Americans Wasted 768 Million Vacation Days Last Year—Here’s How to Use Yours

You deserve a vacation–here’s how to make sure you take one.

By: Amanda Mushro
Photo Taken In Thailand, Bangkok


Photo Taken In Thailand, Bangkok

Photo by: Kiattisak Lamchan / EyeEm

Kiattisak Lamchan / EyeEm

If you didn’t get a chance to spend time with your toes in the sand this summer, you aren’t alone. More than ever, Americans are working instead of taking their vacation time.

According to data from the U.S. Travel Association, a total of 768 million vacation days went unused in 2018. That’s a 9 percent increase from 2017. Since many companies have a “use them or lose them” policy when it comes to vacation time, of those unused days, 236 million days were completely forfeited.

While you may be getting more done around the office, forfeiting your vacation time could mean you are allowing yourself to feel more stressed—and this affects your overall health. So, before those vacation days go unused, here’s a few ways to squeeze in the vacay you need and earned.

Try a Staycation

While hopping on a plane toward a fabulous destination sounds great, it usually comes with a hefty price tag. Instead, use your vacation days but stay close to home. A staycation is a great way to rest and relax while using your paid time off. Check out local restaurants and tourist spots you’ve always wanted to visit. This way you are taking a vacation without spending money on pricey travel expenses.

Opt for Shorter Vacations

Often we aren’t’ using our vacation days because leaving for a week or longer doesn’t always seem possible. So rather than letting vacation days go unused, plan long weekends away from work. Use the weekends and a few extra days to get in a quick vacation. Choose locations you can drive to in a few hours so you can make the most of your time away.

Choose a Different Season

Summer seems like the ideal time to use up your vacation days, but consider traveling during different seasons. Not only will you be able to save money traveling during the off season, but this allows you to plan ahead and ensures you use up your vacation days before you lose them.

Add Days to Business Travel

If you are already traveling for work, tack on a few days of vacation so you can enjoy some time off and explore a new city.

Use Holidays and Special Days

Don’t want to work on your birthday? Then use a vacation day to enjoy a day off. If you are already given days off for specific holidays, add to those days with vacation days so you can get extra time off to rest and get out of work mode.

Plan Ahead

Don’t let your vacation days go unused because you run out of time. Plan ahead and request your time off for the entire year. You can always make small changes and choose locations later, but this ensures you are using all the days you earned.

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