NEW YORK (AP) — Karena Nigale used to take time away from her hair salon in New York’s financial district several times a year. Then the recession came, and some of her clients who worked in nearby banks were laid off.

Nigale had to let about half her staff go, and she had to take on more work. There was no way she could take a vacation.
Now, clients are getting jobs again. They’re coming back, business is up at KK Salon and Nigale is going to Europe next month.

“I finally have a feeling of, ‘I can go away,’” Nigale said.

Vacations were among the sacrifices many small business owners made during the recession. But now that the economy is picking up, some are finally taking long-overdue trips. Others, though, are still uneasy about being away, or believe they can't afford a big trip.

Nigale, who didn’t take a vacation for a year and a half, said she can go away for two weeks because she’s been able to bring back two employees.

Darren Horwitz is going to San Diego in mid-May after forgoing vacations for two years. At first, he put off trips because he had a startup public relations business to tend to, a decision that is common among entrepreneurs in any economy.

Then the recession became the primary reason why he wasn’t traveling.

“With the economy in bad shape the last two years, we felt that if our clients are struggling, then we need to be on the phone working every day,” said Horwitz, owner of Dallas-based Imprint PR.

Horwitz found that clients needed more marketing help during the recession. He also stayed home because he needed to be prudent about spending when clients' marketing budgets were shrinking.

Still, he’s a believer that vacations are important when you’re running a small business.

“They give you a breather. They let you rejuvenate,” he said.

But, like many owners, he’ll be checking in with the office and clients during his upcoming trip. There are few owners who don’t carry cell phones and/or laptops with them so they can keep up with e-mail and talk to clients and employees.