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The end of summer is not the end of vacation opportunities for workers

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Despite the fact that summer is coming to an end, that is no reason for workers to give up on the idea of taking a vacation. Employers should encourage their staff to take their vacation time so they are more refreshed and so the workforce is performing at peak efficiency and productivity. Just taking a three day weekend can refresh a stressed worker.

Even positive events such as receiving a promotion, getting a raise or landing a big contract or project can cause workplace stress. Likewise, as much as people try to separate their work and home lives, it is not always possible. Personal stress such as financial difficulties, marital issues and other "homefront" problems can lead to have stress in the workplace.

Many illnesses that hamper worker productivity, increase absenteeism and reduce morale can be brought on by stress. Stress can cause new health problems as well as exacerbate existing issues. Employees who find they are sicker than usual with colds, stomach ailments and migraines may have stress to thank for their symptoms. Serious health issues such as heart disease and gastrointestinal disorders can be caused or worsened by stress.

There are many options for workers who wish to use their vacation benefits after the summer months have ended. There is the increasing popularity of what is called the staycation . With high gas prices, some people are finding travel to be outside their budget so they stay closer to home during their time off. This is not necessarily a bad thing if the worker has a plan to do fun things while off work as opposed to thinking about work. Water parks will be closing for the season in the next couple of months but they are still an option for family fun in warmer year round. Other options would be taking a camping trip close to home or checking out historical landmarks that are within a radius of less than 100 miles. Staycations and extended weekends are also a good option for parents of school-age children.

Fall and winter are great times to visit warm weather climates and participate in warm weather activities away from home. Florida, California, Las Vegas and Hawaii have booming tourist industries during the fall and winter months because of their warmer climates. Likewise, people who enjoy winter activities such as snow skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling can find havens in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah where these vacation options exist.

Workers are encouraged to check out the websites of different states' departments of tourism to find out activities available at different times of the year. The Illinois Office of Tourism's website can be found here.

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