Just because we should take our vacation time doesn’t mean we will

We’re exhausted, and tired. We’re also broke from working too much. But take time off? Nah. We’ll just keep working.

Project: Time Off wants us to plan for a vacation today because Americans are leaving 658 million vacation days unused every single year.

“The single-most important step workers can take is to plan their time off in advance,” the project says. “Yet less than half of households set aside time to plan the use of their vacation time each year.”

project time off

Obviously we need to take this in baby steps, with how many people waste time off. Having a plan is the first step to going through with taking a vacation. Project: Time Off says before you even take time off, it’s best to confirm your paid time off benefits. If anything has changed in the last year, you’ll know your vacation time threshold, if there is one.

Once you’ve got that squared away, check your calendar! If you’ve got company events or projects you can’t miss, make sure to schedule your time off after your work-related responsibilities. If you’re on a small team, try to avoid taking time off at the same time as another team member, in the event both of you can’t take the same time off.

The project suggests working around holidays and family events.

“If your office is closed for a holiday, could you add an extra day off and turn a one-day holiday into four-day weekend vacation?” the project asks. “When will your kids have time off from school? Are there other events — like weddings, family reunions, or birthdays — that you should include in planning your time off?”

Planning is the biggest factor in ensuring you take your time off. Make sure you look at your entire year to use your full PTO.

We’re never, ever, ever taking time off

Most Americans earn paid vacation time that they would rather not use. In fact, most Americans would rather skip vacations altogether and simply get paid a little bit more.

This isn’t anything new. Americans notoriously avoid taking vacation days, whether it’s because planning a vacation is stressful or the idea of leaving work is. Not that you should hate your job so much you want to leave, but managers know the value of a vacation and encourage employees to take them. It helps recharge, rejuvenate, and destress from your day-to-day workload.

And the stress you have probably comes from a big problem: the money you earn isn’t as much as it should be. But because many workers care more about happiness than money, they’ll be working harder for longer and not making as much money as they deserve.

Specifically for younger Americans, millennials will usually skip a vacation because they want to prove they are valuable to a company. Dedication means they will be considered for promotions and raises and nearly half of millennials think their bosses prefer the always-working employee.

Millennials care less about money and more about making an impact on their company. They enjoy money, but company culture and benefits have more power on a young employee than just salary. If you love your job so much, chances are you’re less likely to take a vacation — even when it’s paid.

Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Career and Business

employment, holidays, infographic, office life, productivity

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Article last modified on March 14, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: #PlanForVacation Sounds Nice, except we Won’t Do it - AMP.