If given the choice, Americans prefer toiling away at the workplace rather than disconnecting on vacation.

While it seems unbelievable, a new study released this week by Expedia shows that American vacation deprivation levels are at a five-year high. 59% of respondents said that they are “somewhat” or “very” deprived.

That’s 8% more than last year.

But the lack of vacationing seems to be self-imposed, since the average American gets 14 days off a year but only uses 10 of them – tying Japan and Thailand as the countries with workers taking the least number of days.

Vacation roadblocks

Unused vacation days can’t be reclaimed, so it’s literally time you’d be paid to relax instead of work. Yet Americans say that they don’t use all of their time off because of both guilt and money.

The study showed that 63% of Americans haven’t taken a vacation in six months – with 54% of those people saying it’s because they don’t have the budget to do so.

On top of that, 13% say they feel “guilty” about taking time off and 25% still check in on work once a day while vacationing. However, that feeling could be completely imagined since only 17% said their managers expect them to be online while they’re away.

The professions that are the biggest culprits of being vacation-deprived: 87% of those in agriculture, 82% of those in marketing and media, and 70% of those in finance in legal.

Hoarding time off

Another excuse that Americans often use to not go away is that they’re ‘saving up their vacation days’.

Sound like you?

“Bigger trips are great,” Expedia global head of communications Nisreene Atassi said. “But even a quick break can significantly improve quality of life. Aim to[…]add an extra day onto a holiday weekend in between longer trips to get the best of both worlds.”

While 49% are likely to add on leisure days to a business trip, here’s where Americans need to look to the younger generation for better vacation pacing. The age group that prefers shorter trips and long weekends are the 18- to 34-year-olds – with 79% of those in the bracket going for bite-sized breaks.

Hitting the reset button

The value of using all your hard-earned time off cannot be underestimated, with the top benefits being a sense of relaxation, increased productivity, and a more positive outlook – both on personal and professional levels.

And here’s where the numbers really get high: 82% say they come back from a trip with “more patience for their colleagues and clients” and 91% of Americans say getting away allows a sense of recharging on “stress and anxiety.”

No matter how long the vacation was, travelers said that they “liked themselves more, felt more confident in their ability to solve problems, and felt more hopeful and outgoing” after a trip.

With mental health being a primary goal for 81% of vacationers, the destination and type of vacation is less a factor than simply the act of getting away.

So ignore the guilt factor (you’ll get over it — promise!) and simply book and use every single one of your vacation days — there’s no better investment in your future well-being.


Convinced? Try these three adventure vacation ideas for a better you:

The short break: Discover the secrets of Croatia

Croatia adventure holiday

Turn your weekend into a five days of thrilling adventure in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries. Go waterfall kayaking, hike past incredible turquoise lagoons through the forests of Plitvice National Park, chill in the stunning ‘St. Tropez’ of Croatia, Hvar, and discover beaches and bars.

Let’s take a look

The week away: Surf/yoga retreat in Morocco

Need a week away from the office? Opt for this – glamp under the stars in in the desert, take a dazzling food safari for the senses in the Marrakech medina, spend three nights in Morocco’s leading surf/yoga retreat, with classes and peaceful serenity included.

Show me the dates

The full fat fortnight: An epic Vietnam & Cambodia adventure

If one week just won’t do it, go for two and fill them with adventure. Take an overnight train to beautiful Sapa and trek emerald-green valleys and rice paddies, kayak through limestone grottos and hidden lagoons in Halong Bay, experience the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine with a cooking class and 5-course feast.

Tell me more

Photos: Flash Pack/Shutterstock