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One American Vacation Behavior That Simply HAS to Stop

Happy National Plan Your Vacation Day! Please celebrate by actually planning a vacation.

January 29 is National Plan for Vacation Day. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans left 705 million vacation days unused in 2017. To be clear, that means only 52 percent of American employees took advantage of the vacation time available to them. On top of that, of the 705 million vacation days, 212 million did not roll over or could not be paid out to employees. Per CNN, “the average employee actually donated $561 in ‘free’ work to their employer by not using their vacation time.”

While the number of vacation days Americans take was up to an average of 17.2 days in 2017 from 16.8 days in 2016, that’s quite a stretch from 2000’s 20.3 days. And, actually, of those 17.2 days, only eight were used for travel. Now, the U.S. Travel Association is encouraging Americans to mark their calendars.

“But I Have Trouble Carving Out Time!”

To help with planning, the Association has put together a customizable, user-friendly “Vacation Planning Tool.” The tool allows you to calculate the amount of vacation days you can potentially earn, input those numbers into a calendar and even export said calendar so that you have the ability to share it.

“Do I Have to Use My Vacation Days?”

Are you kidding? Yes! Vacations are literally good for your health. One study, the Framingham Heart Study, tracked the correlations of workers and vacations over a nine-year period and found that men who didn’t bother taking a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack than men who enjoyed at least one-week vacation per year. Another study, run by Marshfield Clinic, found that vacations improve mental health. The Clinic monitored 1,500 women in rural Wisconsin and discovered those who took less vacation than once every two years were more apt to suffer from depression and stress.  

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Vacations Might Be a Good Career Move

Taking time off will give you perspective, and a clearer mind means a better you. A study conducted internally at EY found employees who actually took vacation were rated higher in their work reviews. Maryella Gockel, Flexibility Leader at EY, claims that in the U.S. and Canada, “for each 10 hours of vacation a person took, we found on average that performance reviews were eight percent higher.”

A Little Inspiration to Get You Planning

If you’re looking for some getaway ideas—even if it’s just for a few days—our “Where to Weekend” series is a great place to start. A notable, recent addition to the list is Sag Harbor, where the local wine, seafood, and boutique hotels never fail to charm! If you’re intent on planning more of an international trip (good for you!), India has plenty of dazzling sites that must be seen to be believed. Also, you can’t go wrong with a journey to any one of the marvelous 52 destinations on our 2019 Go List.

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