As a salaried employee, you're probably entitled to paid time off during the year. But just because your company offers vacation days doesn't mean you'll automatically get to use yours when you please.

If you're looking to take time off during the upcoming holiday season, you may need to be tactical in your approach. Here's how to increase your chances of getting approved.

1. Ask in advance

If you think you're the only person at your company who wants time off during the holidays, you're sorely mistaken. Chances are, most of your peers will be asking their managers for the chance to escape in late November and then again in December. While your company might want to accommodate those various requests, there comes a point when having too many people out of the office is just plain bad for business.

Therefore, if you want time off around the holidays and haven't asked for it yet, do so now. The last thing you want is to get denied because your colleagues happened to beat you to the punch.

Man rolling suitcase through airport


2. Prove to your manager that you won't fall behind

The problem with the holidays is that they fall toward or at the end of the year, and if you're up against year-end deadlines, your manager might balk at the idea of having you out of the office as those deadlines approach. That's why it's helpful to show your boss that taking time off won't impact your ability to complete your work on schedule.

To that end, map out project timelines for the items you're working on and accelerate tasks as necessary to ensure that you won't miss those year-end deadlines. Then, sit down with your boss and review the steps you're taking to get that work done on time. The more confidence your manager has in you, the more likely he or she will be to approve your time-off requests, even if they happen to coincide with your company's busy season.

3. Enlist your colleagues' support

It's not always possible to get all of your work done before the holidays, nor do you want to spend your days off stressed over the idea of coming back to an insurmountable list of tasks with your name on them. If you're intent on taking time off this holiday season, talk to your colleagues, see who's around, and ask for help in getting coverage for those days when you're planning to be away. Of course, you'll need to be willing to return the favor so that if a coworker helps you in December, you'll reciprocate when he or she goes away during the spring.

The point, however, is to recognize that you are allowed to ask for help. Furthermore, if you're able to approach your boss with a time-off request coupled with a statement like, "And don't worry, Cindy will be covering me," your manager is more likely to say yes.

You deserve to take time off around the holidays and spend that period with family and friends. Just be strategic when requesting that vacation time to increase your chances of getting what you want.