March and April used to be the time when travel brochures arrived in the mail and by May the annual family vacation was locked up. Whether it was a trip to the beach or a mountain lake, or a journey across the continent, Americans relished their family vacations. Even presidents and cabinet members scheduled a month or more at family retreats through the first half of the 20th century.
Today, despite the ever-growing opportunities for travel, Americans are among the world’s worst vacationers according to the nonprofit organization Take Back Your Time. The U.S. Travel Association says Americans leave an average of seven days of paid vacation on the table each year. A 2014 study by Oxford Economics pegs the cumulative amount of unused time at 400,000 days.
Last year, the U.S. Travel Association launched a publicity campaign to call attention to the issue of unused leave featuring kids asking their parents for “one more day.” This year, the Take Back Your Time coalition launched a “Vacation Commitment” effort at a national meeting of human resources managers.
Recreation News readers have exceptional paid leave benefits. Using those paid leave days is not abandoning your responsibilities or your coworkers. Instead, taking your vacation time is important for renewing yourself, rekindling family ties, and creating those memories that last a lifetime. And, it also improves your performance on the job.
Our pages are full of tools to help you make the most of your time off, including new destinations, hot deals, itineraries to try, and experiences to savor. But those days off you don’t take aren’t doing anyone any good. Take back your vacation time this year.