The travel industry has been talking about it for years. Americans are taking fewer and fewer vacation days. Before you get the wrong idea, let’s point out that it’s not because U.S. Employers are offering less vacation time. The average American doesn’t use 4 available vacation days per year. And studies have suggested that even if U.S. Employers offered unlimited vacation time, the average American would not take any more vacation than they do right now. There are several attributing factors in this vacation time abandonment. According to one article on Skift, 40% of Americans are afraid of returning to a mountain of work after their vacation, 35% believe that no one else can do their job, 33% cannot afford a vacation, 33% also believe that taking time off is harder to do as you advance in a company, and 28% intentionally leave vacation days on the table to show their complete dedication to their employer.
This information doesn’t pair well with other findings by U.S. Travel’s “Project Time Off” that 80% of managers and HR leaders believe that vacations are important and 67% feel that vacations make their employees more productive. However, “Project Time Off” also reported that 46% of managers surveyed stay ‘plugged-in’ to work while taking time off.
It seems that the conflict here falls along a few key fault lines; being productive versus being dedicated; asserting your value within a company versus maintaining a work-home balance; Unplugging and recharging your batteries, versus climbing the corporate ladder; earning money versus spending money.
But many Americans are beginning to understand that the options here do not have to be mutually exclusive. More and more working professionals are seizing an opportunity to take some vacation days in a productive way; by adding personal time to pre-existing business trips. Adding a leisure portion to a pre-existing business trip can save money on your personal travel expenses, allow you to feel productive and relaxed, and can make sure that you’re taking a minute to enjoy life before you go back to burning the candle at both ends.
More and more meeting and event planners are focusing on location, supplementary activities and experiential offerings outside of meeting space and catering options when organizing the next company retreat or quarterly review. This helps the employees at their company maximize the benefits of travel, increasing both productivity and team morale.
If you have the opportunity to explore a new city, or unwind on the beach for a day after your company travel you need to take it. Do you think that you can use all of your vacation time this year? Where would you most like to go on a company trip?