Are you one of nearly half of working Americans not using your paid vacation days? I know our family is guilty of this. Vacations help reduce stress, provide quality family time, and actually help increase work productivity. Most importantly, parents only have 18 summers with their children to make lasting vacation memories. So why aren’t Americans taking all their paid vacation days and making the most of that time together?
Earlier this year, Alamo Rent A Car surveyed adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for their 2017 Family Vacation Survey. What they found was surprising! Let’s take a look at a huge mistake we’re making with our vacation time.
Don’t Make This Mistake This Year
If you are like most full time employees, you earn two weeks of paid vacation time each year. According to the 2017 Alamo Rent A Car Family Vacation Survey, Americans aren’t taking ALL the vacation days they earned. At the end of the year, they left days unused. That equals to lost opportunities for family fun, relaxation, and the chance to experience new things. What’s worse is when Americans did take time off, it’s not to go on vacation.
The survey found:
- Only 47% of American workers who receive paid vacation use all of their vacation days
- Only 18% of American workers, who receive paid vacation time, use all of their time on actually going on vacation. Many surveyed actually used days for running errands, staying home, etc.
- 48% of workers say they feel they need to justify using their vacation days to an employer
These statistics are a little surprising! Especially when you consider how many people travel during the upcoming summer travel season and that two years ago 60% of survey respondents took all their vacation days. That switch is a mistake and reminds me of this:
“Earn money to live. Don’t live to earn money because sometimes we lose sight of what’s important in our lives.”
Check out the survey results for more surprising results.
One trend on the rise lending to employees not using all your vacation days is “vacation shaming”. This is being made to feel a sense of shame or guilt for taking time off to go on vacation by co-workers, their supervisor or their employer. You can read more about vacation shaming here. Just as mentioned before, workers feel they must justify their vacation time. The top reason respondents believed they are vacation shamed is because their co-workers are unhappy about their workload. You can see this trend across age, gender, and tenure.
Who left more vacation days unused?
- Age: 60% of millennials (18-35) versus 49% of non-millennials
- Sex: 63% of dads versus 51% of moms
- Tenure: 58% of employees with <10 years versus 43% employees with 11+ years
Millennial dads were more likely to leave unused vacation days as compared to non-millennials and moms. The longer an employee is with a company, the more likely they are to use all their vacation days. According to the survey, the average length of a vacation for 36% of families is only 3-5 days.
One thing is clear, American families aren’t vacationing like they used to. As our children grow, we only have 18 summers to create vacation memories with them. Don’t make the mistake of following this trend. Read the full Alamo Rent A Car Family Vacation Survey to learn more before heading to the “Scenic Route” for inspiration in planning your next family adventure.
Take ALL of your vacation days! You’ve earned them, so go and enjoy them. Your health and your family will thank you for it!