believes those perks help the company in the war for talent, especially considering it has to compete against tech giants.
FullContact boasts an 85% retention rate, which Warren said is "amazing during the Great Resignation and particularly in the tech industry."
In addition to FullContact, nine other remote-friendly companies were recently highlighted by career website FlexJobs as helping pay for employee vacations. Here's the list:
- Airbnb: Employees receive $2,000 in Airbnb travel credit each year. It's distributed on a quarterly basis and can be used to book stays or experiences on the Airbnb platform.
- BambooHR: The firm offers employees $2,000 each year towards vacation expenses, such as hotel rooms and airfare.
- Calendly: The company grants every employee a $1,000 annual travel stipend, which can be used for hotels, flight, transportation or even staycation activities to help recharge locally during the pandemic.
- Evernote: The company offers employees a $1,000 yearly vacation stipend.
- Expedia: Employees are reimbursed for expenses related to travel and wellness, from $1,250 to $1,750 per year, depending on tenure. Workers can also receive additional funds in their reimbursement accounts based on certain employment milestones and may also be given travel awards in recognition for exceptional work. Plus, they receive discounts on retail and travel packages purchased through the brand's sites.
- FullContact: The company provides up $7,000 per year for employees to travel. The amount depends on tenure.
- PulsePoint: Employees receive a $500 annual travel reimbursement for vacation.
- Thirty Madison: Employees are eligible for an annual $750 vacation stipend on day one of hire. It can be redeemed once the employee has taken a vacation of five or more consecutive days.
- TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor reimburses for personal travel, among other things, as part of its global lifestyle benefit. The amount paid out for the various eligible services and products is based on years of service and ranges from $1,250 to $1,750 a year.
- United Airlines: Employees receive unlimited standby travel and discounted rates on airline tickets to anywhere United flies.
To land a job that gives you the perks you desire, such as money towards travel, first make a list of your values and what exactly you are looking for in an employer, said Toni Frana, a career services manager at FlexJobs.
Then, start researching companies that seem to fit the bill on websites such as FlexJobs or Glassdoor. Even check the companies' websites, which may detail their benefits packages.
Rank the companies to help narrow down your targets and start networking.
"Connecting with people who work there can help you get in front of the right people," Frana said.
"You might even find there are positions avaible that aren't even posted yet."
As for making sure you are truly disconnected during that much-needed vacation time, coming up with a plan is key. Make sure everyone on your team knows what's happening and how your job may be covered in your absence, Frana said. Prioritize the responsibilities that must be done before you head out the door.
"If you set yourself up for success before you leave, you will have more success unplugging when you are gone," said Frana.
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.