55% of Americans don't use up their vacation days - here's why you should

Question: has the thought of preparing to go on vacation – both the logistical planning and the organizing of your workload while you’re away – been enough to perturb you from booking a trip? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. For many of us, while the idea of a vacation is tempting, the practicalities often make it feel impossible. In 2018, 55% of Americans did not use up all of their vacation time, leaving 768 million vacation days unused (an increase from 2017). The average employee took 17.9 days off work, but only 9 days were allocated for travel. We often talk about a work/life balance, but when you look at statistics like these, we have to question what we are prioritizing more – our jobs, or our wellbeing?

To raise awareness around these statistics, and to encourage Americans to use more of their vacation days, in 2017 the US Travel Association launched a brand new initiative called National Plan Your Vacation Day. Taking place this year on January 28th, the purpose of National Plan Your Vacation Day is to encourage Americans to commit to their time off for the rest of the year. It may feel like 2020 has just begun and we have all the time in the world to make plans for the year ahead, but all too often life, plans and unforeseen events get in the way. So, now’s the time to cash in your vacation days so you can spend a week or two getting back to you. Need to be reminded why travel is the perfect opportunity to recharge? Here’s how:

 
 
 
 
 
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1 – Spend quality time with your family

Between school runs, after school clubs, work events, visiting family, maybe doing some exercise and still trying to have some form of social life, is it any wonder we feel like we’re not actually talking to one another? Life is BUSY whatever age you are, so going on a family trip to somewhere completely new gives you the chance to reconnect, talk and actually find out what’s happening in the lives of your children/parents/partner. Multigenerational travel, in particular, is a growing travel trend for many, whereby different generations of a family are travelling together in order to reconnect, share in new experiences with one another, and make memories that last a lifetime.

 
 
 
 
 
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2 – Enjoy a digital detox

Advancements in technology mean we’re more connected than ever before and while that’s a good thing, it can also have a negative impact on our mental health. For young people, taking a digital detox from social media for their mental wellbeing is a growing trend. For those of us who spend our days staring at screens, a break from technology is just what the brain needs to decompress and recharge. When you travel with a company like Trafalgar, where all of the details and bookings are already sorted for you, you really can make the idea of a digital detox a reality. Use your phone or camera to snap all of the incredible places/experiences/food we treat you to along the way but other than that, prepare to say goodbye to screen time!

 
 
 
 
 
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3 –  Open up to new cultures and perspectives

Working day in, day out, is it any surprise that so many of us are left feeling uninspired and lacking in creativity? Taking a vacation doesn’t just present the opportunity to relax, it’s also a chance to reignite that creative spark. Listening to the opera in Vienna, discovering the ancient art of weaving in Peru, learning how to make pizza in Italy, or spending quality time with local people through our immersive Be My Guest experiences across the world, is a chance to rediscover what you feel most passionately about. Perhaps it’s art, cooking, history or architecture; whatever it is, travel has a habit of bringing out passions that have laid dormant and helps us revaluate our own lives with a fresh perspective.

 
 
 
 
 
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4 – Experience different cuisines

We believe that to travel is to eat, and it’s this mentality you’ll discover when you take a vacation with us. Whether it’s sharing dinner with the Morillo family at their olive oil farm in Spain, foraging for food in Ireland, munching on Po Boys in New Orleans, or tucking in to steak in Argentina, you can guarantee you’ll never go hungry. Food is one of the best ways of discovering a country’s culture, heritage and traditions, and it also inspires you to cook more creatively once back home.

 
 
 
 
 
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This National Plan Your Vacation Day, we want to help you get your 2020 travel plans sorted. And to help you along the way, we’re offering 7.5% off select worldwide Trafalgar trips, plus $300 off Europe flights to help get you there. So you could say, today really is the day you make 2020 the year you’ll never forget.

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