It’s no secret – American workers are vacation deprived. The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t require employers to provide paid time off to employees. Australian workers, by comparison, enjoy a minimum of 20 paid vacation days every year, and the Canadian government mandates that every company give their employees at least 10 vacation days a year. Almost a quarter of the American labor force doesn’t get any paid vacation days at all!
However, more than 75% of employed Americans do get paid time off as a job benefit. But not everyone who is entitled to a vacation takes one! US workers are notoriously bad at taking their vacation days. A recent survey by Skift found that nearly 40% of respondents didn’t take any vacation days this summer. Every year, about half of all US workers don’t take all of their vacation days. What happens to those unused days? For some workers, their unused paid leave will roll over so they can use it the following year. For many others, though, unused vacation days are forfeited. It’s estimated that American workers miss out on 222 million unused vacation days every year!
I’m sure you’ve heard all the excuses for not taking all of your vacation days. You might worry about whether your colleagues can cover your workload while you’re out, or fret about coming back to thousands of unread email messages. There are many more reasons that you should take your vacation days and travel! Need more encouragement to grab your passport and schedule your time off? Read on….
Take a Vacation to Relax
We know you work hard, and your heavy workload is one of the reasons that you’re reluctant to take time out of the office. The harder you work, though, the more important it is that you take time off to relax and recharge. Daily stress can take a harsh toll on your body, so a vacation can be very good for your health. Many studies have found a link between vacations and improved health outcomes, and have shown that people who don’t regularly take vacations are more likely to suffer from heart disease, depression, and other stress-linked ailments. For example, the Framingham Heart Study has found that men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30% more likely to have a heart attack!
Taking a break from the stress of the office is also good for your productivity. You might think that the best workers are the ones who never leave their desk, but in actuality, many studies have shown that people who take vacations are more likely to have good performance reviews and to remain in their jobs.
Take a Vacation to Connect with Your Family
Think back to your childhood, to your happiest and most memorable times with your family. Chances are that many of your best memories are from vacations with your family.
Travel gives you unparalleled opportunities to connect with your family. In today’s busy world, it can feel like you never see your own family, even though you live in the same house! Between long workdays, commutes, homework, sports, and after-school activities, it can be hard for modern families to spend time together. It can be hard to find time to even have dinner together on a regular day, but on a family vacation, you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner together every day!
Taking an international trip with your children is also an incomparable learning opportunity. Your children can have the chance to practice a foreign language, explore historical sites, and learn how people live in other countries. It’s like giving your children the gift of the world.
Looking for a memorable family vacation? You can’t go wrong with a trip to France or Italy, where the family can enjoy incredible food, landscapes, museums, and culture.
Take a Vacation to Explore
You’ve spent years in classrooms, but nothing you read in books or hear in lectures will compare to what you will learn through traveling. You might be an avid fan of travel documentary shows – we certainly are! – but seeing a site on TV is nothing like visiting it for yourself. Travel lets you learn with all your senses. You can see the majesty of the world’s wonders in 3-D, life-size, and living color. You can feel the temperature of the air, smell the aromas of the spices and the flowers, and hear the cadence of the local language. Perhaps best of all, you can taste the food!
The world is a huge place, and there are as many ways to explore it as there are travelers. Perhaps you are drawn to nature and outdoor activities, and want to explore the world’s wildernesses. If you are excited by urban life, you could spend years discovering the hidden gems of the world’s great cities like London, Bangkok, and Tokyo. Love history and architecture? You’ll want to visit the ancient sites in Egypt and Iran… or Machu Picchu in Peru… or the terracotta warriors in China… or the ruins of Pompeii.
The world is big and beautiful, and if you’ve got a passport and some paid vacation days, you owe it to yourself to see more of it!