Vacations are something some take for granted while other can’t take them at all.
When most think of vacations they think of taking a week off, going to the shore, relaxing, or exploring something new. Vacations are so much more than that!
American work culture may be on the verge of major change. For eighteen years, American vacation habits saw an unrelenting decline. But results from the latest, most comprehensive survey of American workplace attitudes toward time off shows the tide may be turning—and the trendline headed in a positive direction.
Despite this encouraging sign, taking time off continues to be a challenge in America’s always-on work culture. American workers hold fast to the belief that the path to career success requires sacrificing vacation and embracing work martyrdom. But the data is unmistakably clear: planning for and taking time off benefits individual well-being and professional success, business performance, and the broader economy.
America’s work culture has a long way to go to rewire its thinking. But for the first time in many years, there is reason to believe that change is possible.
Vacations have health and business benefits.
Taking a vacation can help lower anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure, which can in turn lower the risk of heart disease and chronic illness caused by stress. Check out the business benefits here!
Improves Your Relationships
A five-year study of women in rural Wisconsin published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal showed that women who take vacations at least twice per year are “less likely to become tense, depressed, or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriages,” and that the “odds of marital satisfaction decreased as the frequency of vacations decreased.”
These findings were similar to those in the studies conducted by Purdue University’s Xinran Letho, as published in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research. Letho found families who vacation together undergo shared experience, communication and togetherness, escape and relaxation and experiential learning, all which contribute positively to well-being and to relationships.
Why you should plan your vacation ahead of time.
After two years of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are feeling burned out and ready for a change of scenery. However, Americans are still not using all of their vacation days. American workers left an average of more than four days or 29% of their paid time off on the table last year, but the majority of Americans (64%) say they desperately need a vacation.
Planning Vacations Reduces Burnout:
• More than two-thirds (68%) of American workers feel at least moderately burned out and 13% are extremely burned out
• Avoiding burnout was the top-rated motivator to book a trip in the next six months—ranked even higher than travel discounts/deals
How to Plan your Vacation
To get started, look up your company’s time off benefits. Your benefits may have changed from last year as many organizations offer additional days based on your years of service. The best way to find out is to talk to your HR manager.
Review your calendar with some questions
- Holidays during the year. If your office is closed for a holiday, can you add an extra day off and turn a one-day holiday into four-day weekend vacation?
- Workloads and coworkers. Are you thinking of getting away during a particularly busy season at work? Are you considering time off when a member of your team will already be out on vacation? Start thinking now about how to ensure shared responsibilities are covered – and consider how to sync up with your coworkers on handling vacation during the year.
- Family events and other important dates. When will your kids have time off from school? Are there other events–weddings, family reunions, or birthdays–that you should include in planning your time off?
Choose your destination
Now, the fun part. What are you going to cross off your bucket list this year? Where have you been wanting to travel? What are you dying to try? You don’t necessarily need to know exactly what you’ll do with every vacation day, but knowing what type of vacation you want and what activities will help you decide where to go! If you are looking for information and things to do around the area of our destinations, such as: places to eat, attractions, things to pack and even fun facts, be sure to check out our “Things to Do” section!
Once you have your desired schedule together, share it with your team for consideration and manager for approval. But don’t be anxious: nearly all senior business leaders believe vacation time benefits their employees and the company. By getting your time off on their radar now, it will be easier to take the time off when the day comes. After you’ve received approval, block the days as out of office on your calendar and any master calendar your team may share.
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