Booking a holiday? Then don’t forget to ask your boss!
Your vacation request email is a part of your holiday planning, ensuring that when you click the button to book, you’ve got your boss on your side and permission to take flight.
It all sounds easy, but why is writing a request for vacation email so tough? It’s because you’re emotionally involved in the process. Our guide breaks down how to write an email to request vacation, providing the basics and illustrating best practices with 15 examples.
Going on holiday isn’t the only reason you might need to book a leave. You could be requesting vacation for a day off to attend an interview, visit a friend or attend a wedding or funeral.
Don’t worry; we’ve got a template for (almost) every leave request email. If you can't find what you are looking for, you can try Flowrite's smart leave request email template to write any kind of leave request like this:
How to request vacation time
Requesting vacation time is a crucial part of the process and one you can’t skip. You need written approval for your leave request. Otherwise, you could be breaking company policy and risking your job.
OK, so it’s unlikely ever to come to that (as you follow the rules, right?), so why learn how to write vacation email requests? It’s because a well-written leave request email stands more chance of getting accepted than a poorly written one. This is especially important if you’re requesting leave during busy periods or where there’s high competition for time off (such as at Christmas).
Should you request vacation via email?
It’s a great question and one that lots of people are asking. Indeed, asking in person is often quicker, easier, and more effective (34 times, say the Harvard Business Review), but that doesn’t mean it’s always best. In fact, vacation requests should always be sent by email.
Why? Because it creates an audit trail, that means you, your boss, and the HR team have a written record that your leave has been officially agreed upon, and you have written evidence to prove it.
When to request leave via email?
A good rule of thumb is to ask for leave at least twice as long before you intend to take it. So, if you want to take a week off, you should give at least two weeks’ notice.
If you’re planning a last-minute break, be aware that your employer can decide not to grant your leave requests. Your boss is focused on getting the job done, so they may choose to deny your leave request if they feel it could affect how the business operates. This is a particular issue during a busy period.
The solution to all these problems is getting your vacation request emails in as early as possible.
How to write an email requesting vacation time
So, let’s get started with some tips on how to request vacation time with an email. The great thing about vacation request emails is that they’re short, sweet, and to the point, making them super easy to create.
Don’t believe us? There are only three things you need to know about how to write an email to request vacation.
Vacation request email format
The vacation request email format is simple and consists of five essential parts:
- Subject line
- Vacation time request
- Closing lines
We’ve already covered formal email greetings and signatures in previous posts, so if you’re unsure what to write, start there.
Let’s look more closely at suitable subject lines, leave requests and how to end a request for vacation email.
1. Vacation request email subject
Writing a vacation request email subject line is simple. There are only a few ways to ask for leave, after all. You’ll want to ensure your boss (or the person you’re asking to agree to your leave request) spots your email, so be straight with what you’re asking for.
- Annual Leave Request – (Dates)
- Request For Annual Leave – (Dates)
- Vacation Request – (Dates)
2. How to start an email requesting vacation time
Let’s get straight to it and ask for the time off!
OK, so it’s only polite to ask nicely but get to the point. Simply saying:
“I would like to book leave for my vacation. The dates are XXX to YYY. Please confirm this is OK, and I’ll book my holiday.”
It’s not the most poetic email ever, but it’s easy to read, impossible to understand, and won’t get ignored.
You have no obligation to explain why you’re asking for time off (and your boss has no right to ask you). However, if you’re asking for time off during a busy period, or your leave request is only a few days away, you may want to explain why, as this is only polite. You can see how we approach this in the examples below.
3. How to end an email when requesting a vacation leave
When ending your leave request email, make sure to ask for a response. Something like: “It would be great if you could confirm my leave request as soon as possible.” Leave requests come near the bottom of the pile for some bosses, so a polite reminder at the end of your emails can spit them into action.
Your choice of sign-off (thanks, kind regards, cheers, etc.) will depend on your relationship with your boss. We believe you can never go wrong with a polite and pleasant “Many thanks.”
Click send, and now all you need is to sit back and wait for the reply.
5 tips for requesting vacation
Before we get into the examples, here are 5 pro tips for requesting a vacation. Use these to craft your own messages, and you’ll not go wrong.
1. Check your company's vacation policy first
Before asking for leave, be sure it’s likely to be granted. Your vacation policy will spell out how much holiday you are entitled to, how to request it and, importantly, what sort of notice you must give.
Understanding and following the rules is the best way to ensure your leave request is granted.
2. Be clear and concise
We’ve repeated it regularly throughout this post, but we’ll repeat it: Don’t beat around the bush, make your vacation request and leave it.
3. Don't assume your vacation request will be granted
Annual leave is a legal right, and your employer must allow you to take it. However, your employer can refuse if your leave will affect the business. They can also refuse if you don’t provide enough notice.
Don’t try to pressure your boss by telling them you’ve already booked a holiday, for example. Avoid phrases like “Thanks in advance,” as these can seem presumptuous. Check out our templates for some practical example emails to request vacation.
4. Convey why you are asking for the specific dates
You have no responsibility to explain why you’re requesting leave. They may be your boss, but it’s their business. If your request is urgent or over a busy period for the company, you may want to explain or support your request. Don’t go into too much detail.
5. Make the request as easy as possible for your manager
Putting a plan in place for your absence is a great way to increase your chances of a positive response to your leave request. You can chat with colleagues and line up support, or even offer to work extra time before you go to ensure you have plans to manage.
You don’t need to do your boss's job for them, but this can provide reassurance that your job will be covered while breaking out the cocktails on the beach.
15 vacation request email samples
In this section, we provide 15 request vacation email samples suitable to use in any circumstances. These vacation request email examples follow the standard format above and use all the tips and strategies we’ve described. Feel to cut and paste these, but we recommend you personalize them before pushing send.
1. Vacation request email to boss sample
Here’s a short and sweet vacation request sample. Blink, and you’ll miss it, but your boss will 100% understand what you’re asking.
2. Vacation leave request email sample
This vacation leave request sample is a little less formal and friendlier than the sample above. This is suitable for a boss you’ve worked with for a while and consider a friend.
3. Request a vacation day off email sample
Sometimes you may only need to take a single day off. However, you’ll still need to request a vacation day off via email, and here’s how.
4. Simple vacation request email sample
Sometimes, keeping vacation requests simple is the most successful strategy; it means your under-pressure boss will find it easy to understand – and hopefully approve – your leave request.
5. Cancel vacation request email sample
Plans change, and you’ll sometimes need to cancel your vacation requests. Use our vacation cancellation template, and you’ll experience no issues. It’s essential to send this as soon as you decide to cancel, to give your boss as much advance notice as possible.
6. Request to carryover vacation days email sample
If you find yourself with a holiday left at the end of the year, you may want to ask to carry it over to the following year. Your boss doesn’t have to allow you to roll your holiday on, so writing a request to carry leave over email can be tricky. Check out our sample below, and adapt it to your situation. (And next year, take a holiday – you deserve it!).
7. Holiday vacation request email sample
It’s almost impossible to think about holidays and not have the Madonna track humming around your brain. So try to avoid that while writing your vacation request (or just copy and paste our holiday vacation request email sample below!).
8. Formal vacation request email sample
If you don’t know your boss well, or they’re the old-school type who loves a formal response, this is for you. This standard vacation request email sample may seem a little stuffy, but it’s simple to follow and will get the job done.
9. Follow-up email for vacation request sample
Sometimes your leave request may get buried under a mountain of other messages. The solution? Sending a reminder. Here’s a gentle follow-up email for vacation request sample.
10. Vacation extension request email sample
Is there anything better than a holiday? An extended holiday! Here’s a vacation extension request sample you can use to ask for your boss for some extra days.
11. Emergency vacation request email sample
A family crisis, a funeral (or maybe a job interview you don’t want to tell your boss about) are all considered emergencies and demand a slightly different approach. Your request is likely to cause disruption, but acknowledging this and apologizing for it can go a long way to getting your leave request granted.
12. Informal vacation request email sample
We’ve provided a lot of quite serious vacation request samples, so here’s one that’s a little friendlier and more fun.
13. Long vacation request email sample
How do you approach a request for a longer leave period? Our long vacation request email sample provides some information to support your request. You'll need to explain if you want more than a couple of weeks off work. Check out our long request vacation email sample to see how we would approach it.
14. Wedding vacation request email sample
The sound of wedding bells is wonderful, and with this leave request email sample, you’ll be there to hear them.
15. Annual vacation request email sample
Some of us take regular trips at the same time to the same places. In this annual vacation request sample, we’re asking for leave for our traditional yearly trip.
Flow through your inbox after holidays
The only downside to taking a vacation is coming back to work to a flood of unread emails. Luckily, Flowrite can help pick up the slack.
Flowrite is your new personal email assistant, that turns words into ready-to-send emails using AI. It's the fastest way to get to inbox zero after a relaxing time-off.
Here's Flowrite in action, fighting off sales pitches that pile up during a leave:
There’s nothing scary about writing a vacation request email once you know how the format works. You should be ready to write an email to request a vacation at this stage. (If you aren’t, just copy and paste one of our sample emails to request vacation!)
Don’t delay sending a leave request because you’re worried or embarrassed. Holidays are essential for us all, and you’re entitled to them, so use them! Strip everything back and send a simple vacation request email, and you’ll be booking that dream trip in no time.
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