DEFINITION of Paycation

A paycation refers to taking a vacation from a main job and using that vacation time to make extra pay at a second job. A paycation can help make ends meet in tough economic times. The term gained popularity during the financial crisis of 2008-2009 when many people took paycations to supplement their incomes.


Much like many other financial buzzwords that gained popularity during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, a paycation is a light-hearted twist on the high unemployment rates of the time. Paycations can range from teaching courses to doing some freelance work during vacation time.

The Origins of Paycation

"Paycation" originally meant something very similar to the concept of a paid vacation, referring to vacation on which someone made money, intentionally or not. The definition changed significantly as a result of the global financial crisis. The term was adopted somewhat ironically. Working a second job is almost never actually a vacation; if anything, it is more stressful than working at just one job for the same stretch or time.

The irony of the term was also used to compound the fact that those who were taking paycations were not used to doing so. The recession of the global market left many people in previously stable jobs in need of additional funds to supplement their income. In fact, many of these people began taking paycations when their jobs previously afforded them the ability to take actual vacations. In the years since the financial crises, the economy has recovered significantly, reducing the frequency of paycations for those in higher-paying jobs.

Who Takes Paycations?

During the global financial crisis, many different kinds of people took paycations, even those in traditionally affluent jobs. Other types of people have taken paycations due to a lack of work during a certain part of their year.

One of the most common examples is a teacher, particularly one who is not working when students have their summer vacation. A teacher may take another teaching job during the summer, such as working at a summer school, or she may choose to work in another field entirely during that period of time.

Non-professional athletes are other group that might take paycations, as the sports they play may not be available throughout the year due to weather conditions or other factors, such as health and injury concerns. Professional athletes, on the other hand, almost always make enough money so that taking a paycation is unnecessary.