As we approach summer, it’s hard not to daydream of the adventures the next few months hold. But interestingly, the idea of the American vacation may be on the way out the door. Last year, Americans left a total of 429 million vacation days unused.
Four-in-ten American workers (41% on average) consistently fail to use all of their time off. That is a total of $224 billion total that Americans are forfeiting by not taking these days. Strangely enough, both employees and employers understand the importance of taking time off. Almost every worker and manager in this study reported that vacation time is important for maintaining team energy levels and productivity. So, what’s happening here?
For 25 years, from 1976 to 2000, American workers used an average of 20.3 days of vacation every year. Starting in 2000, the numbers began to drop and continued steadily though the Great Recession. With economic troubles, a lack of vacations is not unimaginable. But surprisingly, this this trend continues to decline, even as our economy improves. Today, Americans report using just 16.0 vacation days in 2014, almost a full work week less than compared to pre-2000.
Looking further into the reasons why, Skift found that 62 percent of their survey group stated they would not be taking a summer vacation in 2015. Of this group, about half stated they could not afford it, while the other half said they were too busy to take those days. Of the remaining pool, only 15 percent stated they would be taking a longer vacation over the summer, with a larger majority of 22 percent taking short vacations on the weekends. Perhaps the biggest issue here, is that though we may be not using these days in an effort to save money, we are actually throwing money away. The U.S. Travel Association calculated this “vacation liability” to be an average of $6,400 per U.S. employee, not including the health and wellbeing benefits of taking time off.
This trend is so startling, that the U.S. Travel Association has launched an initiative to bring vacation time back to American culture, claiming our economy is losing $160 billion by us not taking these days. Their Project: Time Off campaign provides additional statistics and tips to discuss the importance of time off with your employer.
What about you? As a busy professional, are you making time for yourself and your family? Let us know in the comments below, or start the discussion on our Facebook page. Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company, known for our innovative travel technology and cost-saving solutions.