The State of The American Vacation is Terrible

Some shocking numbers have been recently shared by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, in the 2017 report titled “The State of the American Vacation”. As has been tracked in in recent years, America has been found to have some of the lowest numbers of vacation time taken for employees, and some of the highest numbers of unused vacation days, totaling over half a billion unused vacation days last year. We’ve included some of the shocking numbers below:

  • Total number of vacation days unused by American employees: 662 million
  • Percent of men who say vacation time is “extremely” important to them: 49
  • Percent of women who say vacation time is “extremely” important to them: 58
  • Percent of men who used all their allotted vacation days: 48
  • Percent of women who used all their allotted vacation days: 44

Unused Vacation Time by Region

As you can see shown in the graphic, below all areas of the US are roughly equal in unused vacation time, with the pacific region being among the highest.

unused vacation time by region

Unused Vacation Compared to Past Years

As you can see below, the trend for unused vacation days has been set in motion for the better part of 30 years, with a recent uptick in vacation time, credited with the recovery of the American economy after the 2008 housing bubble.

unused vacation time compared to past

Why Are Americans So Bad At Taking Vacation?

Overall, employees’ concerns about returning to a mountain of work was the top challenge to taking time off in 2017, followed by the feeling that no one else can do the job.

We believe it is incumbent upon employers to shift the culture behind vacation time. It’s universally agreed that a worker’s morale plays a huge role in their overall productivity, so doesn’t it make sense for managers, and owners alike, to start suggesting that their employees take advantage of the vacation time currently being offered to them?

The Importance of Planning Your Vacation

The most effective remedy for American workers who want to use more vacation days is better planning. A majority (52%) of workers who say they set aside time each year to plan out their vacation days take all their time off, compared to just 40 percent of non-planners. They also tend to take longer vacations. While three-in-four (75%) planners take a week or more at a time, non-planners take significantly fewer days—zero to three—than planners at once (42% to 18%).

Improve Your Happiness by Planning Your Vacation

When workers are questioned about their happiness in the various facets of their life, the ones that planned ahead, and ultimately took their vacations, reported higher satisfaction with not only their job, but even personal relationships as well as health and well-being. What an incredible finding to look at!

happiness from vacation

If you’d like to read the full report you can click this link.