Americans universally say that their vacation days are important to them, yet more than half (54%) of U.S. employees leave time on the table. These unused days carry significant economic impact, threaten the sustainability of a productive and creative workforce, and have a damaging effect on employee's personal well-being and relationships.
In our culture of packed schedules, hyper-connectivity, and work martyrdom, Americans are in serious need of a break. While there are hurdles to overcome in the workplace, there's one step we can all take to put those vacation days to use: planning. Research shows that individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once, and report greater levels of happiness at work and at home. Now you know why your employer doesn't let you roll over your vacation days. They want you to use them so you get a break.
Why planning a vacation matters.
- 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%).
- The benefits of planning extend beyond the days spent away from the office. Planners report greater happiness than non-planners with their relationships, health and well-being, company, and job.
- Planners feel more supported at work when they take time off. Nearly half (48%) of planners say their bosses support them when they take vacation.
National Plan A Vacation Day was January 30, but you still have time to plan for the rest of the year.
I can't tell you how many people call me a month before they want to take a vacation and the prices are high and there isn't much selection. If they had planned 6 months ahead, it would have been a lot more fun for them and for me. I hate telling clients that the non stop flight they thought they could get is not available, and the only option is a flight that has two stops.
When you plan you vacation in advance, you only need to put down a small amount to hold the vacation, usually about $200/person. The remainder is generally not due until 30-60 days prior to the vacation. If you think, “something might come that makes me have to cancel the trip.” You can take out travel insurance that covers that, usually at about 10% of the cost of the trip. It is well worth it if you are planning a very expensive trip. You take out insurance on your cell phone, why not your vacation? Some booking sites let you cancel up to a day or two before the trip and get a refund. Usually you pay a little more for your room when you do that, but it might be worth it.
Take the time to plan the use of your vacation time and enjoy your trip. Don't get stressed with trying to plan a trip at the last minute. It is better for your health and the health of your family.
Judy Peterson firstname.lastname@example.org
Statistics taken from: https://www.projecttimeoff.com/plan#calendar