Here’s the good news about December: It’s the most popular month for taking time off work. American workers take vacation time in December twice as often as almost every other month, according to an analysis by the HR firm Namely.
Now, the bad news: Many people cram their days off into the end of the year because they didn’t make time for vacations during the year. And, even worse, more than half of Americans don’t even use all their vacation days.
Fifty-two percent of people left vacation time on the table last year, according to Project: Time Off. Across the country, that amounts to more than 700 million unused vacation days! And almost a quarter of Americans didn’t take any vacation time at all last year!
That free work may be great for employers, but it’s not healthy for employees. In fact, researchers have identified significant health risks in people who don’t take enough vacation time – serious risks like a much higher incidence of heart attacks!
So, looking ahead to next year, start planning now to use your vacation time. It’s good both for you and your boss when you take time off to rest and recharge. For one, people who use their vacation days to travel tend to be happier with their health and well-being, happier with their personal relationships and even happier with their job. And they are more productive when they return.
Besides, you earn your vacation time, just like your paycheck, so you shouldn’t be afraid to use it. Go ahead and get that vacation time on the calendar now, before the busyness of life makes you put it off until it’s too late.
Don’t miss these benefits of using vacation time to travel:
- seeing your children excited about traveling
- relaxing and reducing your stress
- making memories
- having fun, excitement and adventure
- seeing some place new or doing something new
- strengthening your relationships with your family, friends or significant other
- improving your outlook on life
- crossing an item off your bucket list
If you don’t get many vacation days, be smart about how you use them. You can piggy-back days off on national holidays to open up longer travel opportunities, like taking off the Friday before Memorial Day to get a 4-day weekend while using only one vacation day.
Holidays aside, taking off work on Fridays or Mondays creates a long weekend that’s perfect for a quick getaway any time of year. Need help planning an unforgettable vacation next year? Start right here.