A good vacation doesn’t just add pretty photos to your Instagram feed. It can make you more productive, healthier, and more open-minded according to multiple studies. That’s why companies often encourage their employees to take time off. They know a little vacay can boost workplace morale and productivity overall. But few companies go above and beyond standard paid leave. That’s not the case with the nine businesses below. These companies really encourage their staff to get out the door, offering travel stipends, deep discounts, freebies, or themed time off. In many cases, these perks can cover vacation expenses completely, so every employee can make a serious dent on their bucket list. Take a look at the nine companies listed below and their terrific travel perks. You may even feel inspired to spruce up your LinkedIn profile and drop them a line.
REI believes that “a life outdoors is a life well lived.” So it’s no surprise that when it comes to time away from work, they prefer it to be spent in nature far, far from florescent lights. The nation’s largest consumer co-op and outdoor retailer offers “Yay Days” to its staff -- two extra paid days off purely to get some fresh air in your lungs and put some distance between you and your desk. The company’s deep discount on gear and apparel also comes in handy to outfit employees for their activities. Plus, staffers can also apply for an REI Challenge Grant to cover some costs associated with a bucket-list outdoor adventure (say, a mountain bike race).
From castles to condos, Airbnb has a variety of vacation rentals that have encouraged travelers to make themselves at home anywhere in the world. And thanks to an extravagant travel stipend, the company also supports its employees in doing the same. All full-time staff at the website receive a massive $2,000 yearly travel stipend (doled out as $500 every quarter) to book a trip. Naturally, the one stipulation is that travelers must stay in an Airbnb when they go so that they can get familiar with one of the four million listings on the site.
3. G Adventures
Tour company G Adventures knows their employees have the potential to be their biggest brand ambassadors. That’s why the business offers an incredible perk allowing staffers to sample their small group tours, from trekking in Cambodia to cycling in Tuscany. Full-time employees are welcome to book one tour every 10 months, and G Adventures covers up to $3,000 CAD of tour expenses, effectively making these trips low or no cost. Accommodations, ground transportation, and several meals are typically included in the price. As if that wasn’t sweet enough, there’s a stipend for flights covering up to $750 CAD as well.
4. Walt Disney Company
Disney parks are frequently referred to as “the happiest place on earth,” but for devoted employees, that could also apply to the company as a whole -- especially because it offers fantastic discounts and freebies to its staff. Not only do staffers get free admission to the brand’s theme parks, they can also get discounts at company resorts and hotels, Disney Cruise sailings, and merchandise, which could include vacation gear and souvenirs. All of this goes a long way toward covering family vacation expenses and making trips supercalifragilistic.
Employees at Travelzoo say it’s entirely normal to be catching up with a coworker about their weekend only to realize they just came back from Europe -- or South Africa, or Brazil. That’s not just due to the fact that the staff’s day-to-day is all about travel deals, but also because the company provides an excellent $1,500 travel stipend to put toward any deal that’s sparked their wanderlust. Even better, Travelzoo rewards their employees with three extra vacation days when they do cash in their stipend, making it easier to get to those far-flung places.
6. AFAR Media
We all know there are two kinds of travel: There are the trips that are routine, dull, or obligatory. (Sorry, grandma.) And then there are the trips that wake up your senses, give authentic experiences, and leave you moved. AFAR deals exclusively in the latter, and thanks to an incredible travel stipend, their employees can reconnect to that feeling on the regular. Staffers get a whopping $2,000 per calendar year to spend on travel with the caveat that they go somewhere they’ve never been before. In the past, employees have used that perk to take cooking classes in Vietnam or learn falconry in Dubai. Once they return, they’re asked to upload a highlight reel of their vacation to the company’s site, effectively spreading the post-vacation glow throughout the office and inspiring others to hit the road.
7. Delta Air Lines
Working for any airline tends to give you free or reduced-rate airplane tickets -- a phenomenal travel perk on its own. But Delta is known within the industry as being one of the most lavish when it comes to this policy. Not only are employees eligible for free or reduced-rate tickets, their families are eligible, too. That includes spouses, same-sex domestic partners, kids (under a certain age), and even parents. And employees can hook up their extended family, friends, or travel companions with reduced-rate travel as well. On top of this, Delta is one of the largest airlines, meaning it flies to more destinations, so you can add spots like Manila or Sao Paulo to your list.
Expedia’s internal site proves staffers are world explorers at heart, with photo after photo showing coworkers seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, passing icebergs in Antarctica, or floating on the canals of Venice. And best of all, these adventures are supported by a company travel reimbursement of up to $750 per year (based on time with the company). Employees also have access to company discounts on the site and receive travel bonuses for referrals. In addition, many employees are eligible to receive an IATAN card, professional travel credentials that unlock “concessionary incentives” from airlines, hotels, cruise lines, car rental companies, and tourist attractions.
There’s no way we could close out a list of companies with excellent travel benefits without giving a shoutout to Oyster’s parent company, TripAdvisor. When it comes to travel perks, this little owl gives employees plenty to crow about. Full-time staffers get a yearly travel reimbursement of up to $750 (based on years of service), and we’re treated to discounts on our sister sites, including hotels on Tingo and sightseeing tours on Viator. All of this comes in handy when booking our vacation days, which can accrue up to 25 days per year based on continuous years of service.
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