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How Much You Lose by Not Taking Your Vacation

How Much You Lose by Not Taking Your Vacation

With less than 60 days until the end of 2017, do you know how much vacation time you have remaining? 

If you don't already have plans to use it over the upcoming holidays, now is the perfect time to plan for a few extra days off or a long weekend to make sure you take advantage of all your benefits and perform your best when you are at work. 

Project: Time Off, which is sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association in partnership with Harvard Business Review, conducted a survey in early 2017 to gather information and insight into how much vacation time U.S. employees are using, and what are the positive and negative impacts of those decisions.

In 2016, 54% of Americans did not use all their vacation time.  662 million vacation days were left unused, with ~1/3 of those days (206 million) completely forfeited due to "use it or lose it" policies. 

When you don't use your vacation time, you actually lose money - hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars you are leaving behind.

Self Inflicted Salary Cut

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

This one is simple math - if you’re a salaried employee, and if paid vacation is part of your compensation package, you’re literally taking a voluntary pay cut when you work instead of taking vacation time.

By forfeiting vacation days, Americans gave up $66.4 billion in 2016 benefits alone. That means that last year, employees effectively donated an average of $604 in work time to their employer.

Missing Out on a Promotion or Raise

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Employees who do not use all their vacation time are less likely to get a promotion or a raise. Despite a widespread (and misguided) belief that taking time off will make a worker appear replaceable, the employees who use their vacation time perform better and are rewarded for it. 

Employees who take 10 or less days of vacation time are less likely to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took 11 days or more.

Those who forfeit vacation time are also less likely than non-forfeiters to have been promoted within the last year (23% to 27%).

That percentage may sound small (and it is a correlation versus a causation), but it indicates the opposite of the idea that staying at work might mean getting ahead.

Increased Stress and Decreased Happiness

Research shows that when the brain can think positively, productivity improves by 31%, sales increase by 37%, and creativity and revenues can triple. There are also numerous health benefits to going on vacation. To get to this state, your body and mind need periodic breaks to refresh and gain perspective, as well as to avoid burnout. You also need to plan your time off in advance to maximize the benefits of taking vacation.

The amount of time taken also shows a clear correlation to happiness at home. The more vacation days used, the lower the stress.  Project: Time Off

The amount of time taken also shows a clear correlation to happiness at home. The more vacation days used, the lower the stress.  Project: Time Off

But how long should these breaks be? And how can you avoid getting so stressed about planning the trip that it wipes out the benefits of taking time off?

Studies show that your vacation will result in higher levels of happiness and energy if you do these 4 things:

1. Plan your trip at least 30 days in advance and prepare your coworkers for your time away

2. Travel outside your home town (the further the better)

3. Meet with a local host or other knowledgeable guide where you are going

4. Have the travel and transportation details figured out before you depart

So what's stopping you from reaping these benefits?  Comment below with your biggest challenge to using your time off.

Need some help figuring out how to use your vacation days before they expire? Check out the 72 Hours To Go detailed weekend itineraries to help you with a stress-free planning and travel experience so you can maximize all the benefits of taking time off.

Do you know how much money you lose each year by not using all your vacation time? That you are less likely to get a promotion or a raise if you don't take time off?
Do you know how much money you lose each year by not using all your vacation time? That you are less likely to get a promotion or a raise if you don't take time off?
48 Hours in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

48 Hours in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia