Out of Office Messages to Make Your Vacation More Fun for Everyone [+an OOO Mad Libs Generator]

December 19, 2023

Hi folks. Congratulations. It's December. You made it to the end of 2023. Yes, it marks winter, but it also marks the perfect time to spruce up your out of office reply while you fantasize about your winter break and avoid that task you're "supposed" to be doing.

Regardless of why you need to log off (whether you're on vacation, have a family emergency, or need to attend a work conference), we're going put your mind at ease by offering you a template to create a unique out-of-office message to greet your clients and take care of them until you return.

We're republishing our top 10 list of out-of-office replies—and because we like to max out on fun times, we have an Out of Office generator (a nod to Mad Libs). Use it for funsies, dispense the long hours of an afternoon work day before a bucket list trip, or to share it with your clients who are also headed out of town their own fabulous winter holidays.

Know what you want? Skip ahead to HAR's OOO generator!

But First, Some Shenanigans: Mad Libs, The Out of Office Message Version

Crafting an out-of-office message can be plenty of fun and we're about to show you how with our Mad Libs version! Try this out with your colleagues or share it with colleagues/clients headed off on a vacation to send them off in style: 

Want to offer these fun out-of-office mad libs to your clients? You're in luck! We created customizable form templates of these mad libs for you to copy - for FREE! Check out our Free Travel Agent Forms article for how to get them through JotForm and for more free travel agent forms!

Top 10 Out of Office Messages

1. The Honeymoon 🍯🌜 Out of Office 

I mean, I think we all know the breadth and depth at which one can express themselves via emojis. But an out-of-office that only uses emojis? Brilliant. If you create your own Out of Office emoji reply, I BEG you to post it in the comment section below. 

Out of office message written entirely in emojis

2. For the Marketing Savvy Young'uns

Mac? Well, he clearly works hard and plays hard. Which is totally on-brand with the vibe that Marriott's Moxy hotels exude. In summary? Points for being young and able to dance the night away. Double (mid-life adult) points for staying on brand while doing so. 

out of office message example advertising moxy hotel

3. The (Not-So) Sly Out of Office Message That's Really an Ad.

Ryan Reynolds (of Deadpool fame) doesn't just act. But you probably knew that. Why? Because he has some wildly funny out-of-office replies that went viral after he and good ol' Jimmy Fallon invited viewers to send Ryan an email. 

So many people emailed Ryan that Aviation Gin's servers crashed. Here's his July 2018 out-of-office message: 

From: Ryan Reynolds <[email protected]>

I will be out of the office celebrating Canada Day (July 1), World UFO Day (July 2nd), Tom Cruise’s Birthday (July 3rd) and July 4th (July 4th.) It’s also National Picnic Month so let’s just reconnect in August, shall we?

Between now and then, I recommend escaping the summer heat with a delicious Aviation & Tonic. Here’s my recipe:

2 oz Aviation American Gin 4 oz Tonic Water 1 Lemon Wedge 1 Lime Wedge

1 Teaspoon of Green Lantern Tears (optional)

Also, a lot of you have asked where you can find Aviation Gin, so I had the whizzes in our website department whip up this locator aviationgin.com/locator

4. The "Teachable Moment" Out of Office Reply

Witty and funny out-of-office messages are great, but check out how New York Times' VP of Operations, Erin Grau, used her out-of-office response using their parental leave as a teachable moment. That's a powerful message about something she feels passionate about.

New York Times' Clara Jeffery's out of office reply promoting parental leave

And it's worth pointing out—in case, like me, you missed it because you were awed by her approach to her parental OOO—the response is completely in sync with the New York Times' culture/brand. (You can find her OOO with live links here.)

5. The Out of Office Riddle (Great for engagement when you're away!)

Last summer, I turned my out-of-office into a riddle to have emailers guess where I was going on vacay. Can you guess?

Out of Office Riddle

Did you make a guess? I was in Columbus, OH and sadly did not see any of the sights above.

6. The I'm Here for You (But NOT REally)

For those of you arguing that entrepreneurs and salespeople must always be available, I present to you Exhibit A. While this is specific to Yesware (and you should check out their other OOO examples), it's easy enough to tweak to fit your industry.

out of office message example

Your out-of-office message can link to testimonials from your happy clients. For those of us in travel, you could try something like:

Seeing and experiencing destinations is how I keep on top of the trends and make on-the-ground connections for my clients. While I'm away, take a peek at how these connections helped me surprise Tina with an upgrade to a beachfront villa for her honeymoon [link to testimonial/video/FB post with Tina's thank you email and picture of the view]. 

You always don't have to be in the office to help out a client!

7. Conference Bonding Out of Office

Hey, why are you being so sneaky about where you've disappeared to? If you're not on vacation and your out of office is for a work trip, well darn it, work that! [Editor's note: Pun totally intended.] 

Use your auto-reply to promote your expertise—you're going to a well-known industry conference, after all. You multitask and use your out-of-office to connect with colleagues/clients who are also attending the conference or event. 

Out of office message example for tradeshow and/or conference

Or, in the case of Samarah Miel, owner of Amarillo Travel Network, her out-of-office message is a fabulous mix of sales/bonding with others in the industry/promoting her expertise to clients. Bonus points for including a video! 

out of office reply example business trip travel agent

8. The Silly Holiday Out of Office Message

People often forget the power of an out-of-office message. One could even start their own language, as shown below: 

Hilarious Out of Office Messages

9. The Eye Catching Gif Out of Office

Admit it. It's hard not to be mesmerized by this out-of-office message.

Not sure how to embed an animated gif in your signature? Here's how to spice up your next out-of-office reply and add an animated gif.

Note: Not all email clients show animated gifs. Some may show only the first slide.

3 Out of Office Rules to Remember

In all seriousness, you've probably ended up here because you were looking for some inspiration on your out of office message. You saw that they can range from funny to outright sales-y to a serious teaching moment. There's a few other things we want to make sure you don't leave out of your next out of office reply. Here's our three rules for scratching out that next OOO:

Rule 1: Don't forget the facts

Okay. Before you go into fancyland or funnyland about how you're in the woods protecting yourself against bears, remember Rule 1! Make sure you have all the pertinent details in your out of office message. 

Don't forget the obvious:

  1. The date range you're gone but more importantly . . . 
  2. The day you will respond. (Pro tip: If you seriously get a ginormous volume of emails when you're away, or you're going to be gone for an extended amount of time, make sure this date is one or two days AFTER you're back from your vacation. Under promise, over deliver, do your laundry.) 
  3. Alternate contact if there is an emergency. 
  4. Your phone number (if you absolutely must, but I don't endorse this).

Boom easy enough.

Rule 2: Don’t Forget Your Voicemail OOO

I ALWAYS forget to leave a voicemail response with the same info as above! Don't be like me. 

Rule 3: Include a Call to Action (CTA)

We're talking about engagement here. Do you have a webinar for clients in case they miss your face? A podcast if they want to hear your voice? Do you have a special going for new clients or referrals? Do you have a hot new blog post you wrote just before stepping out? Tell your people to click on that!

If it's just business as usual, no worries. You can add a simple addendum like:

Travel with me: Facebook Link | Instagram Link | Twitter Link 

Meet us at Booth #245 at the Work Conference Trade Show

Join us at the HAR Reception Tues., 6pm @ Ballroom B. If you need tickets, send me a text: 555.555.5555

And that's it. Easy peasy, right? We know there are tons of genius out-of-office messages we missed, so if you've got a favorite don't forget to share it with us in the comments below! 

Editor's Note: This was originally posted in July 2018 and updated and republished on the date posted in the article. Enjoy!

About the Author
Mary Stein - Host Agency Reviews

Mary Stein

Mary Stein has been working as a writer and editor for Host Agency Reviews since 2016. She loves supporting travel advisors on their entrepreneurial journey and is inspired by their passion, tenacity, and creativity. Mary is also a mom, dog lover, fiction writer, hiker, and a Great British Bake Off superfan.